Monday, February 21, 2011

The Key to Happiness: Letting Go of Our Troubles ... and Living in the Now

Last week, at a spiritual community meeting, the message was titled “Forget Your Troubles” – and as it says in the song – “… C’mon, get happy.” Yet as the minister so ably explained, the reason so many of us are unhappy is because we find it difficult to let go of our fears, disappointments or old hurts. We either choose to live in the past and allow those thoughts to determine our tomorrows, or we mentally live in the future and focus on negative things that may never happen. The past is gone and the future is yet to be, so hanging out mentally in either place, whether consciously or subconsciously, means we’re blocking our potential for happiness.

I immediately thought of an irrational fear that had troubled me most of my life and that had recently resurfaced. As a child, I was extremely shy and lived in fear of being called on to answer a question in the classroom. By college, I was able to handle classroom and social situations, but I never lost my fear of speaking in public. It always weighed on my mind when facing any career decisions, past or present.

The minister also reminded us of something that went straight into the plus column of my consciousness. She said it’s a fact that most mature adults have already come through many life situations that didn’t knock us down or out, and we’re still here and stronger as a result. This boosted my confidence that I could finally face this fear.

When I left the corporate world and developed a communion with God, it wasn’t long before I was guided to help others by writing and sharing the lessons I was learning on my spiritual journey. The fear returned with more intensity, as I was now caught between following the guidance from God and dreading the public speaking that is required today to promote books. If there was a way to end this inner conflict over public visibility, and free me to fulfill my soul purpose, heart’s desires and be at peace, I was ready.

The decisive moment for me came when the minister smiled and said something like this: When we know how life really works, we can wake up and live it consciously and happily, or we can wait until we’re near the end and mourn our missed opportunities for happiness. I knew what I chose, and it wasn’t remorse and regret.

I set my intention to resolve this specific issue and trusted that, as usual, my inner guidance would lead me through the process. I soon recalled an idea I read about several years ago in a book titled “Intuitive Wellness,” by my friend, Laura Alden Kamm. She suggested that when we are in the middle of chaotic situations that confuse or frighten us that we print out these words: Trust, Faith and Power, and place them where we can see them often throughout each day.

Her concept was that by consciously contemplating these words, we would be led to reclaim our trust and faith in ourselves and in God. As a result of doing that, we would be aligned with our inner power and automatically trust that the outcome of all things in our life would be for our highest and best good.

After following my own spiritual practice, I asked my inner guidance to assist me and then sat quietly reflecting upon the three words. Memories began popping up, and each one was of a situation in which I felt as if life had dealt me a very low blow. I noticed the fear I held around each predicament, as they seemed far beyond my ability to handle, yet they couldn’t be avoided. I was forced to face them immediately. Despite my initial very human reactions, I realized that I had eventually grown through the life-changing circumstances and had indeed become stronger.

Once I acknowledged the deep sense of empowerment I gained from recalling these events, I realized something else. The fear and helplessness I had felt for so long about public speaking was tied to my projecting thoughts into the future about bad things happening, which had to be stopped. As I experienced living in the moment with this issue, I felt a sense of peace and knew I had reclaimed my power. I also knew I could handle (ultimately) anything that would ever come up in any area of my life because I had been doing that all along.

Just then I recalled the visionary teachings of my friend and early spiritual teacher, Irene Hunter, author of “The Miracle of Being the Real You.” She strongly advised that every time we catch ourselves casting negative thoughts into the future or re-living past situations, we say the following with great resolve: Cancel-cancel-cancel-together-together-together. This neutralizes a negative thought at all levels of our minds. Then, we lock-in our positive mental stance by stating firmly and as often as needed: My mind is renewed in, for, with and through God.

What a wonderful realization to know that we can choose at any time to be free by letting go of our “troubles,” living in the now and allowing ourselves the happiness that is every human being’s birthright.
Copyright © 2011 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, Borders, and to the trade from Ingram Book Co., Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things Breathe Life Into the American Dream

After the tragedy in Tucson, I searched my heart and mind for something insightful and uplifting to share with others. As I focused on that desire, I received an e-mail from a friend that set me on the right track. The quote she sent was from John F. Kennedy’s speech at The American University in Washington, D.C., in 1963. He said: "Our problems are man-made; therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."

I believe that, and especially the part about man becoming as big as he wants, as those words hold so much positive potential for us right here and right now. I trusted that by allowing those inspiring words to guide me, I would be led to the awareness I was seeking surrounding the Tucson incident. I was immediately drawn to the fact that the majority of American citizens are ordinary people, just like you and me, and also to the realization that the strength of America has historically been vested in our innate goodness.

And, just like me, many of us tend to forget that we’re not alone and that every day millions of our fellow citizens get up with the same desire to do the best they can in every area of their lives. If they are parents, the goal is to rear healthy children who will contribute to society and help heal our Earth. If they are married, they want to be better partners. Those in the work force want to be better employees. And friends and neighbors want to be better friends and neighbors.

Then I thought about the reality that while most of us truly want to be better citizens and better human beings, we become disheartened when members of our society commit inhumane acts. We need to remember that those are the exceptions, and that the majority of us are already deeply committed to living our lives from the highest and best within us. This means that most of us are making a genuine and positive contribution to our nation right now. Some of them, these ordinary heroes, were right there in Tucson. This really matters.

As I realized that ordinary people are the heart, soul and backbone of our nation, I recalled that we also make up a world-renowned resource of capable, caring and generous volunteers. This was immediately obvious in the Tucson situation as the community rose up to help and support those who were affected. A similar desire spread across the state and our nation.

At that point, I thought of two other ordinary “everyday heroes” who typify America’s spirit of volunteerism: Annie Loyd and Jodi Powers. Within hours of the tragic events in Tucson, they convened a think-tank of do-ers through their Arizona-based The FUSION Foundation. Their plan was to come up with an “ongoing generational, transformational process” that would be a visible symbol of support for the affected families and a way for people across the nation to be part of the healing process.

In joining resources with the Arizona Community Tree Council, and other organizations, was born. They are now sponsoring tree-plantings as a living memorial to those who died in Tucson, as a symbol of “loving kindness” for the wounded and to honor all life.

On February 14, 2011, the 99th birthday of Arizona’s statehood, the ceremonial plantings will begin with the first of 19 trees, representing the 19 victims, planted at the Arizona State Capitol. This healing ceremony offers us a way to focus on what’s inherently good and right in our country, instead of what’s wrong, and to choose to be part of the solution.

Launching of the Healing Trees – Together We Thrive project will also mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, and honor his famous call to action: “… Ask what you can do for your country.”

That quote serves to remind us once again that pulling together in times of need will always be a source of strength and hope for each of us, and the saving grace for our communities and our country. This tradition continues with ordinary people like Annie and Jodi, you and me, the brave folks in Tucson and millions of other everyday heroes who step up and breathe life into the inherent goodness of the American Dream. I feel much better now.
Copyright © 2011 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.