Monday, November 26, 2007

The True Path to Happy Holidays Comes from Within

Several weeks ago at a local church, the minister announced Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day events for those who have no family or who choose not to be with the family they do have during the holidays. While this brought an amused reaction from the congregation, it is common knowledge that in today’s world many people experience sorrow over broken family relationships.

I understand that kind of sadness. I also realize that some of the depression during the holiday season is due to the unfulfilled dreams and desires that are often rooted in the mists of childhood. The sadness increases when people think of certain television commercials and movies that present an idyllic view of the perfect family holiday, as well as the imagined “wonderful” holidays everyone else is having.

I once held those images in my mind, but I have learned a lot since I quit buying into the ideal family holiday. Now I know that what is can be enough if you make the most of it.

It isn’t always possible to have close relationships with all your family members. Sometimes it is better to draw close to and bless those relationships we do have. We need to recognize, honor and relish every moment we have to spend with close friends and family.

There are, of course, profound and positive reasons for family gatherings, including savoring the bond represented by extended family, and more importantly allowing children to be embraced in a circle of multigenerational love that provides a strong foundation that will enhance their entire lives. It also gives us an opportunity to learn to honor and accept differences, which is a quality much needed in the world today.

However, while our individual holiday challenges may differ, the emotions they bring may be the same. For me, my adult children and grandchildren are building their own traditions and going their own ways, which is a natural part of the life process. I discovered that dwelling on whom or what I didn’t have in my life during the holidays was a waste of time and life energy. It only results in stress and sadness and detracts from the true meaning of the holidays.

This is a time of year when people aren’t embarrassed to open their hearts and revel in the joy and blessing of sharing with others and truly feeling the joy of being alive. I choose that. I refuse to be cheated out of this goodness by letting any less than positive thoughts rule my consciousness.

What this means is taking control of my thoughts and my life before the holiday season arrives. This year I planned a small gathering early in November to kick off the season. I also bought beautiful poinsettia plants to brighten my home and lift my spirits, and placed electric candles in the upstairs window to broadcast my joy to others.

My holiday calendar [some of which I initiated] also includes intimate time with some family members and longtime friends for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea at a lovely hotel, a holiday-themed concert and theater production, cookie decorating, and holiday movies with my younger grandchildren followed by a trip to the mall to see the seasonal decorations.

What I discovered is that when you choose to do what you truly enjoy, with people who are important and meaningful in your life, the events are guaranteed to fill your arms with hugs and your heart with love.

I don’t believe in allowing the actions or inactions of others to control my happiness. I believe the secret is not to wait for the joy and love to come to us, but to reach out and share our own love and joy—making the world a far better place!
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 and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 19, 2007

When We Are Insecure, We Try to Control Others

Many years ago I was in a relationship with a young man who was incredibly dictatorial and demanded absolute control of every aspect of my life. Naturally the relationship did not last. Years later, I realized that he was insecure within himself and felt safe only when he could control those around him. I have since learned that control is a primary challenge in many human relationships.

Many people believe, erroneously, that our spouses and significant others are there to make us happy. We often expect others to do what will make us feel good and secure, and if they can’t or won’t, it sets off our inner security system. We then decide that it is the other person’s fault, and there is something definitely wrong with them. Our egos can’t stand the idea that anything could be wrong with us so we normally look outside ourselves for someone to blame.

Then we dehumanize, or “thing” them, and feel totally justified in labeling them insensitive or whatever comes to mind at the time. After all of that – again in our own minds – we are totally absolved of any guilt over cutting them out of our lives or simply shutting down any emotional connection. This scenario is probably the number one cause of divorce, or of couples staying together and living lives of quiet desperation.

I believe there is a different way. We are either in fear or in Love. The relationships mentioned above are fear-based. The Love I am speaking of is eternal and spiritual and has no limits. It is diametrically opposed to ego love, which is based on getting rather than giving and is the basis of many of today’s intimate relationships.

This Love is expansive and powerful and continually seeks to flow from us to others for the good of all. It is the true essence and nature of our being, and fills us with the awareness that we are one with Life, which brings us an inner security and sustained happiness.

Fear closes us off. It is a result of feeling separate at a core level. When we don’t feel connected or a part of the universal life energy-force-Love that manifests itself through us, we are fearful. We have no anchor. We develop an unhealthy and deep-seated offensive position toward others and life. The outward manifestation of this disconnectedness is the projection of control on others.

I believe if we are willing to face what we fear in ourselves, we can once again connect with the eternal and sublime energy within each of us, which is Love.

We will then find that we aren’t rowing upstream all by ourselves, but are in the flow of life and are more at peace with whatever happens. We are reconnected to self, to others and the ongoing stream of life, which is our natural and desired state.

I believe it is humanity’s natural evolutionary path to come to this conscious awareness and connect with the energy-force-Love that is within us and everything in the universe. We will then be inspired and moved to change our lives. Our relationships will also be transformed and healed—as the need to control others will no longer exist.
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 and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Our Souls May Be Immortal and Infinite ... But Our Bodies Are Not!

It continually amazes me that no matter how smart I always thought I was, it has taken me a lifetime to fully understand that what I put into my body, what I think and how I live determine how I feel and what ailments result.

Now I know that my body was entrusted to my care, and instead of continuing to work against my body, I am ready to work with it and realize that whatever happens is my shared responsibility.

I found that today’s conventional healthcare system is not particularly comfortable with individuals desiring to take control of their health. They are tied to a mind-set that believes similar symptoms equal a one-size fits all diagnosis – as well as a one-size fits all drug or treatment program. This shows an incredible lack of awareness of the human body.

Our external forms may look similar, but that’s where the similarities end. The physiological makeup of every human being is absolutely unique, and includes our unseen mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that don’t show up in lab work, MRI’s or CAT scans.

When we learn how our bodies work, we can then present ourselves in a doctor’s office as one expert to another – in partnership – not in a subservient, powerless mode expecting [unrealistically] the physician to listen to a few symptoms and then write out a prescription that will magically heal all that ails us.

No one receives an owner’s manual at birth detailing the required care and feeding necessary to assure maximum health and longevity of the human body. It requires personal time, energy and effort to ferret out information that is right for each of us.

Obviously our government agencies are no longer capable of protecting us from all harmful products, so we must be vigilant and aware. The conventional medical arena is married to a mind-set that believes there is only one way to achieve health—more and stronger drugs. And it actually appears that the ultimate aim of the pharmaceutical companies is to medicate us from birth to death for every function of our bodies.

While millions of Americans are desirous of taking control of their health, the end result has been an incredible amount of conflicting information that often proves erroneous. The proliferation of diet, nutrition and exercise programs that continue to flood the market probably hold some legitimate information, but the truth, again, is that no one diet, exercise routine, weight-loss program or health regimen fits all.

The profit-driven commercial companies that jumped in and manufactured so-called “healthy” food products knew the buzz words, but had no idea how to help us attain or maintain our weight or our health.

What all this means is that our health is a do-it-yourself project. The highest collective wisdom seems to lie in the following: Know your body and how it works; partner with healthcare providers instead of ceding all power to them; avoid processed foods and focus on eating foods as close to their natural state as possible; also avoid sugar in all forms and other known harmful foods, beverages and recreational drugs.

While I have joked in the past about my disdain for exercise, now I recognize the importance of keeping the body moving so that all the organs function optimally and there is sufficient blood flow to the brain.

If I want to remain on Earth, which I do, I need a body. The question is, can I release the old thought patterns and take responsibility for wisely assisting my body? Or, will I once again choose to play the victim and fall back on the widely held pretense that our bodies fail us—when actually it is the other way around.
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 and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Achieving Inner Happiness Is Life's Highest Gift

In three of the wealthiest countries in the world – the U.S., Great Britain and China – the number of children and adults with depression continues to increase right along with financial success. Unhappiness is obviously linked to something other than economics.

Thinking back over my life, I realized that there was definitely a level of relief when as a single mother of three I was able to cover the bills and have a little wiggle room. As I progressed past the day-to-day survival mode and was able to realize a greater degree of success in my life, I realized there was never a long-term satisfaction attached to achieving a particular possession or level of financial gain. There was only a sense of relief and a short-lived “high.” This was followed almost immediately by the thought that there was something else I had to accomplish before I could find lasting happiness.

I knew that following society’s markers of success – wealth, fame and a fairy-tale existence – was not a true path to lasting happiness. This left the question: what is?

In my wildest imaginings I couldn’t have foreseen that the journey I was about to embark on would result in the answer. It began in a time of desperation during my late husband’s extended illness. I was determined to help my husband make his last life journey in a way that was more spiritually enlightened and loving. I knew it was possible to do this, even though I had never heard of or read about how to approach it.

I tried for years to fulfill this heart desire by myself but was totally unsuccessful. Then I did what millions of others have done in such trying circumstances. I turned within, seeking a connection with the eternal and sublime energy that is within each of us and everything in the universe, which we call God.

There I found the sanctuary of unconditional love, support, guidance, peace, joy and happiness that is the heart’s desire of every human being. My life and our experience were transformed in a way that exceeded my dreams and desires. After my husband’s death and a period of mourning, I felt a sustained sense of happiness, peace and contentment for the first time in my life.

I knew this was the answer to the lasting happiness my heart and soul had been seeking. I chronicled the process in my book “The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within.”

This level of calm, peace and happiness continues—regardless of circumstances. It has been confirmed time and again but never more dramatically than the night a car crashed into a wall of my house. While the event, and its aftermath was definitely extraordinary, my inner peace remained intact during the entire situation. I dubbed it The Hole in the Wall That Became a Holy Experience.

Taking this inner journey unlocks the flow of good into our lives in a way that is for our highest and best good, as well as that of the world. The wonderful truth is that we and we alone hold the key to opening that door. It is a path that every human being is meant to take, and our souls know the path, the pace and the timing of the journey.

I believe that by connecting with the sublime and eternal energy within us, we actualize happiness on an inner level, which is the highest gift life has to offer. I also believe this is the natural antidote for depression and many of the ills of our world.
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 and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.