Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Gift That Only You Can Give Yourself

The more time I spend in and observing nature the more I learn about myself.  It recently dawned on me that I have spent my entire life in an effort to learn to relax and be who I am.  I discovered this by watching the rabbits and birds that frequent my lush yard.  They are totally content with what they are.

I smile when I think about what it must be like to be a blade of grass, whose only role in life is to grow and be green.  In doing so, it fulfills its purpose and enhances the beauty of a yard or a field.  What a sad and frustrating experience it would be for that blade of grass to spend its lifespan wishing to be a flower, a shrub or a tree.  Yet, not being grounded and accepting who we are seems to be part of the human condition, resulting in many of us spending our lives striving to be something that we are not.

It does not have to be and should not be that way.  Each of us is important, as no one else can be who I am, or who you are.  It is only our wayward minds that confuse and frustrate us and keep us from enjoying the fullness of what it means to be alive in this form.

I believe the most important element in overcoming this tendency is to come to peace within ourselves and accept who we were born to be.  Our culture is so focused on the external world that we rarely, if ever, take the time to explore the inner world that is within us.

Many people believe that life is what happens to us externally, and our role is to react to whatever comes our way, but that is not so.  The Truth is that the point of power is within us and has always been.  We need to realize that the way life is supposed to happen is from within out--not the other way around.  When we understand this, we become empowered and can determine much of what happens to us in life.

We have the power to stop our fear-based frantic search for answers outside ourselves.  Unfortunately, our culture focuses on and requires that we not be in touch with ourselves or our environment, much to the detriment of both.

Going within and connecting with our inner selves is an absolute necessity.  It naturally leads to connecting with that larger part of us that knows we are one with everyone else, as well as with the Earth itself.  At that point, there is no confusion or frustration about who we are or what our purpose is on this planet, as it is simply to be fully and wholly who we were born to be.

Once we make this connection, we will be free of the thoughts that have kept us off-balance and off-purpose and that preclude us from achieving our full human potential.  There is great power in this knowing--power that can change our lives and the world.  It is the gift that only you can give to you.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch - one of the author's most requested essays.

The author's books: "Tea with Elisabeth," recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; "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, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Speed Bumps Keep Appearing on My Way to Becoming a Receiver and a Giver

This is my third essay on learning how a lifelong giver can find a balance between giving and receiving. First, I definitely haven’t reached my goal yet. Though my initial attempts were successful enough to keep me focused on my challenge I discovered that the transformation would be more difficult than I expected.

When I first broke my foot, which was the start of this quest, a number of family members and friends stepped up to help me. Thanks to all the loving assistance with my physical needs and doctor appointments, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn't on my own.

But the flurry of helpful involvement wasn’t to last. I realized quickly that my loved ones had lives to live, while I was still occasionally in need. I felt conflicted and was even more determined to reclaim control of my life, including my diet. Since my birthday fell during this recovery time, I was gifted with a variety of tasty but high-calorie foods, which I loved, but which I usually ate only a few times a year. Now it was weekly. I was grateful for all the assistance I received, but was learning to speak up about what I wanted and needed instead of just saying thank you for whatever was delivered. So, I said no more desserts, please.

Yet I wondered if there was something I was missing that would have made the experience more palatable for me and more beneficial for all concerned. Looking back, I think I had relaxed so completely into receiving that I lost sight of my part in the balance of giving. What else was it that I needed to learn?

Divine synchronicity intervened when a dear longtime friend called and said she needed to talk about something that was weighing on her mind. Fortunately, for me, she was so busy with work, travel and speaking commitments that our meeting was delayed for several days. I appreciated the reprieve as I had experienced many such requests from family members and friends, and I was always uneasy because I wasn’t sure I could meet their needs or desires.

During the interval, I remembered something that happened in a class that related to my friend’s current need. The facilitator gave a lecture on listening and was instantly on our case any time one of us failed to listen to her or to another member. She called us out immediately whenever we had our hands in the air before someone finished speaking because we couldn’t wait to put in our two cents, or we fiddled with papers, or read or sent text messages or retreated within and didn't hear or care what the speaker was saying.

Whether I realized it consciously or not, this memory would lead me to, as bestselling author M. Scott Peck, M.D. would say, a road less traveled, at least by me. When my troubled friend called again and asked to come over it was near dinner time, and I suggested she stop by a local restaurant and pick up our meal, which would be my treat (once again I was being the giver.)

As she arrived we greeted each other warmly, and when she remembered she had missed my birthday, she immediately said dinner was on her. Of course old habits surfaced and I began to protest. This time I also thought about that “un-traveled road” – receiving – and said gratefully, “Yes, thank you, more please.” We laughed, embraced again and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and the wonderful food.

As we settled onto the sofa to talk, I felt at ease. I had evidently decided subconsciously to really listen, to be totally present for her, and remarkably, I was. I paid close attention to her words and her body language. I was never tempted to offer solutions for her problems, but sought only to help her bring forth her own conclusions.

I automatically supported her strengths verbally and felt perfectly comfortable doing that. I even lightly tossed in truths that she knew so well, as we all do, but often lose sight of when we are experiencing emotionally difficult situations.

As we said goodbye, I realized that our energies were in a state of equilibrium, and our shared joy was genuine. It was clearly a real-world example of balanced, from-the-heart giving and receiving, and I was fully aware of it in the moment.

Later I thought of the many times I had missed the chance to simply listen to a fellow human being, and to practice that aspect of giving and receiving. Now I realize there are surely an infinite variety of ways in which to do this, but in this experience it is easy to see how it was a win-win situation for both of us. By being totally present for another person in their time of need, we are helping to create happier lives and a more humane world.
Copyright 2011 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; “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 bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.