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 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 and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.