Monday, July 28, 2008

Embracing Life Means Embracing Change

Looking ahead to a recent holiday weekend, I decided not to wait for someone else to invite me to their party. I’ve done that a few times in the past since my husband died and ended up being a party of one. Instead, I invited my brother and his wife and another recently widowed brother to meet for a dinner out. They happily accepted and brought along a daughter and grandson who would otherwise have been alone. I learned years ago how to cope proactively with life’s inevitable changes and was reminded of that by my sister-in-law.

She turned to me, while we were waiting to be seated, and announced sadly that this was the first time in many years that they have not hosted a large family event at their house. She missed cooking her family’s favorite dishes, baking the traditional apple pie and serving it up with her famous homemade ice cream. I could easily commiserate with her as I recalled the first time that happened in my life and the sadness the experience brought up. It is much more than giving up the joy of being the heart and hub of such joyous and precious gatherings; it is a signal that our families are growing up, life is changing and there will be many more such changes on the way.

Someone said that suffering and sadness are caused by trying to hold on to something that has passed. I learned by experience that this is true: First through the breakup of my first marriage and beloved family, and then by the death of my second husband. Life is change. We are faced with accepting change and finding ways to cope and move forward and remain part of living, or resisting it and consciously saying no to life and denying what is.

It seems that human beings are the only life form that tries to stop the ongoing process and hold onto the status quo. This is diametrically opposed to the energy and activity of life which is forever seeking to express more fully. In resisting change and trying to keep everything the same so that we feel comfortable, we remove ourselves from the natural flow of life.

We only succeed in ceasing to be active participants in the ongoing creative process. This separates us from the eternal and sublime energy that is within everyone and everything in the universe, and results in feelings of sadness and loneliness.

In order to survive and thrive when changes happen, we have to learn to be creative. If holidays are painful because the family gatherings are no more, take your mate and go on a cruise and fall in love all over again. If you are single, ask a friend to go with you on a trip and have an adventure. Give your own party and invite those who are in a similar situation, and they will be delighted. Make plans to go out to dinner with friends and family, or to a movie or to a live performance. Move out of your comfort zone, and savor the freedom and opportunities that changes bring to kick-start a new and exciting stage of life.

Here is what my friends and I say to each other whenever the occasion calls for it. Whether the change concerns our health, financial situation, work, relationships or the loss of loved ones, we say: Be good to yourself. Have whatever emotional response you need as long as you need it, then pull up your socks, make whatever adjustments necessary and go on with life. We are here for you.

I can look back now and give thanks for the opportunities and lessons learned from embracing the changes in my life. Meeting life head-on with the intention to grow through the lessons and become the true spiritual beings we were born to be is the path to becoming conscious and aware. Keeping an attitude of gratitude during the process is essential.

Here are the daily affirmations that I repeat as often as possible: I choose life. I embrace and learn the lessons from change. I choose to live fully, healthfully and joyously – to maintain physical, mental and emotional clarity all the days of my life – and to die with a prayer of gratitude on my lips for the gift of life. And So It Is!
Copyright 2008 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, July 21, 2008

The Need for Brotherhood in Today's World

For the first decade of my life, I didn’t have much use for brothers, probably because I had four of them. My younger brother was a competitor for my mother’s affection and attention, and the two immediately older ones – whenever they were around – teased and harassed me and made my life miserable. It would take a traumatic emotional event later in my life and the long-term commitment of our eldest brother to teach me the true value of brotherhood.

I have no childhood memories of our oldest brother, as he was in the Navy when I was very young and I never really got to know him. I was positively disposed toward him, however, as 1) He had never harassed me and 2) On one of his trips home he brought me a gold charm bracelet from Washington, D.C. This was a big deal in my life, as back then gifts were not the common everyday occurrence they are today. That would have to wait for Hallmark.

As it turned out, the opportunity to really get to know my oldest male sibling would also be many years in the future. After he completed his tour of duty in the military, he remained in Tokyo earning his undergraduate degree at Jochi University and working as a journalist. He came back to the U.S. briefly to attend the American Graduate School of International Management, married, and returned to Tokyo with his wife. During the ensuing years, he became a prolific author and recognized expert on the culture and languages of Japan, China, Korea and Mexico.

My brother and his wife came back to Arizona in the 1960s so that their daughters could grow up near family and attend school in the U.S. He pursued his career by making extended trips abroad. It wasn’t until my marriage dissolved and I also returned with my children that we had the opportunity to be together for the first time in our adult lives.

My divorce was the first one ever in my family, and no one, except my oldest brother, seemed to be aware or capable of providing any support. I had accepted a position as assistant public relations director for a local bank, which under ideal conditions would have meant only a healthful career stretch. But my situation was far from ideal, and my self-confidence was at an all-time low. My brother called me at work and offered to help me in any way that I needed. This was wonderful, as he was not only a consummate writer, editor and author; he also had great skills in marketing and promotion.

One of my responsibilities was to write, edit and oversee the publishing of a monthly magazine that went to all the bank’s publics, including customers, financial affiliates, stockholders and media. Although I was a former newspaper reporter and had written for a similar publication at a bank in Portland, Oregon, I had never produced one on my own. I called my brother, and he came over to my house immediately. He worked with me all night getting the issue ready to go. Under his tutelage and ongoing positive support, I opened fully to my own natural abilities and experienced greater future success than I ever imagined. All of which he applauded with great joy.

It took a lot of time and hard work, but my life began to show definite improvement in all areas. My brother began urging me to write a book about what I was living because he thought my positive approach would help others. As a single parent, my life was full at the time, plus I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book, so I resisted until my second husband’s extended illness and death. I had been journaling for many years and recognized that in the journals I had kept through that challenging time there might be a book. My brother confirmed that and joyously assisted me in structuring and publishing my first book.

I also became aware through the years that my brother had generously shared his wisdom and experience with many individuals and groups who were committed to becoming word warriors. In my case, he gave me encouragement and support when I was down, took the time to listen, challenge and encourage my growth as a consciously aware human being and provided unconditional caring that magnified and gave meaning to my successes and cushioned the failures.

Most of us are already aware that brotherly love was never meant to be taken literally and confined to relatives or gender. “Brotherhood” is a role any of us can play in someone’s life when they need a helping hand. The capability of forging a bond of brotherly love with another human being is inherent in all of us, and is much needed in today’s world where there is such widespread disconnection and a pervasive fear of intimacy.

Along the way, I have made it a practice to follow my brother’s example in reaching out to help others. In the process, I believe I became a better person, as well as a better sister to all my siblings. This was easier than I imagined because those pesky boys turned out to be surprisingly decent and likeable human beings—most of the time.
Copyright 2008 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, July 14, 2008

How Do I Love Me?

Ah, let me count the ways. Do I love me enough to properly care for my body so that I can learn life’s lessons and enjoy full physical and mental capabilities until I toddle off this mortal coil? Do I love and honor myself enough to follow my chosen path regardless of what others think … and to allow others the same freedom without judgment or disappointment? Do I love myself enough to expect the best from life? Do I love myself enough to allow myself to be successful? Do I love myself enough to make only life-enhancing decisions and take life-enhancing actions?

If you answered yes to all the above, you have no need to read any further.

However, if you found yourself unable to do that, you are among the larger percentage of human beings on this planet. Whether it is due to nature or nurture, many human beings grow to maturity without a solid base of self-esteem, which means they don’t feel lovable, smart enough or good enough to deserve even the smallest modicum of good in their lives. I certainly had a lack in that area, and it took raising my self-awareness and exerting a concerted effort to undo whatever events or actions caused me to feed into my subconscious those undesirable, invalid and false beliefs.

Here are some of the insights I have gained along the way. First of all, I realized that by the time we are three to five years old we have already placed in our subconscious beliefs that represent decisions we have made about life. These decisions may or may not be valid, but they reflect our vulnerability and budding self-esteem at the given moment. How much can a three or five year old know at that point? Not much. So many if not all of those beliefs that are fed into our subconscious may be invalid, but they become solidified and will, if not changed, determine every action, reaction, decision or indecision we will ever make throughout our lives.

We won’t even be aware of why we’re doing or not doing something. It is just an automatic response that is similar to those that keep us breathing and all our organs functioning when we’re asleep.

When I finally realized that there was something within me that was keeping me from living a good, happy and successful life, I decided to wake up, find out what it was, learn what to do about it, and do it. I did.

William James was considered the most influential of America’s philosophers and the father of psychology in this country. He said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”

He was right. Here are two concepts that changed my life: It is done unto you as you believe. And, when you change your thoughts, you change your life. I have made these truths part of my life for over two decades, and can guarantee that when applied properly and consistently, they work.

To assure your success, here are two, tried and true, chronological lists of positive statements-affirmations that when repeated for 30 days will become imbedded in your subconscious as your true desires. According to the experts, it takes thirty days to re-program our thoughts. Repeat these statements with resolve and feeling as many times a day as possible, silently, as well as out loud and by writing them out to set them firmly in your subconscious. Make copies and put them where you can see them throughout the day and carry them with you wherever you go:

I love myself. I love myself just the way I am. I love myself regardless of the circumstances in my life. I love my body just the way it is. I love my life just the way it is. I love everything and everybody in my life, for I know I have created my life as it is and drawn all the people and circumstances to me. I know that as I love and accept myself, my body and my life the way it is right now, I will then be free to move forward and create the life I desire. And So It Is!

When you have methodically and faithfully completed 30 days on the above, begin the set below and repeat them as often as possible for another 30 days:

I now choose life. I choose health. I choose success. I choose abundance in every area of my life. I choose love. I choose loving relationships. I choose to trust in life and in myself. I choose to give the highest in me for the world, and to receive the highest and best in the world for me. I choose abundance, happiness, joy, love and peace, pressed down and running over. And So It Is!
Copyright 2008 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, July 7, 2008

The Importance of Keeping a Healthy Body

In several recent essays, I focused on our bodies, how they work and the importance of taking care of them for optimal health. My reason for writing these essays is to share insights I have gained, often from my mistakes, so that more people can live healthier, fuller and more satisfying lives.

I eventually learned that what we believe and our attitudes toward life have a dramatic impact on our mental and physical health. I eagerly embraced this concept to help me heal a lack of abundance, relationships with others, and to create attitudes that support a successful and happy life.

Because I believed my body was one of the things working well in my life back then, I took it for granted. I evidently expected it to continue at peak performance despite how unconscious I was of what my physical self was experiencing. My motto was if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – or even pay attention to it.

I didn’t become aware of the need to focus on my body until I started receiving messages from it that got my undivided attention. Actually, when the messages became stronger and I began to awaken fully to the fact of how vitally I needed a body, I felt a little out of control and somewhat fearful. I began to understand that my body would continue to change over time, and that unless I took back my power and became a caring participant, the changes would probably be faster, more drastic and less desirable.

I also began to realize that most of us share a cavalier attitude toward our bodies. This is why we think nothing of stuffing them with junk food, unresolved emotions, and all sorts of unhealthful substances. We are either bored by or scared of our bodies. Or, we think we’re special because we attend church regularly, are kind to children, old people and animals, or do good work for the world, and therefore we have some kind of special dispensation from Life that protects us. Believe me, we don’t.

I am learning that in order to live and function on the Earth, we need to be aware that there are a lot more skills needed than most of us ever realized. To do more than survive on this planet, it is necessary to learn to control our minds, our emotions, our finances and how to be in relationships with others. Somehow we take for granted the number one priority: the bodies that allow us life. Typically, it isn’t until health challenges arise that we are frightened into learning, even slightly, how our bodies work and what their basic needs are to function properly.

As for myself, I have become actively involved in my health and wellbeing and have totally changed my habit of ignoring and forgetting about my body until something goes wrong, which is the same philosophy many of us use in taking care of our cars.

I can attest to the fact that the longer we wait to become acquainted with and partner with our bodies, the more challenging it may be. Yet I believe the information exists today that would allow us, with forethought, constancy and discipline, to keep our bodies functioning at a desired physical, mental and emotional level all the days of our lives.

Keeping a healthy body is important for all the obvious reasons. It may also allow us to live longer and gain the awareness necessary to master the lessons of life in this realm. The more skilled we become at applying the lessons learned, the more successful we will be in stating our desires and having them manifested surely and swiftly by the omnipresent life force-energy. This would mean that when it is our time to graduate from Earth school, it will be with full honors—magna cum laude.
Copyright 2008 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.