Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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 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 lives, 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. Say every day: I never give up and I never give in—and victory will be yours.
Copyright 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch
[The author is on holiday and this is one of her most requested seasonal essays.]

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The True Path to Happy Holidays Comes From Within

Several weeks ago at a local church, the minister announced holiday 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 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 is on holiday and this is one of her most requested seasonal essays.]

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Importance of an Attitude of Gratitude

As everyone knows, we are facing serious challenges in our country right now, providing us a perfect opportunity to consider utilizing the highest and best information available to protect and maintain our health, prosperity and happiness or, if needed, to increase all three. Taking advantage of this tried and true information will benefit anyone who uses it, and in the process it will help heal America.

This information has been around for eons, and has allowed many individuals to create successful, enriching and happy lives despite external socio-economic conditions.

The primary concept, which I have written about before, is that by changing our thoughts we can change our lives. Millions of people around the world are confirming the truth of this concept daily by living it. They are also attaining and maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude, which is a key component that assures success.

It is helpful to remember that gratitude is simply taking the time to look around us and appreciate what we do have. And not only does the Universe love a grateful heart, it responds affirmatively by sending us more of the good we are already enjoying. In practicing gratitude each day, this places us in alignment with what is Good in the Universe. This is a powerful place from which to act. By placing only positive thoughts and affirmations of our desires into the Universal Law, and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, we receive back what we have placed as our order.

The challenge for some of us lies in the fact that no matter what we have, we often see only lack and scarcity because we don’t have enough, or we fear it won’t be enough in the future, or isn’t everything we want, or what we really want. If we truly want to change our lives for the better, it is vitally important that we start to become consciously aware of the many Good things that actually are in our lives and to start being grateful for them – no matter how small they may seem to be at the time.

One excellent way to do this is to take time each day, either first thing in the morning or at bedtime in the evening, or both, to repeat everything we can think of that we can be grateful for in that day. Just say: I am grateful for ______________, and let your mind and heart fill in the blank. We can also make a written list or start a Gratitude Journal and keep track of everything for which we are grateful. When gratitude is practiced consistently for the good we have in our lives, the loving universe takes that as our order and sends us more of the same.

I start each morning by being grateful for another day of life, for a good night’s sleep, or an unbroken night’s sleep, for a comfortable and warm bed, for my house, my car and for each person, event and experience I will meet this day. I also repeat these affirmations daily: I am grateful for this day, knowing it is the first day of the best years of my life. I am grateful for the continuing Good that comes into my life in expected and unexpected ways.

At night, before I fall asleep, I review the day and while going over it bit by bit, I declare every event Good, every person Good and bless the day. Then I repeat these affirmations: I bless everything that happened today and everyone with whom I came in contact. I am grateful for all the Good I see in my life and for the Good that is yet to be. As I turn over, I always feel complete and clear of the happenings of the day, and just naturally drift into a peaceful sleep.

As we learn to focus on positive thoughts and to live with an attitude of gratitude, this raises our energy vibration, which also elevates the consciousness of humanity. Since our government mirrors our level of awareness, we will also be helping our country return to a state of harmony and balance, and this is another blessed gift for which we can be exceedingly grateful.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Can Hardly Wait to See the Good in This!

Not unlike others among us, I have reached that point in life where my sometimes cavalier approach to health means my history has become my biology. In other words, the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be, and it’s time to pay the piper. My past transgressions include a tendency toward living to eat instead of eating to live, as well as a lack of appreciation of the importance of exercise in coping with stress. It was also a surprise to learn that I wasn’t breathing properly, which I thought was a natural aptitude.

So here I am, several weeks after an early morning visit to the Emergency Room, hoisted on a petard. As a proponent of balancing the best of holistic and conventional medicine, I find myself with one foot on the conveyer belt of conventional medicine, which is in motion, and the other foot planted firmly on the platform of my belief system.

It wasn’t a comfortable place to be. For a brief moment I wondered if I had the intestinal fortitude to continue taking responsibility for my body and charting a wise if less traveled path regarding my health. I took heart immediately when I thought about my excellent team of learned physicians who honor and embrace complementary medicine, which combines the best of both fields. They believe in looking at an ailing patient as someone who has an imbalance of body, mind and/or spirit, instead of a disease that happens to have a person attached to it.

Basically, I am in good health, and for the past thirty years have chosen holistic modalities whenever possible. I weighed my choices critically: If I chose to adhere to the follow-up directions from the ER, this meant I would get on the train and my ticket would be punched saying I have certain symptoms, which means the only destination is a one-size fits all diagnosis and one-size fits all drugs that often escalate into stronger drugs and more invasive treatments.

My decision was made. The uncharted path I continued to choose meant that I would seek the wise counsel of my former primary care physician, Gladys T. McGarey, M.D., M.D.(H), who at age 89 is now functioning as a life coach. As the acknowledged “Mother of Holistic Medicine in America,” she was able to support my decision and recommend a medical specialist who can lead me in an alternative approach that is congruent with the core of my being, and also honors conventional and complementary medicine.

Once again I felt secure and empowered. I also remembered that the only constant in life is change and that the spiritual journey we are all on – whether we’re aware of it or not – is never about the challenges that come up, but how we face them. I’ve learned that the key is to ask what we are to learn from any situation or condition, then to meet it with all the love and wisdom we can muster. In doing this, we gain additional insights, master another level of how life on Earth really works – and move beyond the situation into a higher energy vibration.

In a recent conversation with a friend about health situations that are part of the human condition, she said her late father taught her that whenever the inevitable physical, mental or emotional upheavals occur in her life, she is to stop, smile broadly and state firmly, and often – I can hardly wait to see the good in this! The smile blesses the situation, instead of condemning it – often our first reaction – and the positive statement sets in motion the expectation of good.

Wise words to live by no matter the situation or the healing path we choose!
Copyright 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Practiced Ear Hears the Song of God in Nature

I sense a deep primordial kinship with the fall season. As the Earth’s energy slows down following the boisterous display of summer, I instinctively know it is time to draw within and spend quiet time in contemplation. The need is strong, and the sometimes cloudy, cooler days complement this desire.

Lately, I find myself reflecting on the creativity of nature and the similarity of thoughts and seeds. Whenever I plant a sunflower seed in my small patio garden, I can rest assured that the germinated seed will produce a sunflower. So too will the thoughts I focus on produce their own likeness, and whether they are deemed desirable or undesirable depends on the quality of my thoughts. It is important to choose my thoughts carefully so that what springs forth in my life is as dependable and desirable as what flourishes in my garden.

In joyous anticipation of partnering with nature, I pick up my pruning shears and trowel and head for my small back patio garden to view the results of the Southwest desert’s harsh triple-digit temperatures. Despite appropriate care, some potted flowers have not survived, much like some of my misplaced thoughts and desires. I bless them and with a sigh, scoop them up and recycle them into the earth.

I am heartened though that while some umbrella plants are brown half-way to the base of their sword-like leaves, they are still alive and worthy of continued attention and care. I know that with judicial pruning, some plant food and lower temperatures they will have a rebirth and soon settle in – healthy and strong for the milder winter months.

It is with great pleasure that I notice the gentle breeze that cools my brow and plays a melody on the chimes. I survey the healthy green of the large jasmine bush and the heavenly bamboo that long ago sent their roots deep into the earth. They can easily withstand the summer heat and the cold of winter.

I realize that many of us also seek to anchor our trust and faith into something greater than we are that will sustain us and enable us to not only survive but to thrive despite the traumas, trials and tribulations of life.

For sentimental reasons, I always plant red Emperor tulip bulbs in pots and place them in a box of sawdust in the garage to prepare them for an early blooming period in a process known as “forcing.”

Each time the brilliant red tulips reach full bloom in the still-cold days of winter, I honor the many flowering plants that have “nursed” me through trying times in my life. They serve as gentle reminders to my yearning heart that spring will eventually burst forth once again in all of its full frolicking, rollicking and riotous splendor.

While surveying the ravages of summer on some of the plants, I realized I finally understand my late husband’s seemingly blasé approach to flower and vegetable gardening. As a master gardener as well as a practical person, he would give the seeds and sprouts all the tender loving care necessary for optimal growth and then say, “Shape up or ship out.”

He gave them every chance to survive, but when it became obvious that they weren’t going to make it – into the compost pile they went. I now find this not only a well-reasoned approach to the mysterious vagaries of plant survival, but to the choices we make in life. If our thoughts-decisions bring good results, excellent. If not, we uproot them and choose new ones.

I was initiated into the joys of gardening in childhood by my grandmothers and my favorite uncle, and my lifelong interest was matched by that of my late husband. They taught me that nature is the true language of our being, and that we can learn from it whatever we need to know about life.

The invitation is always there for us to draw near the bosom of nature. If we lean close and listen, we can hear the serenade of God, and know that we are part of Creation and one with all life – dissolving all fears.
Copyright 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peace Is Not Just the Absence of War

I recently had a rare opportunity, along with a number of others, to co-sponsor a speaking event featuring Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Indian spiritual and political leader Mahatma Gandhi, at the New Vision Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Center was jam-packed with people of all ages, and as Arun prepared to speak a hushed silence that spoke volumes descended on the gathering. It was a combination of the audience honoring his grandfather and acknowledging Arun as one of the most respected and influential figures in the international peace movement today. I also believe that we were all grateful, hopeful and relieved that he and others are still actively working on changing the culture of violence in our world.

In his introduction, Arun shared with us his early life in South Africa, where he daily experienced the injustices of apartheid, while his family was dedicated to nonviolent social reform. As a young man who was often beaten up and humiliated, he struggled to understand and embrace his family’s nonviolent response to racism and violence.

The anger this generated in Arun was a signal for his parents to send him to India to spend time with his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, during the most critical and tumultuous time in his grandfather’s efforts to free India from British rule.

Despite Mahatma Gandhi’s worldly concerns, India’s “Great Soul” set aside one hour each day for eighteen months for his grandson. During these times, he shared through stories and exercises his teachings on the aspects of nonviolence, truth, anger, humility, discipline, morality and spirituality.

The training Arun received from his grandfather, which he chronicled in his book, “Legacy of Love” would determine his future life as he came to understand and embrace his family’s response to racism and violence. He is a veteran writer-editor and author of eight books, as well as founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, which is located at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee where he is a scholar-in-residence.

Arun held the Scottsdale audience spellbound for two hour as he shared information on a variety of peace-related topics. For example, he followed the profound statement that “Peace is not the absence of war” with a remarkable insight into why most of us think of violence as only physical, therefore missing the awareness that we daily contribute to passive violence.

According to Arun, we do this in many oppressive and disrespectful ways, including gossiping, name calling, teasing and insulting, as well as venting our anger on others. He compared passive violence to gasoline and physical violence to fire, and indicated that passive violence is what fuels physical violence.

He further explained that passive violence generates anger because the victim isn’t aware of how to deal with anger positively, and the only known recourse to the victim is to resort to some form of physical violence.

Arun believes that as a result of society’s pervasive fear of anger, and its subsequent ignorance of how to utilize anger as a practical and constructive force, we are losing a vital opportunity to curb the culture of violence that permeates our world today.

As someone who was slow to learn about conflict resolution and using anger constructively, I agree. Now that I know that anger itself is a natural human emotion, I can use the powerful energy behind it to seek a constructive resolution. While conflict resolution is now being taught in some elementary schools across the nation, what we also urgently need is remedial training in anger management and conflict resolution for every adult in America.

I was also fascinated by this next bit of information: Arun’s parents never punished their children for any breaches of behavior; instead they themselves paid the penance. They believed that their children’s errors in judgment were an indication of their failure as parents in not teaching them the proper behavioral guidelines. Their penance often took the form of fasting and the time frame for going without food depended on the seriousness of the transgression.

I couldn’t help but think about my three adult offspring with children of their own and wonder how they would feel about this concept. I also thought long and hard about the amount of retroactive penance that would be required of me. I realized for certain that I would never have had to think about diets or weight loss ever again and I probably wouldn’t live long enough to complete the penance.

After seriously contemplating that thought, it wasn’t long before I realized that this concept goes hand in hand with modeling nonviolent responses for our children from the time they are born. After all, the punishment concept has not worked at any level of our culture, and it’s time we recognized this and chose a more enlightened way.

Since change of any type takes time and commitment, we need to realize that unless we are willing to change individually, there will never be a collective change. I feel a powerful quote from Arun Gandhi’s grandfather rising up: We have to be the change we wish to see.
Copyright 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available to readers from Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Time for Us to Grow Up and Become Mature Adults

Whenever I asked my late mother how she was feeling, she always replied – even in her ninth decade – that no matter her age, she felt the same inside as she did when she was a teenager. I admit that I also experienced that feeling most of my life, until an incident a few weeks ago.

I was at a large luncheon-book signing for my recently released book, and was photographed, as my mother would say, “Six ways from Sunday.” When I received a full set of the photos for publicity purposes, I had no alternative but to admit, “Well now, I am old.” Since in my family we tend to be totally grey by our forties, I had long since come to peace with my hair color. Also, I had decided years ago that how I lived was more important than resisting the natural aging process. But, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.

I was surprised by the extra poundage, the double chin and the wrinkles – in addition to the grey hair that now defined me externally. Naturally, I mourned the loss of youth, but I soon realized that I still felt the same way inside, which was a remarkable gift. I also knew immediately that this was a wake-up call.

There were two important messages I gleaned from this situation: First was the reality that life on Earth is not forever, and I had only an uncertain number of years left to complete my life’s purpose, for which I desired optimal health and well-being. This meant finally getting with the program and losing my laxity concerning diet, exercise and nutrition. And second, the sad realization that I had let so much of my precious time on Earth go by before I was motivated to grow up, look at my life and take full responsibility for it.

If you look around, you will notice that being a grownup and taking responsibility for our lives isn’t a well-known or widely practiced concept. This is due pretty much to the fact that we live in a society in which the prevailing thinking is that our needs should be met by others, such as our families, our mates, our doctors, our jobs or the government. The error in that thinking is that in order to buy into it, we must relinquish our power, becoming totally dependent on them or “it” to take care of our needs. This approach is diametrically opposed to growing into a mentally, emotionally and spiritually mature human being.

We are facing a critical point in human history with all the attendant anxiety, fear and uncertainties, and we’d all rather talk about something less foreboding; me too. But it is patently obvious that it is time for us to answer humanity’s evolutionary call to grow up. In order for us to safely and peacefully negotiate this time, we will need far more conscious, aware and mature adults.

How to do that in today’s world seemed a mystery until a number of visionary authors and speakers focused on this theme, and now millions of individuals around the globe have discovered the real and inherently natural way to grow into spiritually mature adults. And it has nothing to do with erasing wrinkles or liver spots. By turning within and connecting with the eternal and sublime energy within us, which we call God, we discover the source of unconditional love, peace, wisdom, guidance and support that is every person’s birthright and heart’s desire.

Once we align ourselves with this energy-wisdom, the natural maturation process is evoked and we are led to become grownup human beings, which has always been the evolutionary plan for humanity. We then automatically seek to create better lives and a better world.

It is up to us. We can be like Scarlett O’Hara and choose to think about all the changes and challenges tomorrow, which means hoping they will go away and we won’t have to think of them at all. Or, we can take the journey within, grow up, and help co-create a glorious future for ourselves, humanity and our planet. Time and tide wait for no man – or woman – whether we’re blessed with the bloom of youth or the symbols of wisdom and experience.
Copyright 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

[The information on how to connect with God can be found in the author’s book “The Heart Knows the Way,” and at www.FernStewartWelch.com.]

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available to readers from Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Holding Onto Our Humanity While Evolving Into the Future

Coping with change and letting go of the past is a great challenge for many of us. Most of us are aware that the natural course of creation-life is always toward growth and change. We also realize that humanity is still on an evolutionary path and we have not reached our final destination. Yet, we tend to conveniently ignore these facts and focus instead on whatever security money and power will buy to try to make our lives stable so that we feel safe.

It has become part of the human condition to yearn for a stability and security that will never be possible on a physical level. We live on a sphere that is hurtling through a space that is filled with mind-boggling mysteries.

This is the reason millions of people have hitched their hopes for the future on scientific advances. With today’s nanotechnology – the science of creating devices from single atoms and molecules – the belief is that eventually these high-tech scientific advances will unlock all the mysteries of the universe, solve all our problems and finally bring us security.

My immediate response is to ask how all the high technology we currently enjoy has helped us in creating a kinder, gentler, more peaceful, abundant and safer world for everyone. The answer is that it hasn’t. I also question the wisdom of trusting the future of humanity to nanotechnology. It seems the more high-tech we become the more we distance ourselves from our connection to nature, the Earth and each other and the more likely we are to lose touch with what truly makes us human.

I recently received an e-mail from a colleague with a list of current and expected nanotech developments that are so incredible that just reading the updated information was a stunning wake-up call. If these scientific advances are in our future, this means that in the coming decades – and definitely before the end of this century – life on Earth will no longer bear the slightest resemblance to that which we know now.

While I feel pride and excitement in the fact that science is resolving some of the mysteries of the universe, my concern is that humanity doesn’t yet have the awareness, integrity, vision or good sense to know how to gauge the long-term repercussions of implementing some of these discoveries. There are many instances that bear this out, but one that comes instantly to mind is this: the harnessing of atomic energy and the current global proliferation of nuclear weapons that could destroy the Earth.

Scientific advances and discoveries continue to outpace the conscious awareness of humanity – think cloning – and at a greatly accelerated rate. I wondered how we and our lagging psychology will ever catch up with this futuristic technology. My gut tells me that it will take something dramatic to awaken us to how fast the world is changing and how reluctant we are to acknowledge and prepare ourselves to cope with these awesome changes.

I believe that “something” is happening right now. We are in the throes of an incredible transformational time on Earth, and I believe we need help to successfully meet the evolutionary changes that are coming. This means, to me, that as human beings we need to make a basic change in our thinking as to how life on Earth really works.

Foremost in this is that we have bought into the popular belief that everything in life happens externally. The truth is that it is exactly the opposite. Life happens from within us out. By buying into the misperception we are left fearful and in a victim role, which makes us feel separate, alone and helpless. The only choice we have as passive victims is in how we react to whatever happens to us in life.

I don’t foresee any time in the future when we will be secure in our physical world because any one of a number of things could alter the Earth’s ability to sustain life. But there is another way to feel secure despite what changes the future may bring. Since I believe the awareness we need is always available to us if we’re willing to open to it, this is where I think we are being led.

By turning within and connecting with the eternal and sublime energy within us, which nanotechnology has irrevocably identified as the “basic building block of the universe,” we can reclaim our power and help co-create the future. The great sages and spiritual teachers have been telling us for many centuries that this is the path to creating better lives and a better world.

It does require that we relinquish the role of victims and accept that we are powerful spiritual beings having a human experience, and are willing to take responsibility for our lives and for the future of our planet. When we can do this, and consciously place ourselves in alignment and cooperation with the highest and best within us, we are part of the whole – all the love, peace, power, wisdom, guidance and support there ever was or ever will be.

Then, as conscious and aware human beings we will be able to help humanity transcend this transformational high-tech time of change in a way that is truly loving and humane. In the process, we can help humanity fulfill its destiny while retaining that which truly is one of the great gifts of being human – our low-tech feelings.
Copyright © 2009 Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books “Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and “The Heart Knows the Way”are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders – and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Serious Illness: When Families Pull Together or Pull Apart

I had a powerful e-mail response to a recent essay I posted titled “The Key to Living a Better Life and Dying a Better Death.” The woman writing to me described a challenging and “crazy-making” family health situation that any one of us could face in the future or perhaps have already experienced.

I wanted to write about this because having advance awareness of how and why such emotionally charged situations occur may help us avoid being part of the problem, and instead becoming part of the solution. Her account also confirms and underscores the need for and the importance of healing our own issues around illness and death and dying.

What she described was being in the middle of an emotional mine field, with each participant feeding off the others and seeking to vent what seemed like a lifetime of angry, unexpressed emotions. The main characters in the drama were her seriously ill father-in-law, a widower who lived alone and was in denial about his health, and his four adult sons who reside in different states. They had come home with their wives to help their father through yet another in a long list of medical crises.

The situation between the family members deteriorated into a standoff, which means nothing positive could happen. The underlying issues included: the patient’s anger and humiliation over losing control of his life; the brothers’ anger at the patient because he refused to take better care of himself, or go into a facility, and all the stress this had caused the family; concern about what their responsibilities might be in the future, including financial, and who would have to bear the biggest burden; guilt over not having been a “better son”; renewed mourning for their deceased mother, which was mixed with guilt over their negative emotion around their father’s life situation; and, finally, facing their own mortality.

Unbeknownst to all the participants, the emotionalism was exacerbated by two situations: First, everyone concerned was being forced to come face to face with their own issues and fears around illness and death and dying, and second, the individual reactions were indicative of the way in which they normally responded to stressful situations.

This isn’t out of the ordinary. Some individuals facing a loved one’s serious illness, whether or not they have fully resolved their feelings about death and dying can take a calm, rational approach and decide what action to take. Some choose denial so they don’t have to do anything about the problem. Others let it all hang out in a torrent of anger, blame, fear, frustration, sadness and guilt or shame.

This is still part of the painful pulling apart that often comes before the desired pulling together toward helping a loved one get the help s/he needs to heal or to make a peaceful transition.

Take heart, because good does come from this. After releasing a lot of deep-seated and heated emotions, present and past, the brothers finally came together enough to get their resisting and angry parent to the hospital.

As the days progressed, the brothers were still dealing with their own internal issues, but they began to frame their comments to each other in the still edgy, but more acceptable sarcasm-tinged-with-humor they had honed as teenagers. In between chasing down hospital doctors to try to get the facts about their father’s condition, they found time to talk about their current lives, to recall their growing up years, their parents and, in essence, to renew family bonds.

After a week of medical testing and much-needed treatment, it was determined that the patient could be released to his home, if he agreed to be seen on a regular basis by other healthcare specialists.

The pulling apart was over. They were pulling together in a common cause. There was a new level of camaraderie, caring, pride and trust in each other as family members. This change had a positive effect on each brother and even the uncooperative patient, who now showed some interest in taking an active role in looking after his health.

Meanwhile, the wives cleaned their father-in-law’s house and stocked the cupboards and the refrigerator with healthful food. The brothers took turns standing vigil at the hospital and being outspoken advocates for their father. They also organized his business papers and gathered information that would help them help him assure his future care and well-being.

The moral of this story is that no matter what we have to go through to get there – to face and/or rise above our own issues – the goal is to be able to pull together to help a fellow human being through a challenging life passage. When we can do that, then no matter what eventually happens, we can know we did our best and there is nothing more we or anyone else can ask of us. And there’s not a better feeling than that.
Copyright © 2009 Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders – and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Winds of Change Are No Longer Whispering

Unless someone has been living in a cave, it is impossible not to know that this is a time of great and powerful transformational change.

Our world is in turmoil, and faces economic, environmental and global challenges. It is also a time when fear is at an all-time high, and honesty, integrity, truth and compassion for others are at an all-time low.

This means it is time for far more conscious and aware human beings to step up and help ensure that the changes we face in our lives occur in a peaceful and orderly manner instead of through destruction, disruption and upheaval.

I believe we have reached the point in the continuing evolution of humanity where we’ve learned enough from suffering and pain, and that we must do whatever it takes to move beyond this stage and grow into more observant and mindful human beings.

What we really need to learn right now is how to take care of ourselves and each other no matter what changes bring, and to choose positive actions that will ensure a better future for us, others and the world.

We can do this by turning within and taking control of our lives, which we positively have the power to do. It is time to remember that each one of us is a spiritual being having a human experience and that we are individual expressions of the universal life force/energy/God – whatever you choose to call it – that permeates us and everything in the cosmos.

The truth is we are being challenged to let go of our present way of life because it isn’t working. Our reality has been focused on the external world and seeking happiness and fulfillment through material success, which leaves us feeling like victims – separate, empty and helpless.

We are being called to turn from our focus on the external, which keeps us shackled in fear, and to open to the higher consciousness-intelligence-love that is within us.

We are either in love or in fear – we can’t be in both at the same time. As we use the power of our minds to keep an open heart, this cancels out fear. Fear blocks action and the ability to reason. When we use the power of our minds to maintain an open heart and to focus on positive feelings such as love, appreciation, compassion and kindness we transform our energy to a higher evolutionary level.

As we do that, we are automatically led to live from higher standards of compassion, honesty, integrity and truth. We are then transformed within ourselves, which strongly impacts those around us and the world.

Each of us has an unspoken need to know there is still good in the world and still individuals who care and perform incredibly selfless heroic deeds that inspire and uplift us and give us hope that nurtures the human spirit.

Here’s one such heroic story that I witnessed firsthand: One of my dear friends, the late Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the internationally known death and dying icon, died five years ago this month. Elisabeth’s legacy was her incredible capacity for caring, which allowed her to become a global force for change. She almost single-handedly brought death and dying out of the Dark Ages and into the light of reason and compassion, fueled healthcare reform, founded hospice in America and elevated the consciousness of humanity

She was one person. Imagine what we can do to ensure positive change in our lives and in the world by turning within and aligning with the power and loving guidance within us. As we take control and use the power of our minds to move from fear to fearless, we gain freedom and inner security – the only real security there is.
Copyright © 2009 Fern Stewart Welch

[For additional insights, go to http://www.fernstewartwelch.com/, click on How-to Lists at the top, then click on “Connect with God,” to read the article and learn how to connect with your inner guidance.”]

“Tea with Elisabeth,” “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” are all available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders – and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Book Reveals the Controversial and Heroic Woman Who Changed the Way the World Views Death and Dying

Muhammad Ali described Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – the world-renowned “death and dying lady” – as a champion of life. Dr. Caroline Myss characterized her as one of the most courageous souls of our era. I called her my friend.

Elisabeth was the Swiss-born physician, author and lecturer whose compassionate and heroic efforts against great odds led to health-care reform, patients’ rights, the relief of end-of-life suffering, the proliferation of hospice in the U.S., and humanity’s search for greater awareness of how to deal with long-term illnesses and the death process itself.

In 1999, Elisabeth was named one of the “Greatest Minds” of the century by TIME Magazine, and the New York City Public Library named her seminal book, “On Death and Dying,” one of the greatest literary works of the twenty-first century. She authored more than 20 books that were published in 27 languages, were read by millions, and used in colleges and universities and as required textbooks in medical schools around the world.

Elisabeth sparked world-wide controversy with her groundbreaking approach – putting the rights of patients and their families first – and threatened a medical establishment that was entrenched in the age-old taboos and fears that still surrounded death and dying. Initially dismissed by physicians and the media as “the death and dying lady,” she was attacked both personally and professionally. But she never gave up or gave in, showing a tenacious resolve that did not surprise those who shared her dramatic and revolutionary journey.

At the time of her death, almost five years ago, I was writing a tribute for Elisabeth’s memorial service, and the full concept of a book presented itself to me along with the title, “Tea with Elisabeth.” Elisabeth was fond of the civilized ritual of “taking tea” and it was an essential element of a visit with her. Being an author and writer, I didn’t hesitate to seek out stories from those who knew her, but I also realized I would need the assistance of Ken Ross, Elisabeth’s son, and a mutual friend, Rose Winters. They agreed immediately. It was our goal to present a more complete and human picture of this world icon – the real-life dynamic, fun-loving, vibrant and fully dimensional woman we knew and loved.

“Tea with Elisabeth” features 51 revealing, soul-stirring and sometimes humorous essays from contributors that include Muhammad Ali; Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York; Marianne Williamson; Doreen Virtue; Raymond Moody; J. Donald Schumacher; Bernie Siegel; Stephen Levine; Dame Cicely Saunders and Caroline Myss; as well as family members and friends.

Elisabeth died on August 24, 2004 in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she had lived for the last ten years of her life. She was mourned by the millions of people she touched with her books, lectures and compassionate ministrations, as well as by the multitude of doctors, nurses, aides, caregivers and hospice workers who continue her legacy.

We are overjoyed that our labor of love – “Tea with Elisabeth” – is now available in English at all the traditional online and retail establishments in the U.S. German and Japanese editions are already in print.

Note* For Arizona residents, the three co-authors will be signing books on August 20, 2009, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Barnes & Noble on 90th St. and Shea Boulevard, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Copyright © 2009 Fern Stewart Welch

The author is the executive editor and co-author of “Tea with Elisabeth.” This title, as well as “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” and ‘The Heart Knows the Way,” are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Key to Living A Better Life and Dying a Better Death

I have a dear friend whose adult son is facing life threatening health problems. I am deeply touched once again by an all-too familiar scene, in which each family member’s unresolved emotional issues, fears and frustrations have popped up and taken precedence over the opportunity to help their loved one and each other have a loving experience.

As a former hospice volunteer, and someone who assisted two siblings, my parents and my husband on their last life journeys, I have seen this experience from one extreme to the other and pretty much everything in between. Some individuals and families go through such hellish and emotionally painful anger, bitterness, denial, grief, guilt, as well as stress and strain that it overwhelms the process and often negatively taints the rest of their lives. Others somehow manage to have a sublime loving and spiritually enlightened experience for themselves and their loved one.

Since I was ten years old, and my best friend described her grandmother’s death in a way that I had never thought possible, I have sought an answer to how the latter is achieved – as well as an opportunity to live such a blessed experience with a loved one.

When my beloved husband became ill and I realized he was beginning the process that would end in death, something within me knew this was that time. Armed with the support of my dear friend, the international death and dying icon Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and full book-knowledge of her lifework, I set an unwavering intention to help my husband through the death process in a way that was more loving and more spiritually enlightened.

But that was much easier said than accomplished. After many months of frustration and failure that resulted in emotional exhaustion, I reached out to Elisabeth and she encouraged me to turn within to seek inner guidance. She also told me to “Follow your heart, Fern. Your heart knows the way.” In desperation I did turn within, and I was led to a much deeper connection with my inner guidance, God.

I subsequently received the support and guidance I needed to heal some of my own unresolved issues – emotional baggage – as well as the fears I held around death and dying. By following the guidance, I was then able to be fully present for my husband on all levels, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

This transformed my experience from one of intense sadness, frustration, doubt, fear and emotional exhaustion, to one of clarity, confidence, love and peace, which translated to our mutual joy and a deep, satisfying soul connection with my husband that remained constant throughout the process. What we lived was diametrically opposed to what many people experience in facing the death of a loved one. It also changed my life forever.

After my husband’s death, I was guided to allow the full mourning and grieving, as this would preclude any lingering sadness. This was absolutely true, and within the first year I realized that I was left with a great inner peace, a joyous anticipation of the future and a reaffirmation of life.

I shared the lessons I learned and all the events surrounding the lengthy decline and death of my beloved husband in my first book “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within.” Since Elisabeth asked to read the manuscript before it was published, she gave the book her highest commendation and a wonderful endorsement.

I am so grateful to Elisabeth. I know that it was her lifework and support that inspired me to do what my soul knew was possible and to be fully present for my husband in a way that blessed us both and fulfilled my heart’s desire.

The insights I gained taught me that death is not meant to be the most feared life event, which is what tears many families apart when faced with such a situation. It is meant to be a sacred life passage that celebrates the continuity of life. The key to opening to that conscious awareness lies in coming to grips with our own unresolved life issues, as well as our fears surrounding death and dying. Once we clear our own emotional baggage and fears, the gift we receive is multi-faceted. We are then able to be fully present for a loved one when they face debilitating illness or death. We are also free to live a more meaningful and fulfilled life, and thus to die a better death.
Copyright © 2009 Fern Stewart Welch

The author conceived and served as executive editor and co-author of the recently released book “Tea with Elisabeth,” which is a tribute to the incredible life work of the late Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. This title and Welch’s earlier books are available at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, as well as through bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders – and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What to Do When the Biggest Block to Our Happiness ... Is Us

I am a writer – a creative person – by profession and, I freely acknowledge, a highly sensitive person by nature. From what I know, this isn’t an out-of-the ordinary personality combination. What this has meant to me in everyday life is that kind words are like sunshine to a flower. And, conversely, any negative energy directed my way is like a physical blow, which can cause my energy to plummet along with my sense of self.

In the past, when the latter happened, I would dip into a victim mode that was as familiar as an old tape that had been replayed many, many times. My subconscious instantly sent out a message that said: Here it is again! Send her the same emotional responses. It didn’t matter what happened, when conflict arose, the result was the same. The situation automatically triggered all the bad thoughts I’d ever had about myself which confirmed that I was unworthy and unlovable. Then up came the same old feelings that ranged from anger, blame, grief and sadness to a sense of helplessness. The feelings were so powerful at times that it was impossible to focus on anything else.

Thankfully, I’ve learned that the emotional angst and pain we go through at those times is a message from our soul pushing us to learn a more healthful response and to grow through the issue. I also believe that when the same challenges occur repeatedly, we’re being told that this is an important lesson and we will continue attracting similar experiences until we learn the lesson and move beyond it.

As part of my desire to grow through this specific lesson, I adopted a process that has helped many people in similar situations. The key is to have a behavior program in place that supports us on all levels and sets the stage for success every day. The primary step is to start each morning with a 20 minute meditation. This centers us and balances our body, mind and spirit. If meditation isn’t desirable, we simply set our intention, go within, close our eyes and sit in silence. Focusing on a single word such as love, peace, joy, harmony or happiness often helps calm the mind. The important thing is to switch our focus from the external world and to get in touch with our inner selves, which is the starting place for everything that shows up in our lives.

Next, since it is fairly typical in our culture to view our lives as insignificant and our selves as unworthy of good, it is important that we consistently feed into our subconscious positive affirmations/statements that honor and value our worth. Each time we do this, it sets up a desired pattern in our subconscious that supports and increases our life force-energy. Those you write for yourself will be more powerful as they engage your energy, but here are some examples: I am enough. I am worthy. I love myself. I am peace. I am love. I am kindness. I am powerful.

No matter how simple and unimportant our life contributions may seem to us, every single thing we do is part of our sacred and heroic journey to fulfill our life purpose. Whether it is being a loving parent, being kind to others or showing up at a job every day to support our families, it is important and has meaning and worth. We must keep a ready list in our minds of our positive characteristics and traits and recall them often so that we are consistently supporting our core self instead of subconsciously sabotaging our sense of self and blocking our good.

Another good thing to recall often is that one of the rules of living on Earth is learning lessons and growing through life instead of just going through it. We are spiritual beings born into this life to have a human experience. This means we are not only inherently good – we are born with the power to create the lives we desire. What we create in the external world, and whether it is desirable or undesirable, lets us know if our life force is high or low and how successfully we are managing it.

If we continue to become conscious and aware of our life force-energy and to maintain it at a higher level, we find that undesirable situations aren’t popping up as often. When they do come up, we recognize them for the gift they are, another opportunity to grow, which is the only reason we are here. And what an incredible and desirable change – from unconsciously blocking our own happiness to being part of the solution.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author served as executive editor and co-author of the recently-released book, “Tea with Elisabeth.” Her other books include: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within.” All are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How We Create Lives That Work For Us ... With a Minimum of Angst

A number of years ago, I attended a board meeting for a national charitable organization, during which we voted unanimously to hold an ambitious first-of-its kind fundraising event. The chairperson then struck the gavel, emphasizing the finality of the decision, and invoked this phrase with great authority – And So It Is! Her knowing smile radiated confidence that the results for the charity would be exactly as planned.

Naturally, I was intrigued by this group’s attitude and confidence, and even more so when a few minor glitches came up along the way and they were welcomed “not as obstacles” but as opportunities to fine tune our mental focus. Not only was our event a success, the net income raised was the highest of any affiliated charity across the nation and would significantly benefit people in need around the world. I didn’t understand then how they managed to achieve such success, but now I do.

Evidently, someone in that organization was familiar with the Law of Attraction, like attracts like, which, thanks to Oprah and others, the whole world is beginning to understand. The Law of Attraction is a mental law and means we attract to us whatever dominates our thoughts. If our thoughts are predominantly positive, this is what manifests in our lives, and obviously the opposite is true. The good news is that when things don’t turn out to our liking, we can change our thoughts and change our lives.

When I recalled the process the board followed, I realized it pretty much mirrored the method millions of us are using in our lives today. We identify our heart’s desire/goal, being sure it takes from and harms no one, which places it in alignment with universal good; do whatever we are led to do in the physical realm to make it happen; monitor our thoughts to keep them positive and focused on the goal; accept that our desire/goal will be fulfilled and release it by using a spiritual phrase such as And So It Is, Amen or Bless It or Block It!

The challenge that I still have at times, and I suspect many others do also, is in rushing through the “identifying our heart’s desire/goal” stage in order to hurry up and get to the “expecting it to manifest part.” This usually means that the desire/goal we do select is superficial and doesn’t resonate within us. We will inevitably lose interest in the desire/goal and forget all about focusing on something that holds no meaning for us. Obviously the undesirable situation will remain unchanged.

When we are faced with any undesirable situation in our lives, it is important to remember that we set it up ourselves to teach us something. The disappointment, hurt and pain we experience at those times is part of the lesson and is meant to get our attention. We will know we are making progress when we can stop resisting the feelings and start asking ourselves the question – What am I to learn from this?

Asking this question places us on the path to learning to know our beliefs, which create our thoughts, and by knowing our thoughts we can change them if they aren’t appropriate. Only then do we have a real chance to create our heart’s desires.

As we come to truly know ourselves – and learn to grow through instead of just going through life – our lives work. We do not have problems in relationships with others, we do not have a poverty consciousness, and we do not set ourselves up to be victims who are abused, dumped on, lied to, rejected or ripped off. We are not bored, depressed, fearful, frustrated, tired of life or unhappy.

The purpose of life is to learn to objectively look at the situations we create for ourselves so that we can change our limiting beliefs/thoughts, and realize that we were born to follow the path of learning and growing. This takes us to a higher level of consciousness and understanding, which has the power to transform our lives and the world. This is how we learn our true heart’s desires, set positive goals and create the joyous and effortless lives we were born to live.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

A couple I have known for a long time, but see only every few years came to town recently and we had dinner together. They described to me a situation with another acquaintance in which they were unable to comfortably differ even slightly with this person because he “is into making a huge emotional deal out of everything and always becomes aggressive and disagreeable.”

I resonated with this all-too-familiar experience and realized that the couple were obviously not skilled in conflict resolution, and therefore tend to avoid conflict of any kind at all costs. I know. I lived that way during my first marriage, which was seriously impacted by a fear of conflict, as was my later corporate career. I remember when as a supervisor, I had to let employees go. Inevitably one of two extremes resulted: If I was too soft and kind, some actually thought they were getting a raise; and if I was matter-of fact and strong, they would become angered and vent their anger at the situation on me.

In reality, I think most of us are in awe of those who can deliver or accept criticism without negative results and who can field negative comments about race, politics or religion with graceful honesty and integrity. As much as we longingly admire those abilities, there are millions of us who don’t possess them but would still like to feel free to say what we really think without the fear of having our faces chewed off. I now believe that people who come on aggressively and disagree by being disagreeable are bullies who also lack skills in conflict resolution and want to assure that others back off in the face of their opinions.

I have learned that the key element in healthfully expressing disagreements is respect. When we respect ourselves first, then we are capable of respecting other people, their opinions and their value as human beings. Unfortunately, we live in an age of disrespect that defines and diminishes our daily lives.

All we have to do to get a taste of this is to read a few of those politically biased e-mails that make the rounds. Occasionally, if I trust the sender, I start to read one and am often so disappointed. Not only does the writer disagree with anyone else’s political views, they question that person’s patriotism, their right to life, pronounce them devoid of any redeeming value, consider them among the ugliest people on Earth and offer sympathy to their spouses for being saddled with them.

This excessive ranting via e-mails says a lot about the lack of respect that is prevalent in our country today. It also points up the barely repressed anger that exists in so many people and is irresponsibly stoked and supported by some talking heads in the media. What this situation tells us is that it is more vital than ever that we learn to manage the normal conflicts that arise in our personal and professional relationships for our own well-being and that of our fellow citizens.

Here are some practical insights I gleaned from surfing the Internet for Web sites that concern conflict resolution. Healthy conflict resolution depends on: Being well aware of our needs and beliefs so that we aren’t overwhelmed in a confrontation; being able to stay calm and control our emotions and our behavior; paying attention to how the other person feels as well as their words and actions, as much is communicated nonverbally; and staying aware of and respectful of differences; and avoiding disrespectful words and actions.

It is also important to recognize and respond to what is important, and to use humor and playfulness when it isn’t. We need to maintain a willingness to forgive and forget; seek compromises and avoid punishment; and know that conflict resolution supports the best interest of all and strengthens any relationship. When resolution fails, agree to disagree and move on – allow the other person to be the other person and not a reflection of yourself.

Our lives are defined by a fast-paced, high-powered and high-tech culture that is changing fast and filled with great uncertainties. The stress that results makes it challenging to maintain relationships with colleagues, family members and friends. To do more than survive, we will need a generation of people who can resolve conflict by disagreeing without being disagreeable and get on with much-needed problem solving.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

There's No Such Thing as Failure!

I received a number of e-mails commenting on a prior essay titled “Today Is the First Day of the Best Years of Your Life!” Each one said in so many words that s/he loved knowing there is no such thing as “failure.” That point didn’t occur to me when I was writing the piece because it wasn’t my focus, but my discerning readers are absolutely correct.

Here is the paragraph that gave them that insight and was the inspiration for this essay: The truth is that we are always successful. No matter what we are experiencing right now, we created it. If it’s really bad, and our life is filled with negativity and lack, just think how really skilled we are at creating such undesirable stuff. The good news is that we have the power and the ability right now to turn that around and start creating the lives we truly desire.

That is true! If our current life resembles a series of unfortunate events, it is time to embrace the fact that by changing our thoughts we can change our lives. Actually the thought of how successful we are at creating a miserable life can stand us in good stead. We can use it as a benchmark. Our ability to create a life we didn’t desire is exactly the same ability we will use to consciously create a much better life. The choice is really a no-brainer, but the how-to requires a little effort.

First of all, the desire for change has to be real, strong and deep. The “undesirable stuff” must no longer be desirable in any way, shape or form. Negative thoughts can create deep grooves in our subconscious and some have been around a long time. These long-forgotten negative thoughts determine our lives. We must work at releasing these hidden thoughts and beliefs, which have become powerful, and continue until they no longer take priority over our current positive desires.

When we are really ready for true change, the core of our being will resonate with this desire and actually work with us to bring about the change. This is soul work.

It is also a fact that at the deepest part of us, many people don’t think they deserve good. So it is vital to do some forgiveness work for ourselves and others. Here’s a tried and true technique that works and should be repeated daily as often as possible and with resolve: I freely and wholly forgive myself for any real or imagined wrong I have done to me, or 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!

It is also necessary to find out what we really do desire in our lives. We have been thinking negatively for a long time, and it will take some inner thought and reflection to dig down deep and find out what it is we truly desire.

To do that, take a piece of paper and designate two columns at the top, one titled: What I Want in My Life and the other What I Don’t Want in My Life. We work with these until we move past any pie-in-the-sky syndrome [like being the first person to live on the moon] and start connecting with our true inner selves. Once we identify what we truly want and it does not take from anyone or harm anyone else, we are ready for the next step, which is clearing out invalid thoughts, beliefs and life patterns.

Here are three wonderful statements to repeat with great resolve as often as possible: I now willingly release any belief, need or pattern in my subconscious that creates resistance to my good on any level. I now willingly release any belief, need or pattern in my subconscious that holds onto the past. I now willingly release any belief, need or pattern in my subconscious that creates an imbalance in my physical body.

Only after all of that is it time to place into our subconscious mind the desires that resonate within our hearts and minds and to repeat them until they manifest in our life experience. Write out your own, as your words will be more meaningful to you, but here are some examples. Please note that they focus on the now rather than in the future, which always places them out of reach: I now accept good into my life. I now accept love, health, prosperity, wisdom, peace, joy and harmony in my life. I now accept the_______ into my life that I have always desired. And So It Is!

There truly is no such thing as failure! We always succeed. Whether what we create in our lives is desired or undesirable depends entirely on the choices we make each day. It is up to us!
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Our Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

My teenage grandson’s birthday is fast approaching, and while I have some gifts for him, I find myself wanting to share so much more than material items wrapped in colorful paper. He is a fine young man, yet I know he will be tested many times before his brain fully matures – which scientists now say doesn’t happen until age twenty-five. This is why it is vitally important that he have a solid base of ethics, morals and values that will guide him safely and successfully throughout his life.

He has a good sense of what is right and wrong, but I am acutely aware that our collective senses have been numbed by a culture that has gone off track and created an atmosphere that challenges the successful survival of America’s young people.

Many of us know that the only path to inner peace, success and true and lasting happiness comes from having conscious values that we cling to as if our lives depend upon it; which if we desire good, honorable and successful lives, they do.

People my age grew up knowing what was right and what was wrong: It was black and white and obvious. The values we learned were backed up at school, among our peers, in our communities, churches and also in a very unlikely, but very effective venue – the local movie theater via the Saturday matinees for youngsters.

Cowboy movies reached their peak of popularity in the decades between the 1940s and the 1960s. There were dozens of actors who became famous starring in what became known as “oaters.” Each movie had a plot that was simple and basic, and the good guys always wore white hats and always triumphed.

I remember Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger, so just for fun I Googled “Cowboy Code of Ethics.” Much to my surprise, there was a Web site with formal Codes of Honor for some of these cowboy stars. Basically, the Codes cover what we were taught as children: “Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal and don’t be lazy,” with emphasis on such virtues as being kind and gentle to children, the elderly and animals; respect for women, parents and our country’s laws; and to never take unfair advantage of anyone.

Obviously, the reason cowboys have been our heroes for so long is because they embody the basic values we cherish and wish were still prevalent in our nation today. It is no surprise that two of our most beloved movie stars, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, gained fame as clean-living, straight-talking cowboys who stood for truth, justice and the American way.

This is the foundation we desire for all of America’s youth, as this will enable them to think for themselves and give them the courage to withstand the toxic messages and temptations of our current culture. We just need to make sure they are exposed to these values at home and supported in as many areas of their lives as possible.

Fortunately there are still wonderful books and stories for youngsters to read, as well as movies that embrace the same virtues and values as the cowboys of yesteryear. The challenge is that some of the characters’ names are foreign to us, and we don’t have a clue as to the values they represent.

When I mentioned a few unfamiliar names to my grandson, he assured me that although there’s not a cowboy among them; Gandalf, Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Yoda and Han Solo champion the same heroic values.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nature: A Remedy for What Ails Us

The serious challenges facing us and our country now make this the perfect time to take a break from the crazy-making reality of the external world. It appears as if we have fallen down the rabbit hole and nothing seems to be as it should. We desperately need to seek healthy, sane and wise answers that will help us calmly negotiate the rocky road ahead, and which will ultimately help heal our country and the world.

But the truth is that these answers will never come from the chaos and fear that surround us. They will come only from within us by listening to our own inner guidance, the true compass for meaningful and successful lives.

While there are many ways in which we can connect with our inner knowing, spending time in nature is the easiest and most accessible path for many people. Here we find a nurturing space that holds the antidote that can counteract the poison of today’s world of double standards and double-dealing. Nature is, above all else, incapable of deceit, dishonesty or hypocrisy.

In nature’s sincere, pure simplicity lies the opportunity to reconnect with the true values in life: honesty, integrity, love and kindness and caring for others and the Earth.

Some of the older generation can remember when their parents, grandparents and great grandparents were in such close communion with nature that they could “read” the signals in the skies and predict the weather and the ebb and flow of seasonal changes. We need to return to that primordial respect and reverence for nature.

When we lost this closeness, we also lost our innate awareness of how we fit into the natural order of life on Earth. We feel this loss of connection as a fear, and desperately seek to cover it up by continually focusing on the busyness of the external world. Yet no matter how hard we push ourselves or what ridiculous levels of activity we aspire to and attain, the feeling of being alone and disconnected never goes away.

As we spend time in nature, however, we feel our wholeness in the well-ordered cycles, and sense our oneness with life throughout the cosmos. We also experience inner peace because Mother Nature does not judge us, and this helps us renew our trust in life.

Our distant ancestors knew of the healing power in nature. They would often take those who were ill or emotionally distraught into the forests so that the powerful energy in the trees would soak up any confused energy, which calmed them and hastened their healing. This gives new meaning to free-standing urgent care centers.

As nature is the true language of our being it speaks to us at a soul level through beauty and the intelligent order of the universe. It reminds us that we are one with all life and a vital part of the whole. Reawakening to these truths is the true path to inner peace and the remedy for what ails us, society and our planet.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Today Is the First Day of the Best Years of Your Life

This twist on a well-known expression wafted into my consciousness about nine months ago and has taken up permanent residence: Today Is the First Day of the Best Years of Your Life! The fact that the emphasis was on the word “your” is probably why the statement caught my attention as it didn’t seem to come from me as much as being directed to me.

As the months passed, and I began using the declarative “promise” as a daily affirmation, I realized that no phrase could have captured more perfectly my desire for a continuing joyous anticipation of the future. These words never failed to fill my heart with joy and my mind with a child-like expectation of good. The knowing that they could be self-fulfilling made me smile, as they ignited my imagination. While a child’s idea of a special gift usually conjures up thoughts of material things, hard-won wisdom has taught me to value that which is loving, kind, meaningful and soul-worthy. I was hooked.

Recently I have been moved to share this positive statement with some friends who are going through dire circumstances. One individual, the father of five, had just lost his job; a woman was diagnosed with cancer; and another woman who had nursed her husband until his death now faced the sad prospect of going through the rest of her life alone.

With no conscious forethought, I just softly dropped this seed into our conversations: Today Is the First Day of the Best Years of Your Life. It took a few minutes for it to sink in, but their energy shifted and a subtle change was evident in each person. I believe this positive declaration holds something wonderful for all of us if we are open to the possibilities inherent within the fullness of its meaning. Of course the choices we make each day will determine whether the seed takes root and grows into the full reality of the promise.

I realize that no matter how difficult our life circumstances may seem the truth is that the point of power is within us to make a choice at any time to change our thoughts and to change our lives. It is true that as we think, so we are, and it is done unto us as we believe.

I know this is true because in the past I didn’t know that I had any control over my life or my thoughts, so I was stuck in the victim role. This continued for several decades until I embraced the philosophy that what we think and feel today determines our tomorrows. That is the solution, the remedy: Pure and simple.

The truth is that we are always successful. No matter what we are experiencing right now, we created it. If it’s really bad, and our life is filled with negativity and lack, just think how really skilled we are at creating such undesirable stuff. The good news is that we have the power and the ability right now to turn that around and start creating the lives we truly desire.

Today Is the First Day of the Best Years of Your Life. Live it and pass it on!
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Flowers Speak the Language of Love

In the desert city where I live, flowers have been bursting forth in all their multihued glory for several months. As usual, I prepared for this and for the even greater extravagant display of summer by doing the necessary work in my small patio garden. Once again I am feeling the joy of being in harmony with the cycles of nature.

When I was a child, there were so many farms and so many people involved in agriculture that many of us had relatives who were dependent on Mother Nature for their livelihood. Today the majority of people are urban dwellers, and I realize that life is so fast-paced in our global culture that nature is becoming less and less important in our lives. The great sadness is that when we forget our natural connection with the Earth, we miss out on a vital part of what makes us human.

I still believe that no matter how removed we are from the soil, something within us responds automatically when we sense the changing of seasons. In the spring, it may be noticing the first flowers bursting forth – or it may simply be an inner knowing that once again something mystical and magical and beyond our ken is happening deep within the Earth. Yet in that fleeting moment, we are reconnected to the Earth and grounded in the truth that we are one with everyone and everything on this planet.

Each time I begin the prescribed gardening chores, the welcome ritual is enough to bring forth a rush of cherished memories. I realize that nature and specifically flowers have always been a special part of my life.

I remember once again the rainbow-like Japanese flower gardens that stretched as far as a child’s eyes could see. My family drove to the outskirts of our city often to share this stunning vista with visiting relatives and to buy huge bouquets of delicate sweet peas and stately stock that had such a strong aroma I had to hold my head out the car window for relief.

When I was in my early teens, an entire hillside around a lovely mansion was seeded with African daisies every year. As they reached full bloom, the wide swath of color was not only a beautiful sight; it also heralded summer – which was enough to set our imaginations on fire with expectations of adventures to be savored.

As I grew up, there were always flowers to mark special occasions, like my first corsage for a school dance, then proms, birthdays and a wedding, followed by anniversary bouquets. I also vividly remember that when my son and daughters were small they would pick anything that resembled a flower and present it to me with bright shining faces and open hearts.

When my first marriage was breaking up, flowers helped me get through that sad period. I lived in the Pacific Northwest at that time. While it was still snowy and cold outside, I planted some Red Emperor tulip bulbs in pots, put them in a large cardboard box, covered them with straw and placed them in a dark corner of the garage.

Weeks later, when the first pale little shoots began to push through the straw, I took the pots out, gave them a little water and placed them on the covered back patio on the west side of the house. As the stalks shot up to about eight inches, I noticed that in seeking to follow the light, they would start to grow in that direction instead of straight up. This meant that each day I had to remember to rotate the pots a number of times so that the tulips would grow straight. I approached this duty seriously and with great caring, as it was a blessed respite from thinking of other things.

Later, when the tulips began to open, it was such a boost to my sagging spirits that I cried. Not only did I have unseasonably early tulips, but in contrast to the dreary, rainy days, their magnificent red color reminded me that the cycle of life – birth, death and change – continue to go on in a wonderful and ordered way and we can depend on it. The stalks were also ram-rod straight and strong. I spent many a healing hour with a steaming mug of tea in hand contemplating the sheer beauty and perfection of God in nature.

Several years later when I was taking a divorce recovery class, we were asked to write out our desires for our future life. Since one of my lifelong wishes was to have fresh floral bouquets all through my house, I wrote that I wanted a life filled with love, light and flowers.

Over time I did heal and find real love and lasting happiness. I believe it was divine synchronicity that my second husband also loved music, nature, gardening and flowers.

He is no longer here, but when I am seated in the patio swing sipping a cup of Earl Grey, I remember the love we shared for each other, music and nature. I sense his presence in the warm breeze that plays a melody on the wind chimes, in the flowers, and in the butterflies, hummingbirds, quail and rabbits that frequent the garden – all evidence of God’s love made visible.

Someone once said that to those who love, unrelenting time grants a thousand summers. I would humbly add, and a thousand flowers blooming in their hearts.
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Now's the Time to Ask the Big Question: Are You Being You?

I recently read an intriguing book called “Let Your Life Speak,” by Parker J. Palmer, in which he relates a Hasidic tale with a profound message: “Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man, said: ‘In the coming world, they will not ask me: Why were you not Moses? They will ask me: Why were you not Zusya?’”

This caused me to reflect on several things. First it seems to be part of the human condition to try to hide our real selves and pretend to be something we’re not. And second, the truth is that for much of my life I tried to cobble together who I was by taking my cue from whatever I was doing in the external world. It was only in the past several decades, that I slowed down enough to begin asking the universal questions: Who am I, why am I here on Earth and what is my life’s purpose?

I recalled that even as a young girl of 10, I knew intuitively that there was something within me striving to express, I just couldn’t connect with whatever it was. It would take many more years before I became aware of the life I was born to experience and then to free myself from invalid beliefs and to start living it. As it was, I lived in survival mode a lot of the time and in what I now call living by default instead of by design. This meant that my only choice involved how to respond to whatever happened to me.

Through a great deal of contemplation and introspection, I finally learned that the eternal and sublime energy that is within everyone and everything, which I call God, is also in me. And like a wave is part of the ocean but not all of it, I possess the same characteristics and sublime qualities. When I accepted that I was an individualized expression of this energy-intelligence-love-God, I began to grasp the truth of myself and started focusing on creating good in my life.

As a natural part of choosing to open to this fuller concept of life, I soon realized that the reason I am here on Earth is to open to growing through life and learning the lessons instead of just going through it. In this way, I can learn to express life as the one and only real me, which results in joy and happiness for me and makes the world a better place by my having been born.

The big challenge for me was in finding my life’s unique purpose, and I was in angst over this quest for many years. During this time, I also realized that this is the question that undoes so many people. I believe that much of the great unhappiness in the world, the depression, the abuse of drugs and generalized soul-sickness is directly linked to not seeking, not finding and not understanding our reason for being.

I sought my life purpose in the business world and discovered it wasn’t there. Immediately after the short-lived “high” I would get from earning more money or receiving an award, the deep longing within me would always return. I bless those experiences now, for they were what keep me seeking. I also learned that I am a highly sensitive person, and that while I had the intellectual capacity to continue pursuing success in the corporate sector, I often found myself in situations that emotionally and spiritually were not compatible with my soul.

It was during my beloved husband’s lengthy decline that I decided to withdraw from the external world to seek a more loving and enlightened way in which to assist him on his last life journey. In the desperation of the situation, I turned within to the innermost core of my being seeking help and guidance, and discovered the sanctuary of love, peace and wisdom that is the heart’s desire of every human being. My life has not been the same since.

In all the positions I have held in the media or the business world, it was primarily my writing ability that allowed me to be successful. But it wasn’t until my husband was dying that the creative energy came through me with a force that I had never known before – and with a purpose that could not be denied. The result was a book chronicling our experience. After that, the concept for another book came to me in meditation and the passion to do it was equally powerful. And the pattern continues.

How interesting that I have known since childhood that I was a writer, yet I had never embraced it as truth. I kept seeking outside of me for who I was to be.

I learned that our true calling – who we are, why we are here and our life purpose – is revealed to us from within, and doesn’t come to us from out there – the external world. And we certainly don’t have to live our lives reacting to and accepting others’ expectations of us. When we can stop trying to be someone else, we can start living the wonderful lives that I believe we were born to live, instead of the poor imitations we create for ourselves.

“To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” –e.e. cummings
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!” and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hard Times Are the Signal to Get Back to Basics

With our recent economic crises, I am sure that with few exceptions people all across America – and around the world – are left wondering how this happened to a country that was perceived as the richest, strongest and most powerful in the world.

Well, the truth is that our country bought a one-way ticket to disaster when it lost sight of ethics, morals and values and committed to an all-out pursuit of materialism and power. This antiquated approach has been the pattern for many centuries, but it is glaringly inappropriate and unsustainable in the new millennium.

The simple fact is that the conscious awareness of humanity is at the highest point in the history of the world. The wrong road our country was pursuing actually started becoming apparent to countless millions of Americans in the failed war in Viet Nam. Now we have the irreconcilable conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and two other potential prospects in the offing – Iran and Pakistan. The other shoe dropped with the collapse of the real estate and stock markets, as well the banking and insurance industries.

In the pursuit of power and materialism, our government made choices that were not ethically sound and therefore were not supportive of human values or of a healthy society. Is there anyone around who doesn’t know that the prevailing attitude at all levels in our country has been one of greed, self-interest and dishonesty? Looking out for numero uno became the mantra of this and preceding generations. That attitude fostered the belief that there wasn’t enough of anything for everyone so it was acceptable for individuals to grab whatever they could by any means imaginable and let the rest of us be damned.

As citizens, we were so deeply immersed in our country’s pursuit of money and power that we either bought into it or were complicit in accepting the situation because none of us knew how to stop a runaway train on a slippery slope.

Since this crisis is enormous, many of us are going to pay a high price for the results of our government and institutions straying from the straight and narrow path. Yet inherent in this situation may be the biggest blessing we could ever have imagined. If we take the time to look at the primary cause of the economic crisis in our country – which is an incredible turning away from basic ethics, values and morals – this opens an incredible opportunity to return to the principles that made our nation’s rise to greatness possible in the first place.

More and more people are aware that we do live in an abundant universe that is based on fundamental principles such as the Law of Attraction, which means like attracts like. We draw to us what we think and live and are responsible for what comes into our lives, individually and nationally. When any one of us lies, cheats or steals or allows or condones such actions, it takes away from the good of all. We are all in this together.

We must demand that our government and institutions return to a transparent system that is sensitive to the bottom line, and yet is balanced with humane ethics and values. This must also include an appropriate reverence for planet Earth and a commonsense approach to environmental issues, which got lost in the money-power equation.

I believe this crisis is a wake-up call to remind us that love and kindness, honesty and integrity and looking out for each other are the key values in life. If we individually choose to live from the highest and best within us, we can help each other and our ship of state stay afloat and on course. Only in this way can we assure the future of our children and grandchildren and this awesome planet.

[Scroll down to read - 10 Ways to Help Us Get Through Hard Times.]
Copyright © 2009 by Fern Stewart Welch

The authors books: "You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World" and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

10 Ways to Help Get Us Through Hard Times

Cut back on spending, increase our savings and live below our means instead of beyond them. This helps us and also demonstrates sensitivity to the millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs, homes and insurance.

Learn about the resources that are available to help needy families through hard times so that you can be proactive. Have it ready when someone you meet or know is in need of connecting with these services. [Be part of the healing of our country.]

Curb the temptation to indulge in conspicuous consumption and to flaunt an ostentatious lifestyle. Donate that discretionary income to community organizations to help our fellow citizens.

Give more generously to all the charities of our choice and continue an American tradition of doing good to help others.

Remain positive, which is always an excellent way to ensure better results in every area of our lives and to help calm everyone around us.

Remember to maintain an attitude of gratitude. This boosts our self esteem and raises our energy vibration, which lifts our spirits and those of everyone who comes in contact with us.

Take good care of our health. It is vitally important during hard times to maintain a positive attitude and to manage stress.

Support our inner peace by saying as often as possible: I choose Good this day for me, my loved ones and all others. And So It Is!

Fight fear by repeating over and over: All is well! Something wonderful is happening in my life right now. I sense it. I feel it. I know it. And So It Is!

And then we anchor in our good by repeating the following: In living the key values in life – honesty, integrity and loving and caring for others – I hasten our nation’s return to balance on all levels, peacefully, joyously and harmoniously with Good-God for all concerned. And So It Is!