Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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A Self-Mastery Shortcut

By Susan McNeal Velasquez 

Imagine waking up tomorrow with a solid sense of who you are minus any of the residual pain from past decisions that didn’t turn out the way you wanted. You would be solidly connected to your present reality; capable of successfully managing your life with clarity and confidence. You would be able to say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no, without hesitation or confusion. 

 If it was possible to revisit every choice from your past when you said yes, but you really meant no, you would be able to uncover your choices that were made to manage your image. 

You would discover that you said yes to get others’ approval, to people please, to turn over control, and to give up your commitment to your own needs, values, thoughts and feelings in favor of trying to fit in or look good.

If you could revisit the past and find every time you said no to opportunities and situations when you really wanted to say yes, you would discover how you turned down the volume, dimmed the lights and closed the door to your heart’s desires. You would uncover how you allowed your enthusiasm and anticipation of future happiness to be reduced to a trickle.

If you could get a readout of every time you said yes when you really meant no and no when you really meant yes, you would have an extremely accurate road map of how you became who you are today.

Self-mastery comes from the ability to stand in the present, aware of the fact that the point of our personal power to choose is rooted here. When we commit to fully living in the present, our past can then visit us to bring gifts of insight into where we made choices out of fear or ignorance and what prices we paid, and benefits we received as a result.

It takes courage to hone the skill of cutting through the debris of our past like a fine surgeon who doesn’t cut unless he is also willing to suture a wound. The past longs to gift us with usable insights that, when melded into our present, will give us the wisdom to make broader, more discerning choices today. 

There is alchemy at work when our past, our present and our future convene in the present moment. Does this seem like an impossible task? Is the thought of welcoming your past home feel overwhelming to you? Are you holding yourself hostage to what you term unredeemable mistakes? Are you living out a prison sentence by shuffling through the present, unwilling or unable to envision a future that is alive with enthusiasm and renewed purpose?

I want to share an important secret with you. There is a shortcut that can free you from the debilitating aspects of a too serious approach to taking ownership of all aspects of your life.

Identify one clear recent incident from your present reality that you can genuinely state: “ I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.” It may be the experience of a person, a place, a situation, a job, a vacation, a one-time interaction, or simply a kiss from Grace that ignited your body, mind, heart and spirit simultaneously.

Just one of those moments, clearly embraced, acknowledged and owned gives you a renewed platform and opportunity to create anew. Why? Because it is logical. This perfect moment would not and could not have happened without each and every previous moment that came before it, whether judged harshly as bad or good, right or wrong. Our past is. Our present is. Our future is seeded in this present moment. The point of your power is in the present. Gather up all the delight in life you can and courageously step into your future today.

Susan has taught leadership development skills for more than three decades. She is the author of Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Find her at: susanvelasquez.com.

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