Monday, December 31, 2007

It Takes More than New Year's Resolutions to Change Your Life

Like millions of others, I made New Year’s resolutions in the past, and then failed to fulfill them. This annual ritual became an exercise in how to beat myself up for my failures.

Then I learned the concept of changing your life by changing your thoughts. I fully understood that if what I was experiencing wasn’t desirable, it was equally possible to follow this concept and create a life of happiness and fulfillment. I made this idea part of my life over three decades ago.

It didn’t take me long to realize why we can never be successful by making fervent, but wishful statements about our life challenges. I learned that the problem was in the thoughts, feelings and emotions we hold about ourselves, which directly affect such important issues as abundance, health, relationships and success.

I discovered that it was necessary to go within and find out what we really desire in life. I also found that at a deep level most human beings believe they aren’t good enough, deserving or worthy, which effectively blocks their good. To heal those thoughts, say every day as often as possible: I love myself just the way I am, right here, right now. I deserve all the blessings the world has to offer. I am willing to change my negative thoughts and to accept good for myself.

The core beliefs we hold of being unworthy are only thoughts, which create a feeling that binds them to us. If we change the thought, we change that feeling. It doesn’t matter how long we have held negative thoughts or what the thoughts are. We can change the thoughts. Memorize this and say it as often as possible: I love myself, and am willing to change my thoughts. I now allow only positive thoughts about myself.

If we have been hurt in the past, or we hurt someone and are still holding onto the thoughts, we only hurt ourselves. These thoughts have determined the life we have now and will decide the future. We must release these thoughts and be free of the past. The only way to do that is to be willing to forgive not only others but to forgive ourselves. Say this as often as possible and for as long as it takes: I forgive myself for any real or imagined wrong done by me to myself, and to anyone else, past or present. I freely and wholly forgive anyone else for any real or imagined wrong done to me, past or present. I am free, they are free.

The key is to love ourselves so that we can open to accepting what is truly desired into our life. By paying close attention to what we think and say, we become aware of the many times we put ourselves down for the simplest and most inconsequential things. This is a negative habit that keeps us stuck in victim-hood, and assures that our life will continue to be less than desirable. Start today, and repeat often: I am wonderful, lovable, deserving and worthy and I love myself just the way I am.

While it may not be possible to say these affirmations and really mean them at first – if you continue you will – and your life will begin to change. And, while the only one we can ever change is ourselves, when we begin to experience positive changes in our life, it will have an effect on others. Know that whatever our current situation is, we have created it. The good news is that now we can consciously choose the life we desire.

Once we decide what we want, and can love ourselves enough to accept having it, the positive affirmations set a powerful force in motion, and we have only to persevere to be successful. Say every day as often as possible: I am perfect, whole and complete right now. I am willing to do what it takes to change my thoughts. I give thanks for the good that comes to me now, and affirm that only good goes out from me to the world.

Negative thought patterns often take time to change, so we need to be patient and gentle with ourselves. When we begin to falter or doubt, we must take heart and know that millions of others have taken responsibility for their lives and are proving that when they change their thoughts, their lives change. To maintain your inner resolve, say every day: I never give up and I never give in—and victory will be yours.
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, December 24, 2007

The Gift That Only You Can Give Yourself

The more time I spend in and observing nature the more I learn about myself. It recently dawned on me that I have spent my entire life in an effort to learn to relax and be who I am. I discovered this by watching the rabbits and birds that frequent my lush yard. They are totally content with being what they are.

I smile when I think about what it must be like to be a blade of grass, whose only role in life is to grow and be green. In doing so, it fulfills its purpose and enhances the beauty of a yard or field. What a sad and frustrating experience it would be for that blade of grass to spend its lifespan wishing to be a flower, a shrub or a tree. Yet, not being grounded and accepting who we are seems to be part of the human condition, resulting in many of us spending our lives striving to be something that we are not.

It does not have to be and should not be that way. Each of us is important, as no one else can be who I am, or who you are. It is only our wayward minds that confuse and frustrate us and keep us from enjoying the fullness of what it means to be alive in this form here and now.

I believe the most important element in overcoming this tendency is to come to peace within ourselves and accept who we were born to be. Our culture is so focused on the external world that we rarely, if ever, take the time to explore the inner world that is within us.

Many people believe that life is what happens to us externally, and our role is to react to whatever comes our way, but that is not so. The fact is that the point of power is within us and has always been. We need to realize that the way life is supposed to happen is from within out—not the other way around. When we understand this, we become empowered and can determine much of what happens to us in life.

We have the power to stop our fear-based frantic search for answers outside ourselves. Unfortunately, our culture focuses on and requires that we not be in touch with ourselves or with our environment, much to the detriment of both.

Going within and connecting with our inner selves is an absolute necessity. It naturally leads to connecting with that larger part of us that knows we are one with everyone else, with all life, as well as with the Earth itself. At that point, there is no confusion or frustration about who we are or what our purpose is on this planet, as it is simply to be fully and wholly who we were born to be.

Once we make this connection, we will be free of the thoughts that have kept us off-balance and off-purpose and that preclude us from achieving our full human potential. There is great power in this knowing—power that can change our lives and the world. It is the gift that only you can give to you.
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, December 17, 2007

Restoring Honesty and Integrity to Our Culture Begins with Us

Most of us know that lying, cheating and dishonesty now permeate every level of our culture. This deterioration in ethics and morality is directly linked to the excesses inherent in materialism, a breeding ground for competition. The prevailing belief seems to be that there isn’t enough of anything for everyone, so you have to lie, cheat and steal to get your share.

There is no area of our society that has escaped the insidious reality of this deep and disturbing erosion of morality. A significant percentage of our political leaders and business managers have accepted the slogan that the end – achieving their desires – justifies the means. This attitude of self-interest has spawned individuals at all levels of our society who no longer feel even a slight twinge of conscience at trampling on the needs and rights of others.

This cultural failing has also yielded large numbers of people who do not keep their promises and do not tell the truth about the simplest and most benign details of their business and personal lives.

A recent experience brought home to me my own role – and my responsibility – in this moral dilemma; it also made it clear that the solution to the problem rests wholly with each one of us.

I discovered that one key individual in a business situation doesn’t always divulge all the material facts. At the time, I had no idea why this young person did this, as it was information that could determine and influence future events. This caused frustration and stress for everyone involved. Since I had chosen decades ago to live as honest and authentic a life as possible, I expected this from others. I also began to distrust the individual.

Since I didn’t feel good about simply writing the person off, I started looking for a deeper understanding. After some soul-searching, I remembered something from the past that gave me some insight. When I started in the corporate world many years ago, I felt small and insignificant in my entry-level job. I discovered that one way to feel more powerful and in control was to hold back bits of information from others. Luckily for me not only was I insignificant at that time but so was the information I withheld. I am grateful to the two wonderful and wise business leaders who mentored me and taught me by example the true and honorable path to self empowerment.

I realized that in condemning this person today, I was also denying a part of me that my ego doesn’t like to acknowledge, as it prefers blaming others instead of looking within for answers. This realization allowed me to forgo the emotion and to seek a more positive solution.

In order to deal fairly with this challenge, I knew I had to act in a way that would create a healthier situation. I chose to exercise my rights and started asking legitimate questions, which were distributed with the answers for all concerned, and simply continued questioning until all the facts were on the table.

While I don’t know whether or not the individual benefited from my choice of action, I do know that not being honest in every area of our lives does more harm to us than it does to others. The value in my own life was incalculable. Not taking any action would have meant that I condoned, allowed and went along with less than honest and transparent business dealings.

Similarly, I believe that the solution to the larger problems in our culture begins by adhering to the highest standards in all our interactions with others – publicly and privately – and to hold to these standards no matter what.

The simple truth is that we do live in an abundant universe that is based on fundamental laws such as like attracts like. We draw to us what we think and live and are ultimately responsible for what comes into our life. When any one of us lies, cheats, steals or allows or condones such actions, it takes away from the good of all. We must each set and abide by ethical and moral standards that will contribute to honesty and integrity in our culture. We need to live this for our children and grandchildren—and for the future of our nation.
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, December 10, 2007

RESPECT ... The Key to a Kinder, More Civilized and Sane Society

We live in an age of disrespect that defines and diminishes our daily lives. Where we once had institutions, professions and family values that were revered, now there is nothing or no one who is beyond ridicule. This has damaged our country to the point that it threatens the core of our society. Crime, drug addiction and depression rates are at all-time highs and rising. Many of our young people are disrespectful of parents, teachers and authority figures. They are disillusioned by our nation’s image in the world, and they don’t believe in or trust their parents, the media, politicians, religion, the legal system or the future.

Experts believe that all behavior problems in otherwise healthy children can be traced back to respect. I agree. The sad news is that the level of respect for one’s self and others that would be necessary to reverse this situation is at an extremely low level in our culture today.

Children learn what they live. Respect begins in the home, and has to be taught and lived by all conscious and aware parents. This is where any long-term resolution has to start. It also needs to be supported in schools, media, churches, businesses and communities across the country. It also needs to be embraced by our national leaders and all public figures who are role models for young people.

I wish I had known when my children were young what I know now. I learned that as a parent, respect is not something we can demand or is automatic; it happens naturally when we have cleaned up our own lives. As we respect ourselves, we automatically respect others.

While there is little we can do to affect the uncivilized behavior of many in our country, we can begin in our own families as parents, grandparents and relatives to focus on teaching respect for honesty, integrity, morality, truth and each other. This was once The American Way.

In order to become respectful adults, children must live in an environment of respect – parent to parent, child to child, parent to child and child to parent. They must be taught that loving and respecting self is the first step in loving and respecting others.

Parenting must be viewed as a sacred responsibility, and parents must be willing to be physically, emotionally and mentally present and available. Parents must teach and live all the desired virtues they wish their children to embrace. They must stop such unhealthy habits as negative sarcasm and name calling between everyone in the household.

There are commonsense and accepted basics that should be part of every child’s early training. They should be taught to respect and honor their bodies and how to healthfully care for them. All children need boundaries and structure as well as consistency in words, actions and decisions. This builds a sense of security and trust they can take into the larger world.

By respecting children’s emotions and teaching them to use words to express their feelings, parents can add immeasurably to a child’s sense of self-esteem, self-worth and self-respect. This is vital to their being able to say NO to any number of potentially life-damaging decisions facing young people in America each day.

Children should also be encouraged to go within and nurture their inner life through age-appropriate techniques such as quiet time, daydreaming, being in nature [often], listening to beautiful music and reading uplifting literature, as well as prayer and meditation. As they mature in an environment of respect, they will realize this connection with their inner life is a link with life itself. And this, my friends, is a natural antidote for the isolation and lack of self worth experienced by so many teenagers.

Last but not least, children need to grow up surrounded by friends and extended family who also love and cherish them for who they are. This is the foundation that will allow them to survive and thrive in life.

I call on the grandparents of this nation to support the respectful parenting of children. They are our future. I believe we can make a difference and in the process—change the course of history.

[To view or print – A Parents Pledge: Ten Basic Rules for Teaching and Living Respectful Lives – go to, click on How-to-lists and then Parent’s Pledge.
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, December 3, 2007

Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World

I recently watched a PBS documentary on the cartoonist who created the beloved comic strip characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy—the late Charles Schulz. The very intimate look into the artist’s life also revealed much about our unbalanced world.

According to the documentary, Schulz, who died in 2000, was so intensely focused on his work that it took over his life and ultimately caused the breakup of his marriage. The documentary revealed that, unlike his public image as the "gentle genius" who had his life together, he was a shy, conflicted and complicated man whose inner issues were echoed in the neurotic attributes of his beloved characters.

When serious illness threatened his life, he asked his closest colleagues: How could this happen to me? What went wrong?

I don’t believe anything went wrong in the universal sense. By denying the fact that the other side of being born is dying, we often fail to live a full and balanced life, and when our time comes we are often surprised and like Schulz, we may feel cheated.

While I can relate to the fact that many artistic people have a challenge with managing the creative energy and thus living a balanced life, living an out-of-balance life is the norm today, and everyone – to one degree or another – is over-extended, over-worked and overwhelmed.

What I am learning is that living a balanced life is a simple, but not easy daily process of staying in alignment with the basic human needs that give meaning to our lives.

The most basic human need is to have a body, which is necessary for life on Earth. How well we love and care for our body determines our current and future health, and this includes paying attention to the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our physical being.

Humans also have a basic need to love and feel loved in return. This means we need to know our needs – and to communicate these needs to the significant others in our lives – as well as being aware of their needs. Families are the human laboratory where we are meant to learn how to healthfully love and be loved.

As humans, we want to make a difference in the world and to feel that what we do has meaning, that our life matters and that we are here for a purpose. To do this, we need to come to peace with the awareness that there is something greater than we are in the universe and we are an integral part of it. This places us as a vital element in the ongoing rhythm and stream of life, and brings a sense of inner peace.

In today’s world, society’s measure of a successful man or woman is still someone who has achieved fame and fortune. After their death, if they were famous enough to have a documentary aired about them, as Charles Schulz was, the story comes out. The public likes to see their fame and fortune role models served up in neat packages to confirm the myth that success in the external world is the path to lasting happiness. When it isn’t true, they probe the person’s life to seek answers.

While the conflict of continued disappointment with unfulfilled desires works in a comic strip, in real life it is supremely depressing. This is why we are pulling for dear old Charlie Brown to get to kick the football, for Lucy not to be rejected by Schroeder and for all of them to get to see the Great Pumpkin.

Despite or because of his human frailties, Charles Schulz was able to create an impressive body of work and touch many lives. Yet his lament also confirms the value in seeking a balanced life. Fulfilling our potential is a wonderful life goal. When we are in balance within ourselves, then we may be assured that our life will bless us and everyone involved. It will be a celebration of the gift of life—the true path to happiness.
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.