Guest Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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A Sense of Mastery

Susan Velasquez

Meeting our safety and security needs often takes much of our personal focus. As we progress, the next natural step is to explore how to bring wholeheartedness into our daily lives.

Wholehearted living requires us to deepen our emotional sincerity by surrendering our protective pretenses. When we seek to live fully connected to our emotions and mental abilities, we adopt authenticity as a top value.

Imagine traveling along a winding road with signage that names it your Unique Life Path. You are simultaneously riding two horses, like a circus performer who has mastered the art of standing up with one foot planted on each horse’s back. The horse on the right is called Looking Good, and the one on the left is named Feeling Good.

Looking Good and Feeling Good want to learn to synchronize their pacing so that you, the rider, get two main benefits. When partnered successfully, you reap the rewards of position power in the world from Looking Good and personal power/inner solidity from Feeling Good.

The problem is that Looking Good tends towards domination and over-control. Looking Good seeks protection by trying to be right, better than and a winner at all times.

Looking Good is always striving for perfection and is relentless in the pursuit of more, bigger and better results.

Feeling Good gets fatigued with Looking Good’s inability to be satisfied. The push for perfection is anxiety-producing and all-consuming. Sometimes Feeling Good intentionally slows down in silent protest. As a result, your ride becomes precariously uncomfortable.

Feeling Good has dreams of sauntering down the path while occasionally stopping to nibble clover on the side of the road. Feeling Good likes to be productive but also loves variety and loses a vital zest for living when subjected to Looking Good’s constant pushing and prodding.

Looking Good spent many years as a racehorse. If you didn’t win, place, or, at least show, you were in danger of being sold off and labeled a loser. The thought of this is unbearable to Looking Good, so even though there is no race on the personal path of life, Looking Good keeps blinders on, striving to meet the next obsessive goal.

Let’s stop here and assess the quality of your ride. Is Looking Good still setting the pace of your daily ride while Feeling Good is being dragged unhappily forward?

Is Feeling Good resentful and stuck with a chronic attitude problem? It may be time to create a truce between your Looking Good and Feeling Good horses. At this point, it might be worth taking the reins to give Looking Good and Feeling Good a renewed purpose to become equal partners in creating a more satisfying ride.

Resolve to let go of seeing your life as a never-ending problem to be solved. Decide to embrace each day as a new opportunity to practice the art of thriving. Use your feelings as an internal compass to let you know how Looking Good and Feeling Good is communicating. Validate your accomplishments and learn to pace yourself, so you discover your unique and personal rhythm, timing and tempo.

Wholeheartedly embrace the worthwhile task of reining in your runaway need for unrealistic perfection while encouraging your feelings to add vitality and emotional sincerity to everything you pursue.

As you learn to be both productive and emotionally solid, your sense of personal mastery will blossom naturally into a wholehearted involvement and commitment to the quality and not just the quantity of your life.

Susan has over four decades of experience writing and facilitating experiential leadership seminars. She is the author of BEYOND INTELLECT: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.

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