Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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An Invitation to Life

Today we are faced with unprecedented restrictions. Mounting threats impact our safety and security and restrict many freedoms we take for granted. Our emotional responses can shift from confusion, insecurity, and low-level depression to feeling out of control because the future is unknowable.

Since we are collectively being forced to face the unknown, let’s examine whether there is a deeper part of us that habitually holds back from fully participating in our lives, even before the current restrictions.

Imagine spiraling back to childhood memories to recapture your innocent excitement about life. Remember when you couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and were never ready to go to bed? Remember getting new sneakers and knowing that you really could run faster. Remember seeing animals in the clouds on a summer day? Remember climbing a tree to the highest branches and then being frozen with fear on the slow, treacherous way down? Remember fierce fights with friends. Remember laughing and making up crazy games with your best friend of the moment. Remember star light, star bright and making wishes you knew would come true.

Now bring your mind back to the present. Bring your remembered exuberance as you answer these questions. What is missing from your life? What could you do that would lighten and brighten your attitude? What would you need to let go of to allow you to embrace new experiences of the delightful kind?

The reasons for squelching pleasure are many. “It’s not practical. No time. No money. Too frivolous. I’d feel too uncomfortable.” The real issue is that we have forgotten how to be fun or have fun. We are boring, numbed out and on automatic pilot, trudging through our endless lists of roles and responsibilities. We are locked into being adults. We’re about big changes. We are waiting for just the right time and then: “watch out world.”

Our inner longing says: “When can we?” and we reply: “Not just yet.”

This is where a shift in perception is needed. Profound shifts come in small, intentional ways. Simple experiences fully embraced feed the exuberant child within.

Now remember teenage years. The thrill of simply holding hands. Tender kisses. Walks on the beach. Slow dancing. The electricity of attraction. Intensely listening and being listened to while trying to first time talk about new, unexplored feelings.

Remember the exquisite, tumultuous, heart-stopping, and hopeful experience of first love? Remember the pain when the rocket of heightened sensing and experience fueled by impossible expectations came crashing down and landed in a rubble of dreams turned to ashes.

Why would I ask you to recall the pain? The key to our disowned passion is hidden in the ashes of our worst disasters.

When we directly face the heart hurts of our lives, we have a chance to grab the elusive brass ring. When we admit and own that we have been hurt, a miraculous thing happens. We start to realize that we are still here.

We are not damaged, used up or broken. When we accept that we are whole, we can actively participate in the creation of the next phase of our lives.

The task before us is to become an awake, aware person with new choices to make.

The simplest truth is that we each have the right to say yes or no to life. The truly miraculous gift is that life continues to invite us moment by full, rich, potent moment.

Susan is a local author and leadership development facilitator. susanvelasquez.com.

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