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Final Lessons in Authority

by Fern Kazlow, EdD


Owning your authority, trusting yourself, is central to becoming all you
can be. It’s a key element for gaining health and wealth throughout your life.

As a teacher, a guide, a mentor, owning my own authority is essential, and
I’ve been given many lessons in life to help me do so.

While I have learned to trust myself more and more over the years, there were still aspects of self-trust that I needed to confront as I help others increase their own personal power.

Recently, I got a lesson that I will never forget – one that taught me to trust myself even more completely and to be able to help others to trust themselves more fully as well.

A Special Messenger

It happened unexpectedly.

I wasn’t looking for a dog at the time. We already had a family dog. Yet, I began to see a little dog’s face whenever I closed my eyes. And I knew I had to find her. So I started contacting breeders. When a breeder told me about one particular dog who was five months old, I said I didn’t want to see her. She was too old. I always got all my dogs when they were seven to ten weeks old.

Several weeks went by. Finally I said, "Send me her picture." There was the face I had been seeing. No question about it. From that moment, my dog Gemma was a constant in sessions and in my personal life.

Gemma was special – a four pound dog with a big heart. She was all love; she helped train our dogs, the little ones and the big ones that were many times her size. Gemma always modeled love, acceptance, and patience – for me, my family, my clients. My clients commented that she brought a feeling of peace, centering, and confidence to therapy or consulting sessions, groups and workshops. She was an incredible example of living from grace.

Quiet and steadfast, her presence was huge and filled with love. I started to refer to her as my little heart dog.

Gemma had been with me only a short time when she began to have odd health
issues - every so often, Gemma would topple. We thought perhaps she had been knocked over by one of our bigger dogs or fallen in excitement. Neither theory seemed right, but medically nothing showed up – even when she went down twice and didn’t get up, needing medication to revive her. I
was sure that it was her heart – kind of ironic for my little heart dog.

A Painful Lesson

Well, in the last few years, despite seeming older and less playful than I would have liked, she seemed pretty stable. I began to hope that healing, medicine, God, and Love had extended her life beyond what seemed likely.

It was not to be. One night in the middle of May, Gemma began to have trouble breathing. I knew – I had seen it before in my other dogs – that her heart was going. When my vet examined her the next day, he found "a significant heart murmur" that surprised him in how quickly it had
developed. We planned to do more extensive testing.

I asked for the medical prognosis – he said normally a year, worst case about 4 months. But, he said she might live much longer – particularly in our house, where my husband and I had healed many pets for the last 25 years. And my husband truly thought we could bring her through a few more years.

Sadly, I knew that Gemma was going to fade quickly. But speaking to my vet two days later, he reassured me that she would be fine, and I went out for a day full of errands in preparation for travel. I saw she was struggling, but I listened to others instead of listening to myself.

She died while I was preparing for my trip. This was the first time in over 45 years of having dogs that I wasn’t there when one died. And she wanted me there. In her final hour, she searched the house for me, finally asking my babysitter to pick her up, looked him in the eyes, giving a final message – and died.

In her last days, Gemma taught me some crucial life lessons. I listened to my husband and my vet instead of myself. Why wouldn’t I? My vet had more than proven himself to me over the years, and my husband has helped create miracles with our dogs, birds, even fish.

But in listening to them, I gave up my knowingness. I knew my dog and I knew how sick she was. I handed my trust to others rather than listening, evaluating and following my own counsel.

How to Trust Yourself

How do you know whether to follow your own counsel or that of others –
especially when the advice is from an "expert"? Unfortunately, here is no black and white answer, but it does get easier with practice and following some simple guidlines.

To start, notice how you feel when you listen to someone else’s advice. Do you you feel off or out of sync when you think about following it? Ask yourself if following this advice feels right. Look for feelings of tension, anxiety, or the sense of a weight on you. You might feel like your energy just plummets when you think about taking those actions.

A question I find helpful to ask is: "If things don’t work the way I’d like, will I be more at peace having followed the advice of others or following what I believe to be true?"

The first step to owning your authority is clarity and knowledge. To be clear, it is important that you learn to become neutral. This doesn’t mean that you are detached. Rather, you must let go of judgments and preconceived notions so that you can truly see and accept the situation as-is. In doing so, you will not be weakened by the outcome.

Neutrality is the key to knowing the difference between intuition and truly knowing, or wisdom. An excellent way to cultivate neutrality is to make the decision to pay attention to whether or not you are in alignment - whether you feel like your best self. If not, an easy way to shift this is to think about a vertical line down the front of your body. Take some breaths and allow yourself to move into a stronger, clearer, state. Once you are there, then determine the path you should take.

Imagine living from a place of wisdom, owning your authority, taking responsibility – and how will that impact your health, relationships, financial success, peace of mind. Imagine giving away your power, and think how that might impact those same aspects of your life.

To me the choice is clear. In the future, I will pay better attention and follow my wisdom. There are times when all evidence points in another direction. That is the time when it takes courage to follow your own
knowing. I’ve discovered that I would rather err following myself than someone else.

I got the lesson.

Thank you Gemma. You will be missed

Dr. Fern Kazlow, Ed.D., is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. A licensed clinical psychotherapist, she founded Integrative Therapy and Integrative ActionTM in 1981. She has served as mentor and consultant to health professionals, entrepreneurs, Wall Street executives, and business professionals. Dr. Kazlow founded the Rapid Wealth SystemTM to increase your income and expand the riches throughout your life. The Predictable Jackpot: Secrets of the Rapid Wealth System is the first part of her home study program and is available now. For more info visit www. drfern kazlow.com or email info@drfernkazlow .com.


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