Monday, March 29, 2010

When Changes Come Up, the Ego Also Rises

It shouldn’t have been a surprise. I know that change is the only constant in life and nothing remains the same for long. I have learned to cope with many life changes, but when one affects my inner peace, it commands my full attention.

I’ve also known for a long time that life on Earth is all about learning lessons. When it is time for us to grow – or past time – the universe gives us a shove by presenting us with changes that are opportunities to stretch and continue expanding our awareness.

I confess that like many people, the older I get the more I resist change. The most recent example of this surfaced for me when I once again heard from family and friends that it was time for me to move into a single-level house because my future health situation might preclude being able to negotiate stairs.

First of all, I’m healthy and love everything about my townhouse, from the location to the vaulted ceilings and the upstairs bedroom – which reminds me of a childhood tree house – to the small patio garden that allows me a daily dose of God’s beauty and goodness. Second, since I believe in living in the present and expecting the best, it didn’t make sense to sell my beloved house now because of an imagined possible negative situation in the future.

However, their concern lingered in my mind, as it seemed so strong and sincere that I began doubting my decision. Was I just being stubborn and foolish, or worse yet, experiencing every senior citizen’s worst nightmare – losing our grip on reality? The more I thought about that, the more I dipped into fear and it was impossible to think about moving or not moving objectively.

After a week of angst, I realized that I was in a tug-of-war with that part of self with the small “s” which refers to the “little me,” the ego. In other words, the ego seeks to control our experiences in the world based on false information we subconsciously believe about ourselves. This includes our weaknesses, defenses, sense of self-worth and our fears, especially the fear of big changes in our lives.

When I finally turned within and asked for guidance, I was led to mentally go back to the time I made the original decision to remain in the townhouse after the death of my husband. As I settled into this experience, I once again felt the love and clarity of that moment. I also realized quickly that in doing this I had reclaimed my inner peace.

Free of the ego’s grip and the fear of change, I was now open to allow wisdom and truth to flow through me. I was fully and wholly able to bless my family and friends for caring and to confirm my original decision as long as it made sense – and when it didn’t any more, I would make whatever change was needed at that time.

When changes, challenges and life decisions come up that threaten our equilibrium, we can be certain that the ego also rises. What we don’t have to do is give in to the vise grip of the ego, which can so discombobulate us that we can’t see the truth in a situation and come to a clear, reasoned decision.

Since we’re aware that as long as we are on Earth there will be changes, as well as more lessons to learn, I recommend repeating these daily affirmations: I choose God-Truth and make healthy, life-enhancing choices about every change, challenge or decision that presents itself in my life. In, for, with and through God, nothing can threaten my inner stability!
Copyright © 2010 by Fern Stewart Welch

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

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Gift In Releasing the Ego: Expressing Our True Selves

I was first introduced to the concept of self-mastery years ago through a book by Stuart Wilde. He said that at some point on our spiritual journeys we must learn to control our emotions and thoughts so that we can – my words – keep our egos in check and express our true selves.

As I focused on the idea of self-mastery, I thought back to my husband’s lengthy death process and the dramatic and life-changing experience that enabled me to release my ego and express the highest and best within me. This also brought to mind a number of defining moments in my life that set the stage for this situation to manifest in our lives.

At age 10, I was spending a week at my maternal grandparents’ farm during summer vacation. These visits were one of the highlights of my life and were usually marked by love, laughter and music, as my grandfather played the violin and my grandmother the organ.

One night while I was there, my grandfather died in his sleep and the next day as relatives arrived, the energy in the house shifted. This was my first encounter with death, and I was stunned that conversation was reduced to whispers, and everything, including the black clothing everyone was now wearing, created a dark cloud of grief, fear and foreboding. No one could or would spend much time in the same room with my grandfather, even my grandmother, as she would collapse in tears. I felt only love and peace, so I sat with him until they took his body away.

When I was twelve, my best friend, Mary, came to school and told me her grandmother had died the night before. My face must have registered my feelings because before I could speak, she said, “Oh, it wasn’t like that.” She explained that her grandmother called all the family into her hospital room and told each one how much she loved them. Then she smiled and said, “Now go home. I’m going home.” She died that night. Both of these end-of-life situations were seared in my consciousness.

After an early marriage to an equally young spouse, and the ensuing emotional upheaval of divorce, I was led to a spiritual philosophy that I could embrace with my heart and mind – and which also provided the tools I needed to create a successful life. Within seven years after the divorce, I had met and married the love of my life.

From then on, no matter what was going on in my personal or business life, I was drawn like a magnet to all the books on death and dying. I attended a host of conferences and workshops led by most of the leaders in this field, including Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the acknowledged world expert on the subject. I had also become a hospice volunteer and assisted a number of patients in their death processes, as well as a brother-in-law, two siblings and my parents.

By that time, I knew that a major component of my life purpose was to assist a fellow soul through the death process in a way that was more conscious and aware, more spiritually enlightened and more loving than I had ever heard of or read about.

What I didn’t understand back then was that the ability to facilitate this experience must happen through me – which meant that somehow I would have to grow in conscious awareness in order to fulfill this life goal. I also had no idea when, with whom or how I was to accomplish this out-of-the ordinary objective.

In what seemed a miraculous coincidence, Dr. Kübler-Ross relocated for her health in 1994 to a city near my home; our paths crossed again and we became close friends. At that time, my beloved husband’s health was beginning to fail and I knew immediately that this was the time and he was the individual that I was to assist through the death process in a different way. However, after a few years of trying to do it by myself, I realized I was failing. I called Elisabeth seeking her counsel, and her advice was, “Follow your heart, Fern, your heart knows the way.”

I thought I had been doing that, but after reflection I knew my friend was gently reminding me to turn to the greater power within me, instead of trying to do it all alone. Actually I had been seeking a connection with God through meditation, prayer and journaling for many years, but after all that time it was still a one-sided conversation. The next defining moment happened as if on cue.

A few days later when I went to visit my husband at the hospital, I found him in a non-lucid state. I was shocked when he asked me to arrange a wedding for him with the young aide who brought his food tray. I knew he recognized me, but obviously he didn’t remember that we were married or anything about our wonderful life together. My ego was devastated. I cried all the way home.

I went straight to my meditation chair, but instead of sitting down I fell to my knees in abject sorrow and surrender. I cried until I couldn’t cry any more. When I stood up, I felt an empowering surge of energy course through me. I wiped my face and declared to God: I will never give up or give in. I will have this personal connection with you or know the reason why not!

From that day forward, through journaling, I received the love, support and guidance we needed. I was also led to release my ego and then, no matter my husband’s physical or mental condition I was able to be totally present for him. Our experience was transformed. Three years later, he made his final transition in the time and way his soul desired. I was left with a joyous anticipation of the future, a reaffirmation of life and a deep inner peace.

The moral of this true story, and the gift in it, is that by gradually taking command of our egos and consciously correcting their limiting beliefs about us, we enter into the freedom of living our greater selves, the True Selves that we were born to be. This is the point of connection with God and all others. We are then grounded in the power that can satisfy our needs and in the balance-wholeness that dissolves all fears and uncertainties.
Copyright © 2010 Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books, including “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” 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, March 1, 2010

How Life on Earth Really Works: Mastering the Art of Living

I recently received a letter from a friend who told me she is experiencing “an emotional earthquake.” Her marriage is broken, a divorce is in process and she and her children are devastated. I found myself greatly touched by her situation – partly because of the intensity of her heart-searing words and my caring for her – but also because I’ve been there.

Similar dramas are playing out daily across our country as divorce rates continue to soar. The reasons for this disturbing trend are many and varied, but primarily the explosion of failed marriages is due to each of us not knowing who we are, what we truly desire in life, a lack of awareness of what it takes to create a successful relationship and – even more important – having absolutely no idea How Life on Earth Really Works.

In preparation for what I would share with her when she was starting to heal emotionally and was ready to learn from the experience and move on, I started thinking back to my divorce three decades ago. I smiled as I recalled how at that time I believed and mourned the “fact” that my life was over – in my thirties. The smile broadened when I recalled that seven years after my divorce, I married the love of my life and lived the relationship I always knew was possible for twenty-three incredible years.

Today, almost a decade after his death, I experience joy and happiness every day as I continue to learn how life really works and to enhance my expertise in mastering the Art of Living.

If you follow my writings, you know that they focus on three basic concepts:
*Realizing we must align with our inner guidance, whether we call it our authentic self, soul or God – rather than buying into the crazy-making beliefs of the external world that are generally empty, ineffectual and valueless.
*Growing through life instead of just going through it.
*Knowing that by changing our thoughts, we can positively change our lives.

I know, for I have lived these concepts to the best of my conscious awareness and ability for thirty-plus years. It is an ongoing process, and I definitely have more work to do, but my current conscious awareness (compared to how I lived my life in the past) bears witness to the dramatic and real difference these principles can make in anyone's life.

Another insight I gained in those early and tumultuous years is that the only constant in life is change, and that things will happen. My good friend the late Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said, “There are no accidents, everything in life happens for a positive reason.” I agree totally. Usually a change that represents a defining moment is the result of a deep soul urging within us that is sending us a message – sometimes not too gently. The impetus is either to get us on track with what we came into this life to learn – or to pull us up short by any means possible to get our attention and help us make a course correction.

The message is always to help us become aware of who we really are – spiritual beings having human experiences – so that we can learn to walk the path as human beings while expressing our authentic true selves. When we become aware that life happens from within us out rather than from the external in, we are naturally moved to focus on the energy-intelligence-power that is in us and everything in the universe.

As individualized expressions of this energy, we become aware that this is where our real power exists and that we are to live from this awareness. When we align with this inner power and can control our thoughts and emotions, we are then able to make choices that bring into our lives what we really desire.

I pray that my friend will be open to the opportunity to choose a path that will enrich and balance her life, her family’s and all those she touches. The choice, as always, is hers to make. It also will take courage and commitment, but what in life that is truly worthwhile doesn’t?

Everything in life happens for a positive reason. When we can master the Art of Living – find love and peace within ourselves and live in harmony with friends, families and others – then there is an opportunity for peace within the Family of Man. Each soul is part of this divine plan.
Copyright © 2010 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, other online booksellers, bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

How Life on Earth Really Works: Mastering the Art of Living