Monday, March 24, 2014

How I Learned (Painfully) That Patience Isn’t Just a Virtue … It Can Also Keep You Out of the Hospital

“Self-love is the key to patience, persistence and success.”   ~Unknown

I’ve been wrestling with the reality of patience vs. impatience for many years – with healthy signs that I’m making progress.  But I still experience times like the following situation, when I wish with all my heart that I had stopped and asked myself: If I really loved me, what would I do right now?

After grocery shopping for an hour, I arrived home with a trunk full of bags to unload by myself, and the awareness that I would have to put them all away.  I was tired, my patience exhausted, and all I wanted was to get this chore over with and sit down to relax.  I grabbed two of the last four bags in each hand, noticing that the ones in my right hand each contained a half gallon of milk.  I didn’t think about those heavy bags, just that if I could close the trunk of my car right then, I wouldn’t have to come back out to the garage to do it.

Reaching for the trunk lid, I swung my right arm up above my head, attempting a Michael Jordan slam dunk, grabbed the lid and pushed down.  But it took more strength than I had with the weight of the milk containers and I knew as soon as the lid slammed shut that I had hurt my shoulder.  By the next day, the pain had not abated so I sought medical help.  I had a moderate injury to my rotator cuff that would not require surgery, but would take time to heal, and I would have to limit the use of my right arm, including not being able to drive for a while.

Why was I in such a hurry that I abandoned good sense, acted without thought and chose to do something that would compromise my well-being?  If I had taken a moment to think, had a moment’s patience, I would have realized that what I was doing was not only risky but unnecessary.  Surely I had already had enough not-so-good experiences with impatience in my long lifetime to learn this lesson.  I can remember as a child my great-grandmother, Amanda Hampton Crownover, would wag her pointer finger at me and say, “Act in haste, repent at leisure.” Was I ever! Ouch!

Yet, when an issue, such as patience, or the lack of it, sticks in my consciousness, and won’t go away, I know it’s an indication that it’s way past time to focus on this lesson.  My modus operandi is to turn within and realize any insights, apply them in my life to assist me on my spiritual journey, and to share them with other interested souls who also seek to know how life on Earth is meant to work.

As the thoughts began to gather around the current issue – my lack of patience – I recalled that in at least three instances over the past few years, my impatience resulted in some totally unnecessary, minor – yet painful and inconvenient – health challenges.  Many seniors would just chalk those experiences up to aging and let it go at that.  Not me.  I want truth.

When I asked my inner guidance what I’m to learn from these situations, I was told that if I want to continue experiencing life on Earth, I have to take better care of the sacred vehicle (body) that allows me to do so.  As usual, part of that aspect had to do with getting the maximum nutritional value from the foods I ingest, and also exercising a little every day to keep all the organs functioning at an optimal level.  I’m seriously working on each of these.

But the most important – as well as the most surprising, and vital bit of information – was that I needed to face, heal and release the mental and emotional aspects of me that cause the impatience.  In other words, the major insight in this specific situation turned out to be that I evidently had much more inner work to do on loving myself.

Actually, I honestly thought that after all the years of daily inner work I’ve done to heal and release the childhood feelings of being undeserving, unworthy and unlovable, that I was now nearly “home free.”  Not so.  Evidently I still have layers of undesirable energies that if I want to keep moving forward on the spiritual path, need to be acknowledged and worked with until they too are in alignment with what is for my highest and best good.

As I began the process of plumbing the depths of me to discover insights about my impatience, naturally the first thing I thought of was what I, and perhaps others, consider the real-world definition of patience.  It goes something like this:  Patience means gritting our teeth, digging in our heels and putting up with some undesirable and negative condition, person or situation.

Now I know that while some of this may be true, it’s obvious that there’s a lot more to the full meaning of patience than most of us realize.

After several days of soul-searching and no instant insights, I realized that the only way I was going to make any progress was by going within and looking at my own life.  The first thing that popped up was the fact that when I answered God’s call to be a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart more than twelve years ago, it took not only great daily patience but also long-term persistence (and faith) to stay on my spiritual path.  It wasn’t and still isn’t always easy to stay strong and face the challenges and blockages that pop up from the core of my being.  More often than not, it was extremely humbling.  But the patience and persistence I have managed to gain continue to help me stay lovingly present and conscious of what is happening on my spiritual path so I can open to the insights and fulfill my purpose by sharing them to help others on their life journeys.

As to my inner work, after going within and releasing any negative feelings about my periodic “attacks” of impatience, I released any unloving feelings about myself.  At that point, I got it that patience in its true fullness means first and foremost that we are to be patient with ourselves.  This also means being compassionate, and forgiving, and loving ourselves at every opportunity, because we are all works-in-progress, and we deserve all the help we can get.

What I believe we all need to remember is that we have our human aspect and our Godly side.  While we are human and can choose to express anger, fear, impatience and jealousy, we also have and can express the God-qualities of compassion, caring, joy, love, patience and persistence.  I consider myself reminded Big Time that patience means being loving to me first.  This opens up the opportunity to give any decision the time it needs before I abandon loving myself and act impatiently.

The other insight I gained was that when we can grow into having patience with ourselves and the process of life – whether or not we’re committed to a spiritual path or just want to create a better life – we will automatically realize that self-love is a vital part of our truth and that it requires daily practice.  Actually our universal life mission is to truly love ourselves.  It’s been said throughout eons of time that before we can love another we have to love ourselves.

Oh, BTW, if I had had the patience in my garage to put those heavy things down and to ask myself the question: “What would be the loving thing to do?”  The answer would have been that a truly self-loving person would never consciously choose to risk injury just to save a few moments of time.  Knowing what I know now, I choose to strengthen my self-love, and to claim that patience and persistence guide my life.  I can hear my beloved great-grandmother saying: “Finally, better late than never.”

      I daily claim and practice self-love, patience and persistence.  
With patience I hold on, hold fast and hold out for the best life has to offer.
Copyright © 2014 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,” (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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Oh, God! Here I Go Again" or "Thanks, God! Here I Grow Again" ... The Choice Is Up to Us

The difficulties of life are to make us better, not bitter.” ~Unknown

Some of you may recall that I have previously written about a fractured family relationship that has caused me great heartache and sadness for decades.  Unfortunately, I experienced another emotional episode with that same person a while ago.  This time, though, after years of spiritual work, instead of being hooked into the same-old, in-kind reaction, I knew I was okay enough to not only withstand the barrage of anger but to do something about it.  OMIGOD.  What a breakthrough.

I immediately remembered that it takes two people to keep this negative cycle going, and only one to stop it  At that moment I promised myself I was going to be the latter.

Being unaware of the source of the breach between us, I tried many times through the years to ask the person for forgiveness, but to no avail.  Back then I thought it was because she enjoyed having the power to deny my hope for reconciliation.   Now I know it’s because I was meant to recognize the fact that if I’m suffering, it’s my problem, and I need to heal enough to allow whatever I’m holding onto to be faced, felt, and released.

While my inner guidance provided me with the Inner Work technique to use in such situations years ago – the truth is that I seldom saw this individual – so I turned within to focus on this issue only when I was the recipient of another emotional outbreak.    By then, I would be so upset by the depth of the emotions within me that I just wanted to get past it.

This time, however, I knew instantly that I was through with being a handy target for these emotional outbursts and was determined to learn my lesson, grow through it and come to peace with this issue.  I went into prayer and after centering myself, I realized that my inner guidance was urging me to re-read one of my favorite books.  It was by Arun Gandhi, the fifth grandchild of Mahatma Gandhi, and is titled “Legacy of Love – My Education in the Path of Nonviolence.”

Not only did I re-read several chapters, I clearly recalled being at Arun’s presentation that evening back in 2010.  Since I thought that I was in for a history lesson about India’s trials, tribulations and victories, I didn’t expect it to touch me personally.  I was wrong.

His profound insight was that humanity views violence as only physical, therefore missing the awareness that we daily contribute to passive violence.

According to Arun, we do this in many oppressive and disrespectful ways, including gossiping, name calling, blaming, bullying, teasing and insulting, as well as venting our anger on others. As I remembered this statement, I realized immediately that there’s probably not a person on Earth who hasn’t at one time or another unknowingly indulged in some form of passive violence. 

He explained that passive violence generates anger because the target doesn’t know how to deal with it positively, and the only option seems to be to resort to some form of physical violence, or to keep stockpiling resentments.  So, I was actually adding fuel to the fire of my undesirable situation by blaming the other person.  Now I see why no healing was ever possible under those circumstances.

The next insight I gained was that this dysfunctional relationship was somehow linked to my early-childhood experiences in a large family that left me feeling unlovable, unworthy and vulnerable.  This was surely the reason that as an adult I was addicted to being treated with loving kindness and respect.  And when the reality of the unkind and disrespectful relationship with this individual didn’t fit my desires, I reacted with animosity, blame and a prayer that she would eventually learn her lesson and act accordingly.

I seized this latest opportunity to clear and release this sad situation for all time.  I immediately began daily forgiveness work for each of us.  When I began to feel centered, and could come from a level of love for the other person, I started the Inner Work.

After an unusually powerful and tearful energy release, my inner guidance drew me back in my mind’s eye to when my “adversary” was a newborn baby.

My first thought was if this is to “soften” me up, it won’t work.  I was born the seventh of ten children.  And while I loved babies and had enjoyed (most of the time) being in charge of my younger brother and sisters, I was only eight-years-old and just wanted to be free to play outside with the rest of the kids.  When my mother appeared, she took the infant from the baby’s mother and placed her in my arms, indicating that she had volunteered me to care for the baby after school each day and on the weekend.  I was overwhelmed.

I sensed it wasn’t wise to speak up, because my mother made it quite clear the baby was “sickly” and the mother needed help, and we were “family.”  I decided to do what I had to do, but as I girded myself for this unwanted act of charity, I also actually felt a slight hardening of my heart toward this infant.  Just then I got the message my inner guidance was orchestrating.  I had rejected this fellow human being from the beginning, and I had to accept 100% responsibility for my part.  She had chosen to give back to me (unknowingly) the rejection I had set in motion.

When I started to judge myself harshly for what I had done, my inner guidance stopped me in my tracks.  I was to ask myself these questions: Did I do the best I could as a young child? (Yes.) Did I see life differently then? (Yes.).  Did I know then what I know now? (No.)  Would I have acted differently if I had?  (Yes.)  Am I willing to forgive myself for making a mistake, and not realizing the consequences it set in motion?   (Yes.)

At that moment, I relaxed into the process totally, for I knew from past experience that I was being guided into the insight-healing I sought. I was now face to face with the infant, looking directly into her sparkling blue eyes.  I was also the adult I am now, and was captivated by how lively she was, for I knew the life challenges she would face.  As she smiled and gurgled her way into my heart, I felt the plate of armor dissolve and love flowed freely through me to her. WOW!

I recalled soon after the visioning, that by the time this baby was two-years-old, and I was 10, I had chosen the path of love for my life journey.  As a result, I spent many hours – and most of the money I made, (25 cents an hour) from babysitting neighbor children – in trying to add joy to her life as she faced continuing health challenges.

I also realized once again how powerful our thoughts are and the importance of mastering them to assure they yield desirable instead of undesirable results.

When I fully accepted that I was totally responsible for my part in this situation, and my counterpart was 100% responsible for her reactions and responses, I vowed to continue the Inner Work and claimed freedom from this issue for all time. (See the Inner Work steps in the February essay or on the author’s Web Page at:

Hip, Hip, Hurray and Hallelujah!  What a gift, and it couldn’t and wouldn’t have happened until I chose to face the truth and to grow through life instead of continuing to suffer through it.

I meet every life experience by smiling, standing tall and saying: Thanks God, here I grow again.
Copyright © 2014 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,” (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.