Thursday, December 26, 2013

It’s a New Dawn, a New Day, a New Year … Why Not a New Life?

“We may be products of our past, but we don’t have to be chained to it.  Joyously release the past, all false beliefs in lack and limitation, along with all conditions and situations that may have been attracted to us due to those false beliefs.”    ~Anonymous

I spent the past three-plus decades seeking to understand the way consciousness – life – works and why some people are successful in achieving their heart’s desire and others are not.

Like millions of others searching for such understanding I read all the books, listened to numerous speakers and had the information spelled out for me many times through the years by philosophers, visionaries and others.  The concepts embraced by these individuals allowed them to achieve amazing goals and realize equally amazing lives.

But until a dramatic personal experience happened in my life, I didn’t realize what a profound difference there is between being aware of something and having the discipline (and courage) to put it to the test—to act on it and to actually live it.

At the time, I was facing the lengthy decline and deaths of my husband, my mother and my younger brother.  I knew there had to be a better, more enlightened, loving and life-affirming way to help my loved ones through their final life journeys. I didn’t know how to accomplish this, but, somehow I just knew it was possible.

After a number of years of trying, I finally realized that I wasn’t able to discover this amazing pathway simply by force of will.  By expending so much energy, I ended up stressed and physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  Finally, in desperation I turned within seeking the guidance, love and support of the eternal and sublime spirit – God – that is within us.  Surely my answers would be found there.

My resolve was never to give up or give in, and to have this personal spiritual connection that would enable me to help my loved ones, or know the reason why not.

It took a lot of time, self-discipline and courage, but eventually I did accomplish my heart’s desire.  And I received the support, love and guidance that transformed the experience of accompanying my beloveds on their final life journeys from sadness to a reaffirmation of life.

I wrote about my personal relationship with God and the self-transformation that followed in the book:  “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within.”

That was my first fully conscious experience with trusting my inner wisdom and actually putting what I believed to work in my life with the unwavering intention to continue until I was successful.

Now I know for a real-world fact that aligning with these essential truths can determine our health, wealth, success and happiness, as well as our tomorrows.  The initial step is to dig deep within and decide how you want your future to unfold, and what your true heart and soul desires really are.  Hold fast to this wisdom, as it’s the key to open the door to your heart desires.

Many people that I have talked with through the years have expressed a similar desire to do something to make a difference in the world.  It wasn’t until this past decade that I connected with the truth that it is vital to have a personal relationship with God.  The fact that I and so many others had failed to take this step is the major cause, I believe, of the depression, sadness and feelings of going it alone that define the lives of so many individuals.

I now think of the inner urge from the core of our being as a message from our souls urging us toward our inner heart desires: that which we were born to accomplish or move toward in this lifetime.  This is why we are here.

True happiness – our life purpose – is there just waiting for us to give it a chance.  When we resonate at a soul level with how we are expressing the gift of life, we will know we are connected with our life purpose, our reason for being.

Scientists have already proven that all life is energy; you, me the Earth and everything in the Universe, all energy.  Cars and other solid objects are simply vibrating at a lower level, and in a more condensed form.

When someone is not experiencing an abundant and fulfilled life in all aspects, it means that the vibrations in the person’s energy field are out of harmony and therefore out of balance.
If you think of vibrations in the form of a symphony orchestra, when each individual instrument is vibrating at a correct frequency, the result is harmonious, beautiful music.

To put it another way, when you choose to become a fully conscious and aware human being, then the energy at the core of your being that has been striving to be expressed has the opportunity to work in your life.  At that point your consciousness will guide you to make choices that are for your highest and best good, and in alignment with your soul and life purpose.

You will need to develop a consciousness of trusting in this innate goodness and be able to allow whatever your heart desires to manifest in your life.  You will also need to move from a consciousness of wanting, which always places your desire(s) in the future to a concept of having, as a present reality.  This makes a huge difference!

Once you trust and have faith in the goodness of the universe, you will be able to let go and release your desires to the powerful action of the eternal energy that permeates, activates and sustains all life.  Then you can do what you are led to do on the physical plane and release the how-and-when this manifests in your life to the Infinite Intelligence of the universal good.

Staying centered in trust, having faith in the process, and keeping an attitude of gratitude is necessary in order to open the door to your true heart and soul desires.

It is a New Year and a fortuitous time in the evolution of mankind.  As we choose a new, positive way of living, we help elevate the consciousness of humanity, create better lives and a kinder world that works for everyone.

When we change our thoughts our lives change.  This wisdom holds the energy and inspiration of the many souls throughout history, who courageously followed these truths to change their lives, fulfill their purposes and leave footsteps for others to follow.  This is my heartfelt desire for each and every one of us.

Each day I joyously claim releasing the past – and all false beliefs in lack and limitation – along with all conditions and situations that may have been attracted to me due to those false beliefs.

[To further assist you on your path, go to – – click on How To’s at the top, then click on How to Fulfill Your Potential and follow the 10 Ways to Clear Now and Create the Life You Desire.]
Copyright © 2014 Fern Stewart Welch
The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart, (April 2013); “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” (Nov. 2008), and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” (Feb. 2008), are available at, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

C'mon God ... Did I have to be an Introvert and a "Highly Sensitive Human Being," Too?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many great souls have said there are no mistakes in life; that everything happens for a positive reason. So, help me understand, God.  Why did I receive the Double Whammy of being both an intensely shy flower who felt threatened by attention – good or bad – and, at the same time, one of those people constantly wounded by the huge boulders of life casually tossed around by stronger types, as if they were tiny pebbles? Wouldn't just one of these conditions be more than enough of a life-long challenge?

You may recall my mother’s stories about when I was very young and strangers came to the house.  She would have to cover my head with a blanket to quell my “screamin’- meemie fit.”  Even though I was born into a large family, I felt alone and vulnerable.

The happiest time of my young life was when we lived in a rural area and our house was surrounded by wild woods and a massive paw-paw patch.  My imagination took flight as I swung on the magical vines that hung from the magnificent stately trees, and played in the bubbling brook that was fed by an underground spring. I called it my home and the memory has never paled.
After we moved to the city and I started school, I lived in terror of being called upon in class despite the fact that I always knew the answer.  I soon learned to lie about the good grades on my report card because if you were too smart you were hassled.  And, yes we had school-yard bullies way back then.  I had no choice, I thought, but to start crafting a mask that would keep the real me hidden for many years of my life.

Fortunately, in fifth grade I met Mary Elizabeth, an equally bright youngster who was also an outsider, and the two of us became bosom friends.

While Mary was just like me in many ways, I realized quickly she could hold her own with the other kids. Also as the years went by, if Mary came to my house to get me, my parents never questioned what we were doing or where we went. They seemed to trust her quiet assurance.  We had bus passes and the municipal library in St. Louis, near the Soldier’s Memorial, became our home away from home.    We were each allowed only 10 books at a time on our library card, but in the summertime by the end of the week, we had read all 20 books. By the time we were starting high school we had devoured many of the classics, the selected works of Shakespeare, and a number of mysteries by Mary Roberts Rinehart. 

Mary helped me choose my first bra in the basement of Famous-Barr department store, and told me the facts of life, because my menses started at school.  She found me crying in the bathroom because I was having a hard time accepting that I was dying at such an early age.

During the summer before our sophomore year in high school, my family moved out of state, and soon thereafter Mary and her family moved to Sikeston, Mo., and we lost contact with each other for about thirty years. 

When I arrived at my new high school, I quickly realized what a boon it was to have known Mary.  As a lonely outsider once again, I just put my head down, concentrated on school, went to summer school and had enough credits to graduate in three years instead of four.  I had managed to get close to one person over the summer, Barbara Jean, and when college started she was the only person I knew. 

The junior college campus was somewhat small at that time, the sun shone 300+ days of the year and everyone seemed to be at ease with each other and happy to be alive.  I realized that I didn’t want to go through life being so out of what I thought would be a more desirable way of living.  I decided to draw on Mary’s ability to overcome her introvert-ish tendencies. I began to smile and say “hello” to everyone I passed.  It worked.  By the end of my first year, I was one of the most “popular” girls on campus, won all sorts of titles, and was elected vice president of the female student body. 

From the surface it all looked grand and wonderful, but inside I was still exactly the same, a loner, an introvert, scared of my own shadow and wanting to be the star of my life, but still suffering terribly every time I had to speak up or out.  Apparently I put on a good act. I graduated as the Most Outstanding Female Student, with a full scholarship to the local university.  Yet, Barbara Jean was my only friend and confidante throughout my college years.

The good news is that I had mastered the extrovert role enough to be able to draw on this experience when I needed it.  It would eventually play a vital part in my future.  But before we get to that, I was destined to spend another 20 years, including a marriage and motherhood, trying to balance being a highly sensitive introvert and a practicing extrovert.  The worst part was being born a Leo and wondering what was wrong with me, for at the core of my being I always felt I was meant to be a contemplative in a monastic environment.

When forced as a single mother to be the major breadwinner, I entered the corporate world as a public relations professional (what irony), and while successful, I always felt like there were rules that I never knew, and no one would tell me.  It was very stressful.  I would drive into my carport each evening and have a good cry before I could go into the house and face my children.  A male friend came by my office one day to take me to lunch.  He told me afterward that as we exited the high-rise building I became myself – and when we returned, as I stepped inside the building – I took on a robotic persona that was the norm for the corporate world at that time, but it wasn’t the real me. That comment stuck with me. 

Some years later when I founded my own public relations firm, it was stressful but I was determined to live by my rules.  I was successful because I was more facile at balancing the role of an extrovert to the degree necessary to set my clients at ease – and to spend time alone to nourish and nurture the inner me.

My writing had always been a vital part of my repertoire and had brought me a level of achievement that was comfortable for me. This ushered in an incredibly wonderful decade of my life.  I helped found and directed a holistic medical foundation which bore the name of my dear friend, life coach and mentor, Dr. Gladys T. McGarey.  I met and worked with many of the leaders of the mind-body-spirit approach to medicine, including the late Elisabeth Kűbler-Ross, M.D, who single-handedly elevated the way humanity thinks of death and dying. She became a dear friend as well as a mentor. 

During that decade of being with enlightened souls who were living their dreams and making a difference in the world, I discovered a new-found peace, and was empowered enough to act on my inner soul urging to turn within.

I retired in 1999, because my husband was in the last years of his final life journey.    I wanted to help us through this challenging time in the most loving and conscious way possible.   To me this meant turning within and seeking a personal spiritual relationship with God.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that committing to that relationship also meant following all the guidance I received, which I was perfectly willing to do to help my husband have a more loving and peaceful death.  Where I resisted and had a grueling emotional time was in realizing that the guidance included publishing books that chronicled my spiritual journey, and that revealed the truth of me at the core of my being. I also had a deep-seated fear of publicity tours required by publishers for commercial purposes, and thought of them as a form of crucifixion. 

Since traditional publishers would have nothing to do with someone who wouldn’t go on the road and sell their books, I knew I would have to be a d.i.y. publisher and totally trust in God. I was also told the Law of Attraction is stronger than advertising and promotion, and those seeking the books would find them.  At the time, this was equivalent to imagining a wheelbarrow on a high wire with an invisible force pushing it and, trusting enough to get in the wheelbarrow.

That’s why it took me a decade to release my latest book, “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart,” which I did in April of this year.  I had to be able to say from the core of my being—that I seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and completely release the book to God.  As long as I had one twinge of desire for what I wanted for the book, or held any trace of fear for what I would have to do out of my comfort zone, I wasn’t able to release it.

I had been told more than once that I would have to become the energy of the book before I could release it.  I finally understood this meant to quit focusing on trying to convince others of the truth, and to focus on becoming that truth. This meant I needed time and space to spend within, creating a closer, deeper, more constant and aware personal relationship with God.

Now I’m just beginning to see and understand that my lifelong journey/travail has been what psychologists call a redemptive life story, because I (unknowingly) accepted obstacles as an opportunity in disguise. Overcoming them to any degree is a sign of mental health and well-being.  In the process I figured out what I was to contribute to the world and got busy doing it. 

Surprise!  Being a highly sensitive introvert was perfect preparation for a contemplative life, communing with God-Nature and writing about the insights I gain to help others on their paths. Every day I give thanks for my life and for getting to do what I love, which feels like swinging on vines and landing softly in the paw-paw patch.   I get it, God.  There are no mistakes.  Thank you.

I was born an original and refuse to be a copy. 
The Real Me is priceless beyond measure.
There will never be another me.

Copyright © 2013 by Fern Stewart Welch
The author's books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart," April  2013; “Tea with Elisabeth," recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; "You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World," 2008; "The Heart Knows the way - How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within," 2008, are available at, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What If Following Your Bliss Is Only a Thought Away?

 “If you touch the phenomenal realm deeply, you touch the ultimate realm, which is Nirvana.  It is God, and it is available to us twenty four hours a day.”     ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I recently returned from a holiday in San Diego celebrating among other things the publishing of my latest book, “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart.” During the trip I began to realize that for the prior few months and throughout the trip, I had been experiencing a longer and higher level of contentment, joy and peace than ever before.  Strangely enough I didn’t become fully aware of this blessing until I returned home and noticed it was slowly slipping away.

Instead of continuing to be at peace with What Is, I was drifting back to the more normal human condition of feeling isolated and separate, which can make us perceive ourselves as inadequate, disgruntled and dissatisfied with our lives.  Wanting to reverse this situation, I quickly turned to the part of me that is committed to seeking a closer, more constant and aware personal relationship with God. 

Even though I had experienced fleeting flashes of inner bliss before, they were few and far between.  When I turned within and asked what am I to learn from this experience, I realized it was to continue serving my life purpose which is to grow through life and share my insights with others.  I already knew that this wonderful state of bliss was so desirable that I wanted to learn how to live in and from this level of consciousness on an ongoing basis. 

Almost immediately I started thinking of biblical stories of instantaneous spiritual awakenings, along with some more recent contemporary examples, and the impatient childish part of me kicked in. I indulged myself for a micro-moment wondering if that kind of instant spiritual transformation might be in the future for me.  But good sense and a strong memory of how long it had taken me to get as far as I had on the spiritual path prevailed.  I immediately gave the child part of me a mental hug that said, “It’s all good.  No worries.”

This was also meant to be a reminder to my inner child, my ego and me of the uselessness of spiritual fantasizing.  I realized I was a budding spiritual seeker when I was 10 years old, and then life happened, and it wasn’t until decades later that in desperation I seriously turned to God and was determined to have a personal connection.  I was successful in doing so in 1999, and after my husband’s death in 2002, I answered yes to the call to become a spiritual warrior of the heart for God.

During all these years, there were a few times when I wondered what it would feel like to be in an accelerated spiritual process.  My Higher Wisdom Self let me know immediately that my soul knew the path, pace and timing of my journey to God.  I was also guided to do daily inner work to release invalid thoughts, beliefs and life patterns to further my ability to align with a higher energy vibration. The changes caused by this release of energies, I was told, would require time to be totally integrated into my body, and the slower pace was to allow this and protect my health and well-being.     

I’m well aware that it took more than a decade for me to heal enough of the doubts, fears and invalid thoughts that created resistance to my finalizing the spiritual warrior book and to releasing it for publication.   From my experience, it’s obvious that we’re meant to follow our own inner timing in preparation for our journey to enlightenment.  I’ve settled into mine and am content with the pace of my individualized process.

I also realized fully that instant spiritual awakenings don’t happen that often, and they usually happen to individuals who – subsequently and sometimes surprisingly to themselves and others – are then fully prepared to step forward and be a light for others.  They willingly do everything in their power to help humanity evolve by lifting the veil a little higher between us and the mysteries of Life. This confirms that my purpose as a word-warrior-messenger is to plumb the depths of my ongoing process and to write about the insights I gain to help others.

Still, because of my recent experience, I wasn’t surprised that spiritual awakenings that touched on bliss continued to intrigue me.  When I returned home, I picked up a copy of a New York Times bestselling book titled, “My Stroke of Insight,” by a Harvard-trained brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

The author, at age 37, experienced a massive stroke that rendered the left hemisphere of her brain unworkable. This is the part of the brain that allows us to talk, walk, read, write and operate in the external world. 

She captured my rapt attention by describing in detail the euphoric bliss she experienced in the right hemisphere of the brain, which she termed “Nirvana,” or God.  This section of the brain is considered the creative/intuitive part that isn’t concerned with the details of living in the external world.

While Dr. Taylor was tempted to live in the blissful right hemisphere, she knew as a scientist that by making that choice it would mean existing as an invalid, in bliss, with no self-awareness or connection with the external world.

After eight courageous years, she was able to fully reclaim her life, knowledge, memory, skills and career. Knowing that the information she shared about her experience was a gift to all spiritual seekers, peace activists and stroke victims, she has embraced every opportunity to spread her message – which is the wonder of being human, and that people can choose to live a more peaceful, spiritual life.

 Now I understand more fully why I am so fascinated by such spiritual transformations; whether they’re instant or not.  It is the heart and soul desire of every spiritual seeker and rational human being to make a difference in the world. When a fellow soul is spiritually awakened and living life fully at a higher level, this is Life-confirming and we are all elevated by it.

When I thought about the widespread acceptance of Dr. Taylor’s book, I realized it is already bringing hope to countless stroke victims who seek to heal from their brain traumas, and this translates as a challenge to the medical profession to change their approach to the care and treatment of those patients.

I believe that such awakenings are a gift from the Universe reminding us that many individuals are needed to turn within and learn to create better lives and a world that works for everyone.  Every human being is destined to evolve into a personal relationship with God, and when it’s our time (whether by choice or desperation) there’s a deep soul urging that rises from the depth of our being that cannot be denied.  This primordial energy activates our desire to create a healthier and more humane world. That’s why we’re here on Earth.

This is also why so many of us are moved and uplifted by Dr. Taylor’s accomplishment.  In a dire situation, she was able to scientifically “map” the physiology (function) of the right hemisphere of our brains as a receptacle of bliss-compassion-Nirvana-God.  I imagined that it’s like an electrical outlet designed specifically for us to plug into when we do so with a true heart and soul desire.   

Her enlightening experience caused me to reflect on my own journey, and I gained the following insights.  I’m now totally clear and greatly relieved that I’m not in line anytime soon for a humongous spiritual awakening.  Actually, knowing the good that has already come into my life – and the fact that my daily d.i.y. approach to God is now resulting in flashes of bliss – this is way more than enough to keep me on the path.  Also I’ve moved past the stress of thinking the only way to connect with God was by somehow controlling my wild monkey-mind.  There were times in the past when sitting quietly was simply an invitation to melt into the moment and I either fell asleep or visited the Twilight Zone.  When I “returned,” I judged myself harshly for being more human than holy.  No more of that negative thinking.

Now when I go within, after walking in nature, reading uplifting words of wisdom, or dancing, or singing along to beautiful music, I know that God-bliss is only a thought away.  And the best part of all is the knowing that whatever does or doesn’t happens is okay and … I can do nothing wrong. I simply speak the following intentions, then in trust and faith … Let Go and Let God:

Today I bring everything I am, was, or ever will be into God.  I claim being open to the evolutionary process of Life.  I claim living in and from God-Bliss-Love-Truth.

Copyright 2013 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart” (2013), “Tea with Elisabeth” (recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction), “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” (Nov. 2008), and “The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” (Feb. 2008), are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Practiced Ear Hears the Song of God in Nature

I sense a deep primordial kinship with the fall season.  As the Earth's energy slows down following the boisterous display of summer, I instinctively know it is time to draw within and spend quiet time in contemplation.  The need is strong, and the sometimes cloudy, cooler days complement this desire.

Lately, I find myself reflecting on the creativity of nature and the similarity of thoughts and seeds.  Whenever I plant a sunflower seed in my small patio garden, I can rest assured that the germinated seed will produce a sunflower.  So too will the thoughts I focus on produce their own likeness, and whether they are deemed desirable or undesirable depends on the quality of my thoughts.  It is important to choose my thoughts carefully so that what springs forth in my life is as dependable and desirable as what flourishes in my garden.

In joyous anticipation of partnering with nature, I pick up my pruning shears and trowel and head for my small back patio garden to view the results of the Southwest desert's harsh triple-digit temperatures. Despite appropriate care, some potted plants have not survived, much like some of my misplaced thoughts and desires. I bless them and with a sigh, scoop them up and recycle them into the earth.

I am heartened though that while some umbrella plants are brown half-way to the base of their sword-like leaves, they are still alive and worthy of continuing attention and care.  I know that with judicial pruning, some plant food and lower temperatures they will have a rebirth and soon settle in -- healthy and strong for the milder winter months.

It is with great pleasure that I notice the gentle breeze that cools my brow and plays a melody on the chimes.  I survey the healthy green of the large jasmine bush and the heavenly bamboo that long ago sent down their roots deep into the earth.  They can easily withstand the summer heat and the cold of winter.

I realize that many of us also seek to anchor our trust and faith into something greater than we are that will sustain us and enable us to not only survive but to thrive despite the traumas, trials and tribulations of life.

For sentimental reasons, I usually plant red tulip bulbs in pots and place them in a box of sawdust in the garage to prepare them for an early blooming period in a process known as "forcing."

Each time the brilliant red tulips reach full bloom in the still-cold days of winter, I honor the many flowering plants that have "nursed" me through trying times in my life.  They serve as gentle reminders to my yearning heart that spring will eventually burst forth once again in all of its full frolicking, rollicking and riotous splendor.

While surveying the ravages of summer on some of the plants, I realized I finally understood my late husband's seemingly blasé approach to flower and vegetable gardening.  As a master gardener as well as a practical  person, he would give the seeds and sprouts all the tender loving care necessary for optimal growth and then say, "Shape up or ship out."

He gave them every chance to survive, but when it became obvious that they weren't going to make it -- into the compost pile they went.  I now find this not only a well-reasoned approach to the mysterious vagaries of plant survival, but to the choices we make in life.  If our thoughts-decisions bring good results, excellent.  If not, we uproot them and choose new ones.

I was initiated into the joys of gardening in childhood by my grandmothers and my favorite uncle, and my lifelong interest was matched by that of my late husband.  They taught me that nature is the true language of our being, and that we can learn from it whatever we need to know about life.

The invitation is always there for us to draw near the bosom of nature.  If we lean close and listen, we can hear the serenade of God, and know that we are part of Creation and one with all life ... dissolving all fears.
Copyright 2012 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart” (2013), “Tea with Elisabeth” (recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction), “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” (Nov. 2008), and “The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” (Feb. 2008), are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Even When You Think the Other Guy Doesn't Deserve Forgiveness – You Do

“How can we ever have peace on the planet if we can’t have it in our own relationships and in our hearts?” ~Bill Ferguson

It’s soul-baring time again, dear readers. As you know, I’m committed to sharing with you the insights I gain while I grow through life’s challenges – or as I’ve learned to view them: opportunities. Well, here is another one. Forgiving those who I thought had wronged me in some way. And this was a big one for me.

For decades, I suffered emotional and mental anguish over a difficult relationship in my family. This was a person close to me; important to me, but even the simplest communication between us could deteriorate into misunderstanding and hard feelings. And I tried everything I could think of for what I hoped would be a remedy or even a gradual change of heart on the other side.

It wasn’t until I decided years ago to focus on the spiritual path that I learned the following truth: If I was the one who was suffering, I was the one with the problem. And no matter what someone else did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, the situation was about me and me alone. And all that suffering I endured was self-inflicted and had nothing, zip, zero to do with the other person.

With this new outlook, I understood why no hoped-for miracle healing between us was ever possible. During all those years of not getting along, I blamed the other person and patiently prayed for them to see the error of their ways. My thinking was: If only that other person would be kinder, more accepting, less judgmental – etc., etc., etc. Now I know that the only result possible from that approach was my ongoing pain, which never lessened and never contributed one iota to resolving the situation.

When I opted to take a higher road, I began to grasp what my inner guidance had been presenting to me for years. I finally accepted that humans are hard-wired by our egos to be right, to win – and to emerge from any conflict as the victor. It wouldn't have been enough for me for the other person to want reconciliation – they also had to know that they had been wrong and the cause of our problems all along. This automatic defensive mechanism causes us to react like robots and to blame others, so we can falsely see ourselves as innocents.

By doing this, according to relationship expert Bill Ferguson, we are literally choosing to sacrifice our own happiness, peace and well-being. With constancy, commitment and desire, it is possible to create a new way of living that requires taking responsibility for our lives and situations. I know. This approach set me on the path of clearing my false beliefs, and actually healing my pain and sadness. I also had to own the fact that I was the only person whose actions and reactions I could change.

Once I opened to taking responsibility for my life, relationships and my feelings around them, it became clear that this also meant accepting other people just as they are and not trying to change them. This is a hard but required first and major healing step. My inner guidance indicated that the next vital step was to initiate a daily forgiveness routine for myself and for the family member with whom I had never been able to have the relationship I desired. I understood that this forgiving could take some time for a full healing, and I had to be willing to stick with it as long as necessary to clear out longstanding negative emotions and resistance.

Here is a forgiveness affirmation that I have used successfully for many years: I fully and completely forgive myself for any real or imagined wrong done by me to me or to _______, past or present. I fully and completely forgive ___________ for any real or imagined wrong done to me past or present. I am free. S/he is free.

Once I was committed to taking responsibility for my own feelings and emotional well-being, and doing the forgiveness work, I could allow in new information on relationship issues to help me on my way. For example, another important step for me was letting go of my long-held and very strong belief that people and life were meant to be what I wanted them to be. It wasn’t easy, but as I began releasing this false requirement I could actually feel a healing – a new way of being – starting to take place within me.

From my experience, I can attest that whether the broken relationship is with a spouse, sibling, significant other, friend or anyone else, this is a viable approach to a true healing. Following this path, however, doesn’t always mean there will be a mutual reconciliation or healing. That other person still has the free will to do as he or she determines. It does, however, mean that through inner work we can free ourselves from the self-inflicted suffering and then, with love and blessings for the other person, move beyond the situation.

The good news in this self-focused approach is that we do hold the power to accomplish this within us. Without the other party’s cooperation or even awareness we can transform a negative situation into at least a benign one. We're the only ones we can change, so why not do that?

Actually I also believe that we come in to be teachers for each other. And I’m positive that this particular worthy and blessed “teacher” – the other person in my unhappy relationship – was and is unaware of my inner turmoil and wouldn’t have been able to relate to it, or understand it or help me in any way. It simply wasn’t their problem; it was mine.

I discovered that in taking back my power over my own feelings my life started working in a more desirable way. Once this major heart-ache and unhealthy distraction was off my heart and mind, I was free to love and bless the other individual from afar, and to spend my time and energy on furthering my life purpose.

Letting go of blame and taking responsibility for our lives seems to naturally create an environment of joy, peace and happiness.

I’ve also learned that as long as we still hurt or wish the situation were different, we have more inner work to do. When there’s no more negative energy-emotion around a situation or an individual, we can trust that we are healed.

Although the above approach is sometimes difficult to accept and difficult to put into practice, the truth is we aren’t here to force others to change to please us, or to point out the error of their ways; or they us. An insight I’ve gained from this and other lessons is that this is the way life on Earth works. The key to healing many of our life challenges is to clean up our own invalid thoughts, beliefs, life patterns and idealized (and false) self-images. This truth can set us free.

I believe relationships and families are universal laboratories in which we learn to love ourselves and others. When we love ourselves enough, we naturally seek positive changes that allow us to create more desirable and effective lives, filling our hearts with joy and love and our minds with blissful peace.

"When my life doesn’t work, I take full responsibility. I love myself just as I am, right here right now, and I love and release all others to their own destiny"


Copyright © 2013 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart” (2013), “Tea with Elisabeth” (recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction), “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World” (Nov. 2008), and “The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within” (Feb. 2008), are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bad News Is Everywhere ... The Good News Is ... We Can Change It

 “Humanity has only scratched the surface of its real potential.”  
 ~Peace Pilgrim

It seems that almost every day the media assault us with news of yet another unconscionable act of deceit, death or violence. So horrifying. So unpredictable. So beyond one person's capacity to understand them – and certainly beyond what seems to be anyone's ability to do anything about them. 

Except that we can. Each and every one of us can make a positive difference in our own behavior and, ultimately, the world that we live in will begin to reflect that. 

We can do more than sit dismayed, shocked and frightened in front of our televisions. We can do more than swallow hard, suck it up and accept that this soul-searing diet of decline in behavior is just the way it's going to be from now on.

For starters, I don’t believe it’s true that out of the seven billion people on Earth, the actions of a relatively few misguided or sick individuals is a fair gauge of humanity as a whole.  I also refuse to believe that we’re stuck with only one “suck it up and swallow it down” response.  

I do believe, however, that too many of us are still waiting for the solution to all our national and global problems to magically come from outside us. From bombs going off in another town to people getting sick from polluted air, we want someone to do something.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that in addition to rising violence in our own backyard, there are serious Earth changes taking place, and the longer we wait to resolve all of these challenges the more harm they will do to our quality of life and the planet we call home.

We need to elevate our media-induced focus beyond the acts of terrorism, murders, and ecological disasters – as horrific as they are – to accept the fact that as individuals we can change our world for the better.  What’s happening now is not set in stone.  Change is the only constant there is. We have the power of our own minds to create our own reality. 

We need to focus our daily thoughts on living peace, harmony and loving kindness as well as on healing the Earth, instead of allowing the media to paralyze our brains, and keep us stuck in the status quo.

If we truly want to have a proactive, positive impact on what happens in our world, we will have to do some evolving of our own. If we want honesty, generosity, fairness and goodwill, then we must live those virtues in our own lives.  If we want a planet that is honored, healed and enhanced by our presence, we have to do as Mahatma Gandhi said:  “We must become the changes we seek to see in the world.”

Many other present-day word-warrior-messengers agree and are now sharing information to help us successfully negotiate the challenges and opportunities that are available in this time of great transition.   Gregg Braden, a bestselling author as well as a scientist, visionary and scholar, is definitely broadcasting the same message: We must help create a new vision for ourselves and our world.

He also confirms that “our help” would consist of making the necessary healing changes in ourselves.  Braden has stated that collectively it would take only 10 percent of the 7 billion people on Earth (700 million) to tip the scales in favor of a future that reflects a gentler, healthier, kinder, and more just and loving world.

Since I’ve been living a self-transformational process for the past decade – in order to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem – I know the first vital step.  Simply go within and ask yourself some questions about the life you are living, and write down what your ideal vision for your life and the world would be.  Then ask your inner guidance how you, by your own everyday actions, can be a part of the emerging new world.  Be patient and take the time to listen, and then act on your own inner guidance.  You will never be sorry.  A journey starts with a single step.

If we exist on Earth at this time, it’s because we’re meant to help ourselves, our country and the world through this process.  In doing this we cannot help but create better lives for ourselves, our loved ones and all others.

I believe from experience that once we commit to being part of the planetary shift toward a healthier and more humane world, we will be peacefully led to everything we need to know, be and do. This is just what naturally happens when we open to the unconditional love, infinite wisdom and guidance within us. 

I claim my full power.  I claim my full potential.  
I claim being part of the solution to the world’s problems.
Copyright © 2013 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart (2013);” “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.

Monday, July 1, 2013

When Pain Is the Teacher, What Is the Lesson?

"I'm sorry, pain is a part of life, and those who can tolerate, understand and eventually come to terms with pain are the ones who live above the rest.  Life is simple but not easy."
                                           ~Mastin Kipp, The Daily Love

As I sat before a blank computer screen trying to figure out how to share my latest insights about coping with health challenges -- without it seeming like an "organ recital" -- a childhood memory bubbled up and resolved the issue.

Whenever we were visiting my maternal grandmother, the moment always came when my folks asked the inevitable question, "How are you doing?"  Now, I loved my grandmother dearly, but I dreaded her response, full of bad news and dire predictions about what it all meant.  And she looked so defeated and shamed by the admissions.  By the time we left for home, a pall hung over us, broken only when my father stopped at a local dairy that sold ice-cream cones.  Then everyone's spirits lifted and life was good again, at least it was in my child's mind.

That memory dovetailed with my recent onslaught of diverse maladies, a lot of accompanying pain and the desire to learn how to cope in a way that was more uplifting, positive and proactive than in the past.  My desire was heightened by the shock of having entered the ranks of those "poor souls" who always seem to be suffering some ailment or injury.

I felt ashamed and guilty and wondered what I had done or not done to set this sad situation in motion.  My friends jokingly suggested that my ever-lengthening list of ailments reminded them of the Bible's long-suffering Job.  I didn't really believe I was having a Biblical experience, but I did think that maybe I could be "on my way out," or simply having a heightened awareness of my body breaking down.  Neither was desirable.

Fortunately, my history reminded me that for more than a decade, I had been committed to growing through life instead of just going through it.  I needed to stop my negative thinking and get back on track.  I knew there was something positive to learn, and I knew that whatever it was would help me and hopefully many others.

Just to be clear -- dealing with my health challenges was not easy.  My problems were, and some still are, painful and potentially serious.  They began with a broken foot, then shingles that segued into post herpetic neuralgia, which is a painful and excruciating aftermath of shingles that 1 out of 10 people fall heir to.  After that as soon as one malady subsided a new one popped up.  I won't repeat the full list because I don't want to "own" these ailments I want to move beyond them--and especially the latest one, infrequent episodes of double vision.

This really hit me hard.  I'm a writer and my eyes are an integral asset for that pursuit.  I had decided years ago that as long as I could get to my computer each day and continue sharing what I learned with others - my life's purpose - I would be a happy camper.  This new malady was the last straw, and the energy within me increased exponentially.  I was now laser-focused on discovering the insights I was to learn from this entire series of unfortunate events.

With that as my intention, I recalled what one of my mentors, the late Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, taught me: "Everything that happens on Earth is for a reason; nothing happens by chance."  She was the world expert on death and dying, and also considered one of the most brilliant women of this or any other century.

Holding that truism to me, I went within and asked my usual question: What am I to learn from this situation?  Once again my inner guidance was there prompting me along my way.  I recalled reading psychologist and bestselling author M. Scott Peck's book titled "The Road Less Traveled" many years ago.  I refreshed my memory with a brief look back at it and was bowled over by his initial statement that "Life is difficult."

Peck went on to explain that when we can't accept the truth that life is difficult, and we keep thinking life should be easy--that's what makes it difficult.  It seems, and it makes perfect sense to me now, that we're here to be challenged by life and what we don't want in our lives is actually the motivator that is meant to push us to evolve into a higher conscious awareness.

The realization that I was living the process of coping with such painful challenges brought me to the following insight.  With each succeeding health condition, I moved more quickly through the moaning and bemoaning (snit fit), met with an appropriate healthcare specialist, made a decision as to what to do - and then moved forward.  In short, I had to stop whining, do something positive about the situation and get on with my life.

"Getting on with it" meant that I was to face each new condition squarely and to hold fast to my heart and soul desire to continue enjoying the best quality of life possible as long as I still breathed.  That realization helped me to accept what is, the key - as Eckhart Tolle says - to positively moving beyond whatever undesirable situation comes up in life.  I was then more able to be grateful for the gift of life, which enhances my self-esteem.  In other words, by choosing not to die until I was dead, I reclaimed my power and went from being a victim to being a victor.

By turning within, fully embracing the process and asking for guidance - and acting on it - I recognized that challenges of any and all types and sizes are to push us to grow through them, increase our conscious awareness and strengthen our spiritual muscles.

I also learned that God's plan isn't for us to accept discomfort, disorder and pain in our bodies and lives as the price exacted for the gift of life.  The plan is for us to consciously increase our positive sense of self so we can overcome the fear of going within and uniting with the unconditional love, infinite wisdom and guidance that is our birthright.  As we do that, we can cope with, and rise above any adverse condition or situation that comes into our lives.

                    "Challenges are what make life interesting
           and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."
                                                      ~Joshua J. Marine
Copyright 2013 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author's books: "Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart" (2013), "Tea with Elisabeth," (recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction), "You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World" (Nov. 2008), and "The Heart Knows the Way--How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within" (Feb. 2008), are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

When You Think You've Reached Your Waterloo ... Think Again

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When my beloved husband began his decade-long final jourrney, it became my mission to help him experience a more conscious, loving and spiritual death.  After years of trying by myself to guide us through this soul-wrenching time, I felt emotionally drained and physically exhausted. 

I had no idea I was also on the brink of a personal transformation that would change my life forever--and lead to the unveiling in this column.

For months, I had beaten myself up because I felt guilty that I couldn't achieve my goal for my husband through sheer will power.  Finally, in desperation I called my friend and mentor, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the world expert on death and dying.  After hearing me out, she told me, "Follow your heart, Fern, your heart knows the way."

That simple but profound advice gave me renewed strength and set me on an unquenchable quest to have a personal relationship with God - My Higher Wisdom Self - or know the reason why not.  The ensuing guidance and support I received allowed me to help ease my husband's transition in a way we both desired.  But there was more to come. 

As a new widow, I had thought the personal relationship I developed with God during those difficult years would end when the need to help my husband no longer existed.  I had done it all for him.  But shortly after his demise, something unexpected happened during my daily journaling.

I received God's call to become a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart.

At first I didn't even know what that meant, and I certainly didn't think I was worthy of such an invitation.  I actually suggested someone else I thought would be a better choice.  Fortunately my Higher Wisdom Self knew the real essence of me, and that this connection is the true heart and soul desire of every human being.

Believe me, as a senior citizen it was beyond my dearest dreams and desires to be faced with such a choice.  However, despite some initial concerns and misgivings, there was no way I was going to turn down this incredible spiritual adventure.

That was almost eleven years ago, and I'm grateful I was able to heal and grow through unresolved issues to the point that I could take another really big step ... completing and releasing this book that chronicles every stage of my heartfelt journey.

The name of the book is "Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart."   And because the world needs many Spiritual Warriors of the Heart right now, I purposely and honestly wrote about my weaknesses and failures as well as my successes.  I learned that at the exact moment our ego tempts us to become disheartened and quit, that is where mastery over our negative self-talk begins.  Victory awaits those who choose self-mastery.

This book is the "trail" I willingly share in the hope of helping others choose this path for their life's purpose.  Travel well, my friends.

"Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart," is available on, on other online sites, at bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, and will soon be available on Kindle.

I never give up and I never give in.  I will keep trying everything until I move forward.  The path of mastery starts when I want to give up.
Copyright 2013 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author's books: "Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart;" "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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"I Want, I Want" ... How to Stop Wanting and Begin Receiving Your Heart Desires

"Start by doing what is necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."  ~St. Francis of Assisi

Recently I felt a strong urge to check out my current list of spiritual desires with my inner guidance.  Over time I had pared down a long list of ego-based needs and desires to what I thought was a short list of true heart and soul desires.  But there was always room for improvement.

Many of us know that when we seek to manifest more good into our lives, such as health, love and financial security, they don't just get zapped on us.  They have to happen THROUGH us--and that requires commitment, focus and consistency.  So it's a good idea to be able to differentiate between our true heart and soul desires - which are always for our highest and best good - and the ego-based wants and needs that will never bring us the happiness, peace and satisfaction we desire.

My daily ritual included listing my spiritual desires in my journal and then reading them aloud to be sure they still resonated within me as truth.  On this particular day, I did that and then asked my inner guidance: Does this list represent my true heart and soul desires?

I claim: 
  • Being more conscious and aware of my personal relationship with God.
  • Maintaining balance of Body, Mind and Spirit so that I can continue to experience life on Earth and fulfill my life's purpose and heart and soul desires.
  • Honing my gifts and abilities so that I can maximize service to God-Life-Truth.
  • Living holy relationships with family, friends and everyone with whom I come in contact.
I waited, and while I waited, I noticed that instead of feeling in alignment with my list, as I usually did, I knew that my inner guidance was going to ask me to release one item.  And I knew it would be the one about holy relationships.  I didn't know why.  I just knew.

As I continued reflecting on holy relationships, I realized I simply wanted my relationships to be mutually loving and beneficial, and less problematic.  I also knew from past experience that before this session ended I would know the difference between what I had and what I wanted - but obviously not just yet.

For just then, to make sure I stayed on track, my inner guidance sent up a dream from the previous night.  A man was visiting my home, and when someone asked him to have a seat in the family room, he suddenly blurted out, "You have a family room?!"

As I let the man's sarcasm sink in, I realized the dream was bringing to my attention that I had a designated "family room, without the loving family relationships I so strongly wanted.  This also brought up old childhood memories of me trying to be perfect in order to receive the care, love and guidance I wanted from my birth family.  And along with that memory came the thought of my first marriage, which ended in divorce and a broken family, that is still somewhat fractured.

When I returned to journaling, my inner guidance asked: If you had to give up one of your spiritual goals, which one would it be?  I automatically started crossing holy relationships off my list.

I was just about to ask why this was necessary when once again, right on cue, another memory popped up to keep me on course.  I recalled that when my spiritual adventure began a decade ago, I was asked to love and release my offspring and their families to God.  I asked my inner guidance at the time if having a personal relationship with God meant having to give up our loved ones.  I was greatly relieved to learn that giving up anyone wasn't necessary, but maintaining balance was.

I quickly recognized that I was still way out of balance in caring and worrying about my adult offspring and their adult families, as well as others in my circle of loved ones.  I often offered assistance before they even asked, and also failed to ask myself whether I was doing something they could or should be doing for themselves, and if my "helping" denied them that opportunity.

I knew then this meant more work on loving and releasing my adult offspring and others to their own destinies.  In doing so, I would also be freed to spend more time fulfilling my own life purpose and heart and soul desires.  I call this "staying in my own car and in my own lane."

It was also time to let go of the false childhood belief that the love I desired could only come from outside me.  I had known intellectually for a long time that the true source of unconditional love, infinite wisdom and guidance lay in the divine sanctuary within us.  Yet I couldn't live that truth until I released childhood directives that blocked me from full acceptance.

I humbly returned to journaling and my inner guidance responded by asking if I was willing to change my focus from wanting what I thought of as holy relationships to helping heal humanity.  I said yes because I trusted the process, and also (thanks to another nudge from my inner guidance) I remembered that part of my original commitment to God a decade ago was to help heal the world, starting with me.

At this point, I was still uncertain about the difference between a loving relationship and a holy relationship. I wrote out the question in my journal and received this answer from my inner guidance.  "A loving relationship between human beings is one of honoring and respecting each others differences and destinies and offering support, as well as the freedom and space to grow.  A holy relationship is between an individual and God.  Those seeking to retrieve their oneness with God-Life-Truth, which is their birthright, also deeply desire to master the spiritual evolutionary process."

After I faced the fact that I had a lot more work to do to fully realize the level of loving relatioships described above, I let the holy relationship issue go and breathed a sigh of relief.

I also realized I had been focusing on what I didn't have in my life, and hugging that lack to me with strong emotional energy. This was a surprise, as I'd known for a long time that when we want something, that automatically places it in the future and therefore it's always out of reach.  When we can change the wanting and bring it into the present by stating either "I have or I claim _______" , a more desired outcome is possible.

Another gift in releasing my focus on mourning what I didn't have in my life was recognizing and being grateful for what progress I have made.  The more I love myself, the easier it is to reveal my authentic self.  And thanks to the Law of Attraction (like attracts like) I draw to me others who are capable of co-creating healthier relationships.  Now I know the more I uncover my true heart and soul desires, and release ego-based wants and needs, the better my life becomes.

Today I claim my heart and soul desires.
I claim the best in life and release the rest.
I am grateful for the good that's come to me ...
and the good that's yet to be.
Copyright  2013 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," are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Live the Miracle of Finding and Being the Real You

When I first began writing essays for the Internet in 2007, I had no idea that my passion and commitment would become focused on chronicling the insights I gained from daily life challenges in order to help others on their own life paths.  Along the way, I came to realize that we're all on a sacred journey to discover how life on Earth is really meant to work, and how to love ourselves and others enough to accept all the Good the world has to offer.

For me, that last part meant several decades of plumbing the depths of my subconscious to uncover the false self-images I concocted as a child to protect myself in what I felt was a lonely, overwhelming and unsafe environment.  And I was very good at it.  Unfortunately, I think I also had help from some unknowing adults who added their own unwise directives into my innocent and wide-open mind. 

Whatever the source of the negative information that was downloaded into my subconscious, I'm finally learning how to recognize and release these defensive and fake barriers so that I can fully live as the Real Me I was born to be.

I'm now able to respond fairly quickly when another layer of a false self-image is seeking my attention.  When a life issue pops up that pushes my confidence buttons, I feel the familiar emotion and frustration that tells me here we are again, and it isn't to be ignored.

For example, I was recently introduced to the work of a young man who is on a similar spiritual path, is a highly successful author-writer-speaker, and about five decades younger than I am.  I was delighted by his gifts, commitment and obvious success, and saluted him with an honest clarity that resonated with every fiber of my being.

When I thought about his wonderfulness the next morning, however, I was shocked and surprised to find that I had slipped back into an old habit of judging and comparing myself to others, and coming up with the short end of the stick.  It seemed he was so much better than I am, at everything.  This felt like a mini-emotional earthquake and once again I was a defenseless child, filled with self-doubt, sadness and shame.

I immediately took out my journal and asked for the truth in this situation, and waited.  The answer indicated that once I could identify the cause and effect of this specific false self-image, I would realize it was no longer appropriate and consciously do what I was led to do to release it.

I was led to sit quietly, say a prayer and go within.  I started the process with a mental and emotional walkabout through my childhood.  I saw in my mind's eye that even though I was born into a large family, I felt alone, defenseless and helpless. It was an added benefit to be experiencing this as the highly-sensitive adult I am now.  This made it easy to understand why as a highly-sensitive child I felt such a desperate need to protect myself.  Also, since discipline in my early life was often delivered with anger, I decided that in order to be accepted loved and secure, I would have to be not just super good but perfect.  Bingo--my first major false self-image.

This insight really hit home because for the major part of my life I had struggled to be "perfect" in the opinion of others in hopes of receiving good in return.  Of course I knew that being without fault isn't possible, but I honestly thought that aspiring to such a state wouldn't hurt anyone and was in some way admirable.

I made a major breakthrough when I learned the undesirable side effects that idealized self-images have on our relatioship with ourselves, others and life in general.  When we are not our true selves, we don't really know us, and neither does anyone else.  This fakery blocks us from fully loving and accepting ourselves, loving others and accepting good into ur lives.  How could it be otherwise, when we don't allow our real selves to be known?

What also amazed me was that the defensive barriers and false self-images I set up as a child continued on automatic.  While as an adult, I became better able to cope with the realities of life, my ego continued these false self-images as the blueprint for my reaction whenever certain buttons were pushed.

Even though I had gradually lost sight of my original decision to be perfect, I still sensed at a deep level that I wasn't good enough and I wouldn't be able to keep it a secret forever.  This lifelong under-the-radar fear of being "out-ed" as a fraud instead of a paragon of humanity had ruled my existence.  Because I couldn't take the risk of failure, of being found out, this false image determined the experiences and the level of success I would allow myself in every area of my life.

And this, my dear friends, is how these idealized and false self-images can and do affect our self-confidence, our relationship with ourselves, others and the amount of good we allow into our lives.

I pray that by sharing this insight from my life, others may resonate with a need to heal and release their own false self-images, and uncover their true identity.  And if they do take on this life lesson, they will learn that the process includes forgiving themselves and any other individuals whose negative actions and words were embedded into their innocent minds.

For this, I use the forgiveness technique I learned from my friend and spiritual teacher, Irene Hunter, author of "The Miracle of Being the Real You."  I freely and wholly forgive myself for any real or imagined wrong done by me to me, or to anyone else - past or present.  I freely and wholly forgive anyone else for any real or imagined wrong done to me - past or present.  I am free. They are free.

I also repeat a daily directed prayer to assist me in continuing to face, feel, heal and release any other idealized false self-images I still hold of myself:  I am authentic and real at the core of my being.  I radiate joy, love, peace and truth, and am open to receiving all the Good the world offers.

In freeing ourselves from false self-images, we become real and open to all of life's positive possibilities, and can live as our authentic selves.  Whether we're consciously on a spiritual path or just trying to make it through our lives with as much good as we can allow, being able to love and accept ourselves as we truly are is the golden key to the most important door we will ever walk through.
Copyright 2013 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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Aging ... and All That Comes With It ... Is a Laughing Matter

During this past year as I was learning to cope with shingles and post herpetic neuralgia, it occurred to me that the constant pain I experienced just might prove to be as the doctors warned--with me for the rest of my life.  At first this possibility saddened me, and then it made me think of the millions of people who have dealt with pain all their lives.  I wondered if any of them had also discovered some non-prescription techniques that can help us cope with not only chronic pain, but also with coming to peace with the inevitable aging process.

I finally recognized that whenever I was doing something I really loved to do, like writing an essay or a book -- or spending time with loved ones -- I was able to totally bypass pain for hours at a time.  This was a gift, as it also reminded me that in accepting this illnesss and other aging signs, I was led to coping with them and being grateful for what I could still do, instead of bemoaning what I couldn't.

I asked Dr. Gladys McGarey, an internationally renowned holistic physician, who is in her ninth decade, about laughter being "good medicine."  She smiled and shared the following facts: Twenty years ago Norman Cousins, a highly respected and longtime editor of The Saturday Review, was diagnosed with a serious systemic disease --ankylosing spondylitis.  He believed that laughter could cure it, and proceeded to rent some Laurel & Hardy, and Marx Brothers videos to watch.  His bestselling book, "Anatomy of an Illness," chronicles his success with his unusual "treatment."

Since then, she explained, scientific studies have confirmed that laughter boosts the immune system, and lessens pain by increasing the level of endorphins, the body's natural pain killer.  It also supresses epinephrine, the stress-producing hormone, lowers blood pressure and has a beneficial effect on overall well-being.  Doctors and scientists are also proving that an individual's belief in the modality they select to use has an affect on the desired result.

What a wonderful, confirming bit of news.  I learned that it's possible to just start laughing out loud, in the privacy of my home, and to continue until I feel my energy shift to a higher vibration, which means a more positive outlook on life.  I've also learned that whether it's me or a friend who is coping with pain and/or aging symptoms, when I call them up and focus on lighthearted conversation, we both feel better.  Also the laughter that ensues from a funny movie, or video, or TV program can work wonders for our intention to stay on the sunny side of life.

Personally I have always considered laughter one of my favorite life gifts.  I can burst out laughing at the drop of a feather.

For example, recently I was getting ready for bed and had just removed my glasses, so I'm now dependent on my "old" eyes.  Suddenly something landed on my forearm.  I couldn't see if it was a centipede, a moth or a small scorpion -- the poisonous type.  As I moved my hand to brush away the intruder, it swooped gracefully down to the carpet.  I quickly grabbed a hard-cover book and pinned the culprit to the floor.  For good measure I jumped, well, stomped on the book several times.  I decided I'd had enough excitement for one day and would wait until morning to view the "body."

When I awakened I went to the bathroom for a "burial tissue," put on my glasses, and gingerly removed the book to reveal my prey.  There on my beige short-pile rug lay not a fanged, horned stinging creature ready to take a bite out of me, but instead a small feather, probably an escapee from one of my pillows.  I smiled to think of all the adrenalin and drama I had conjured up in my mind.  I picked up the feather with the tissue and deposited it in the great-white eddy, toilet, and flushed it away.  The ridiculousness of the situation settled in and up bubbled laughter that was so full I had to hold onto the nightstand.

My body was energized by the laughter, and my heart and mind were now prepared for more of the same.  What a wonderful way to begin a day.  Now I know that not only can laughter overcome pain for hours at a time, it can also serve as an open door to understanding that aging is no less a sacred gift than being born.

Several months ago I began experimenting by sharing my aging symptoms ("badges of courage") with friends and family.  After I told my "feather" story and tossed in such realities as receding gums, cataracts and low energy, they smiled as if to say, "I can top that," and proceeded to do so.  The complaints included the usual, from grey hair to losing hair, hearing, and vision, together with all the challenges related to assimilation, circulation, digestion and elimination, and finally skeletal problems.

The interesting thing is that the conversations always included laughter.  I firmly believe the dynamic that results from such openness creates a bond that accepts aging as "what is," laughts about it, and puts a lighter spin on it.  In that moment our shared heritage and destiny unites us and suddenly -- in this terribly disconnected world we're feeling warm and fuzzy, and connected.

I figure since aging is mandatory, and pain seems to be high on the list of maladies, why not use them as gifts to learn from, and to celebrate our conscious awareness by putting more fun in our lives.  This could lead to a lighthearted wiggle in our walk or a secret sparkle in our eyes, which would brighten our day and give younger people hope for the future.

To tickle your funny bone and strike your fancy, here are a few of my favorite, funny, inspiring and lighthearted quotes on aging:

You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there.      ~George Burns

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in 70 or 80 years.  Your body changes, but you don't change at all. ~Doris Lessing

To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful and reverent -- that is a triumph over old age. ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Once you are over the hill, you begin to pick up speed. ~Charles M.  Schulz

You don't stop laughing because you grow old.  You grow old because you stop laughing.  ~George Bernard Shaw

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work it's way through Congress. ~Will Rogers
Copyright 2013 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 booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.