Monday, August 30, 2010

When Nature Comes Too Close for Comfort

First of all, I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, but it’s still the lesser settled western part of the U.S., and sometimes the wild animals infringe on our lives.

Some of these desert denizens venture into heavily populated areas to find easy food sources and water. It’s fairly common to see coyotes with their young pups crossing the streets or even to see a snake slithering its way across a golf course. Fortunately most of us know which critters are relatively harmless, and which we should give a wide berth.

Recently I had an experience that brought home this difference. I heard a noise that sounded like something was chewing on my house. Through the open window I realized the commotion was coming from the backyard and it sure sounded like the crunching of metal.

I looked out the window and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. But as the noise continued, I opened the sliding glass door and stepped onto the patio to check further.

My attention was immediately drawn to a small potted plant in a plastic pot, a recent gift that I had placed inside a larger decorative clay pot. The plant was whipping back and forth even though there was not a hint of wind. As I focused on the scene, I noticed something else that was strange. The heavy-duty gold decorative foil that was still wrapped around the smaller plastic pot was methodically and vigorously being pulled up and out toward the back of the clay pot. I couldn’t imagine what could be causing this.

Within a few moments two pointy ears appeared over the rim of the pot, and then a scraggly tail. It was a very scrawny squirrel! And it was eating the aluminum foil as fast as it could free it from the plastic pot. I instantly thought the squirrel was rabid because it was eating the foil instead of the plant, and retreated quickly to the safety of the house.

Watching through the glass door, I was mesmerized as the squirrel used its front paws to unwrap the foil from around the plastic pot and ravenously devoured every scrap of it. The only squirrels I had seen before were those that live in the northern part of the state and they are fat with full bushy tails and they eat acorns, not crunchy foil.

Finally, I called a wildlife organization and when I described the situation, the receptionist laughed and assured me my squirrel visitor wasn’t rabid. She added, “If they’re hungry enough they will eat anything on your house that they can bite off,” and proceeded to give me an example that was startling. She said they’ve been known to eat the external metal vents for household clothes dryers.

While my instinct is to assist or get help for our fellow creatures on this planet, this time I couldn’t. The expert’s advice was two-fold: Don’t put out food for the squirrel as it would only encourage more wild animals to show up at my door, and buy a cage to trap it in case it comes back and then transport it back to the wild. When I looked again, I saw the squirrel exiting through the drainage hole in the patio wall.

Until this experience, my encounters with nature had been as a benevolent, appreciative bystander. Yet, I was always fully aware of the awesome power of nature and the possible dangers in its sometimes raw dramas. This is why I no longer watch survival-of-the-fittest wildlife programs on PBS at dinner time. It’s also why I’m not ashamed to admit that when I drive by a pack of coyotes, I am relieved to be viewing them from the safety of my car. That same good sense prevailed when I met a starving squirrel that was devouring heavy-duty aluminum foil like it was a piece of acorn pie. My motto is better safe than sorry – thus the rationale for sharing this cautionary tail.
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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Take Heart: It's All Good!

The phrase It’s All Good! has been around for years, and probably like many others I have repeated it glibly, and with only a superficial understanding. Recently though, the words took on new meaning for me. As a senior citizen, I often meander back through my memories and gain insights from my life. What I realized was that every event or situation that I judged as being the worst thing that ever happened to me turned out – sometimes much later – to be a blessing in my life.

In the beginning, for example, I was born the seventh child in a family of 10 offspring, six girls and four boys. Naturally I longed as a youngster to be from a one-child family. I remember complaining to my mother about this one too many times. She looked me squarely in the eyes and said simply, “Then you wouldn’t be here.” That ended my whining and started my journey to discover if there were any positives in having siblings, and especially in such great numbers. It was easier with the girls, the boys took much longer.

As the years passed and I matured, I realized what a sincere appreciation I had for my brothers and sisters, not only as dear friends, but as one of the major blessings in my life.

Later when I was in my mid-thirties, my marriage dissolved and I became the chief emotional and financial support for three children. For a few years I was devastated as I couldn’t believe such a terrible thing could happen to us. The book “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” hadn’t been written yet, which would have offered me some much-needed insight into accepting responsibility for everything that happens in our lives.

Instead, I struggled on my own day-by-day to find out what I needed to learn during the eight years between the divorce and meeting and falling in love with my second husband. I took every free self-development class, read numerous self-help books and hung on the spoken or written words of every visionary who shared pearls of wisdom on how to create and live a better life. And the most important thing I did was to put the concepts I learned to work in my life.

Naturally I soon realized that the divorce gave me a chance to grow and learn and start becoming the person who would attract a more appropriate mate and be able to build better lives for me and my children.

My second marriage was everything we both desired and knew it could be. We had twenty-three wonderful years together. When he became ill in our twelfth year together, I soon realized that he was in a lengthy process that would end in death. I was stunned and thought what a sad and untimely way to end our beautiful love story … until my love for my husband and my desperation caused me to turn within seeking help from my higher consciousness, intelligence – God. With the daily guidance I received, we immediately knew this was a blessing as it totally transformed our experience. I was able to realize my heart’s desire and assist my beloved husband through his sacred last life journey in a way that was more loving, more enlightened and more joyous than I ever imagined it could be.

That wasn’t the full extent of the blessings. During the continuing daily communion with God, I discovered my life’s purpose, which I had sought since childhood, as well as the guidance to fulfill it. I was led to share what I was learning by writing the following books: One Ordinary Person’s Journey to God; The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within; Tea with Elisabeth, and You Can Live a Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World. That quartet will be followed by the soon-to-be released Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart and the 2011 release of You Can Heal Your Life and Change the World.

I recognize now that when we say It’s All Good!, we are actually acknowledging that we live in a benevolent and abundant universe that says “yes” to whatever order we place. Since we know that what we focus on mentally today, negative or positive, is what shows up in our lives tomorrow, it makes good sense to repeat the phrase as often as possible. In this way we are anchoring in an expectancy of good, as well as raising our consciousness so that we actually can experience life at a level where It’s All Good!
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.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nature: The 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 is on holiday and this is one of her most requested essays.

The author’s books: “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World!”; “Tea with Elisabeth,” 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.