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, 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, other online booksellers, bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders – and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.