Monday, September 24, 2007

The Importance of Remaining Connected to Nature

Many adults can’t accept the fact that anything they do in their daily lives could possibly affect the climate of the entire world. And many children aren’t even aware that our food does not come from supermarkets, it comes from the Earth.

In today’s world many of us have become so isolated from nature that it is difficult for us to feel any connection with it. And when we don’t feel a connection with nature it is impossible to understand its vital life-giving importance to our lives. It is then easier to turn a deaf ear to the realities of global warming, dimming of the sun, nuclear proliferation, melting of the ice caps and other potentially damaging and destructive issues that could destroy our life support system.

It is easy to see how many otherwise caring people may have developed such confused and laissez-faire attitudes. First of all, a lot of the information is difficult to understand—and how or when these changes will affect us is still being debated. This causes a lot of people to incorrectly discount the facts. When faced with awkward and discomforting information, people will tend to take the easy way out and ignore it so they don’t have to deal with it.

Many of us also live in homes that are protected against heat and cold, with many modern conveniences, which lulls people into a false sense of security that man has successfully harnessed nature. At the same time they hope that the minds that brought us the Internet and a steady flow of high-tech toys will also save the day by turning to technology.

It would be na├»ve and unrealistic to ignore the fact that America’s corporations continue their obsession with profit at any price, which is one of the major deterrents to the U.S. becoming involved in a global approach to this problem. It is only a matter of time, however, before our nation has to face the harsh realities before us.

Meanwhile, the wise native peoples around the world continue to remind us that we’re at the critical point of no-return right now and unless we wake up and begin to take care of the Earth the results will be irreversible. For centuries their prophecies have foretold of a time when man’s activities would cause the trees to die, the once soothing breezes to become deadly and the sun to lose its relationship with the Earth. They believe that time is now and this eerily confirms what the scientists are telling us.

To the people who have remained connected to nature, the Earth isn’t just symbolically our mother—it is our Mother. It supplies us with what we need for food, shelter and life, and gives us our connection with the greater cycle of life.

The native peoples have been warning us that in our growing disconnection and disregard for nature, we are playing Russian roulette with the future of the Earth—and the destiny of humanity. They believe one of the planet’s sacred functions is to continue and expand the process of Creation.

They also point out that the Earth has an incredible ability to balance and heal itself. It could do that at any time just by flicking us off this planet—as easily as a horse’s tail swishes off a fly. We need to listen!
________________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Giving Your Power Away Means Living Someone Else’s Life—Not Your Own

I went from the warm embrace of my family into an early marriage. Because I was in love and it is what wives did back then, I ceded a lot of the responsibility for decision-making to my equally young husband. I gave my power away and I was soon enmeshed in a dependent relationship that would eventually deteriorate and end in divorce.

Since then I have learned that when you give your personal power away to anyone or anything, you end up living someone else’s life or passion—not your own.

It took me a lot of years before I figured out that life is set up to provide us what we call problems, and others call opportunities to learn the lessons we are meant to experience. These problems usually have multiple layers like an onion, and it may take us many such “opportunities” before we finally choose to face the problems and begin to learn the lessons they have for us.

When we can face our problems and reclaim our power, there awaits an awesome gift—we awaken to the fact that the power is within us, we just gave it away. In taking it back, we recognize our true worth, and become aware that we can have whatever we want [or don’t want] in our lives and can literally live out our dreams and desires.

One of my biggest life fears has always been conflict, and I’ve been able to avoid most major confrontations—until recently. A strong, passionate disagreement arose between me and others around an approach to the basic structuring of an organization we were birthing. I had invested a lot of love, time, energy and effort into this project. Even though I knew my insights had value, I was tempted to try to duck the situation, but I couldn’t do it. I had finally lived long enough to know that the same old problem would just keep coming back in different and more powerful guises until I faced it once and for all. Armed with my Truth, I initiated several opportunities in which to firmly state my case, which I thought would resolve the disagreement. The opposition was also strong and the situation became tense and emotionally charged.

As a child one of my favorite expressions was, “Truth will out!” I thought that meant it would triumph. In this case my Truth didn’t. I learned that truth can be trumped by whoever holds the authority.

This was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and for a few days I wondered if this was an appropriate use of my life energy. Then an incredible thing happened: My ego let go of the importance of being right. I did not feel any ill will or negativity for anyone involved—all I felt was freedom, love and release. With my new-found clarity and empowerment, I embraced my integrity and resigned from the organization.

My body is still reacting to the energy required to face this situation. But the peace I feel within is surely my soul’s response to finally owning my power, standing in truth and choosing to speak up for me. I bless everyone involved, sincerely wish them success, and know that whatever they have to learn from this is none of my business.

I believe the feeling at the core of my being confirms that this was undeniably one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. It certainly carried the most energy. There is usually a life gift in each of such lessons learned: Sometimes a relationship is healed, a physical problem goes away or a door opens, and voila! I want the universe to know that I’m expecting a really big gift this time!
________________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"And in the Sweetness of Friendship Let There be Laughter and Sharing of Pleasures" -Kahlil Gibran

At this stage of life, I am looking back on a number of birthdays, some memorable and some forgettable. I recall a specific surprise celebration that was the biggest and potentially the most embarrassing birthday party I’ve ever had.

My second husband and I hadn’t been married long, and had already had an early celebration of my birthday with family members. I was unaware when the actual big day arrived.

It was about dusk on a Sunday evening and we had just come in from our vegetable garden carrying baskets of fresh produce. It was close to dinner time, and he asked me to go to our favorite little neighborhood restaurant, but I begged off. He persisted. He told me I could just slip on something comfortable, and I relented. I put on a colorful muumuu, pulled my hair back into a ponytail, quickly brushed on some blusher and lipstick and off we went. This made him happy, and it pleased me to do this for him.

I was a little surprised when the hostess walked us through the restaurant to a large private banquet room in the rear of the restaurant. Inside were fifty people shouting “Surprise!” I was stunned, and even more by the guest list, which was primarily our male business associates [his and mine] and their beautifully dressed and coiffed spouses—as well as my dearest friend. I locked eyes with her immediately with a look that I hoped said volumes.

If the event had been filmed, I would probably have been nominated for an acting award of some sort—especially if the judges were women. My husband was such a kind and generous man that I decided never to mention my feelings—to him. I did, however, make it clear to my friend, his co-conspirator, how I felt about such surprises.

Well, that same friend recently invited me to dinner with her at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate my birthday. As the day neared, she called and told me she had asked her daughter to join us. I was delighted. On the afternoon of my birthday, several of our mutual friends called and asked, “What time is the dinner?” Of course I promised to act surprised.

I totally forgive my friend for not remembering my feelings about surprise parties, because thanks to her I’ve changed my mind. That particular evening made up for any less-than birthdays I have ever had in my life.

At first I thought that the pure pleasure I felt during the event was simply because someone cared enough to remember my birthday. That was part of it—but there was more.

My friend, who I have known, loved and cherished for thirty-six years, convened a small group of our mutual friends and the result was magical. I have never enjoyed such a flawless, fun and delightful evening, and I’m sure it was mutual, which made it perfect.

The well-aimed barbs that ricocheted around the table were followed by hearty laughter. The occasion soon began to resemble a mutual mini-roast, but the tenderness and joy was evident in the trust that allowed vulnerability and total openness. While at the time I just flat-out enjoyed it, now I realize it is a testament to our lasting friendships. We have shared our innermost secrets and fears, and been there for each other through the emotional earthquakes and traumas of our lives.

Being embraced in a circle of dear, longtime friends opened doors to loving memories that are usually closed because we live in a time when many people are so fearful of intimacy. I am so grateful to these women for their continuing gift of friendship.

"For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
_____________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 3, 2007

What You Think You Heard Me Say Was Not What I Said!

I recently sent an email to someone with questions I had about certain events that had transpired concerning an organization we both supported. I was stunned when a return e-mail brought a response that was totally unexpected.

More e-mails went back and forth, but nothing seemed to bring any clarity, they just made the situation worse. Finally, the uneasiness within me sent up a red flag, which was a distinct signal that any hope of clear communication was not possible in the current circumstances.

That didn’t feel good. Several days later I attended an event at a local spiritual center and much to my surprise the topic of the spiritual leader’s remarks was “Open Communication.”

She indicated that from early childhood, not only are we not taught how to communicate openly, we are taught that it’s usually better or wiser to keep quiet. So, we grow up, go out into the world, get married and wonder what is happening in our lives.

Leading off her list of major deterrents to open communication are our own built-in filters through which we communicate with others and expect them to respond honestly and clearly. Naturally, others have their own built-in filters, which they also expect us to be aware of and respect, making miscommunication inevitable.

This then brings up the no-win situation of the need to be right, and the familiar and non-productive “You said,”—“No, you said” in order to justify our position.

The spiritual leader said that while it is always appropriate to speak our truth, the important thing is to connect with another human being, and to do so without bringing the conversation to the Fatal Point—where you have eventually beaten the other person down and they give up. In this scenario, both parties are cheated of the desired goal, which is to leave both parties energized and feeling connected on a positive level.

The last element in open communication has to do with cause and effect and the fact that what we say about another or an event creates energy that will come back to us. If we put someone down for their intellectual capacity, this will result in a lessening of ours. Similarly, if we castigate someone for their lack of spiritual awareness, we lower our own.

If we blame others for our inability to openly communicate with them in a positive way, we will be arguing for our limitations and they will remain ours. We will also continue to have communication challenges in every area of our lives.

If we truly seek to be conscious and aware human beings, we will welcome the opportunity presented by such frustrating situations, and seek to learn from them. We will take the time to become aware of our own filters, be open to learning about the filters of others, and to act accordingly.

I followed this wise woman’s advice to halt the non-productive cycle. I sent an e-mail with a 24-pt. headline of red hearts and music notes and the following message: What we evidently have here is a miscommunication. Sorry and Love. Let’s move on past this. We have the same goal.

I felt better immediately.
_________________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.