Wisdom Workout


Hostage Hall

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

When major life transitions visit us, it can feel like we are walking a tightrope with no net. Worry and self-doubt are natural companions when life as we know it takes a sharp turn. Unexpected changes and troubles all transpire to test our core solidity.

Surviving a life-quake gives us an opportunity to assess where we are and uncover what within us must be enlivened and what must be released.

The task of building anew takes all the energy we can amass. This funding of core personal power often starts with a wake-up call from a life that is stuck in some variation of: “I don’t feel bad, but I don’t feel good either.” This state of limbo can only last for so long. Then it is time to venture out and walk new paths.

If life to date has hurt and scarred you but your instincts tell you that this is an opportunity to wizen rather than whither, it is time to find your unique inner path and begin from there.

Imagine that you are standing with your feet firmly planted on a wide and solid path. You are facing forward.

As you connect with this path, notice also how you are feeling about the prospect of moving forward. Do you feel apprehensive, hesitant, frightened, mildly interested, cautiously hopeful, excited, enthusiastic, curious or a combination of all of the above?

Do you want to shrink back and turn your attention away from any thoughts of what the future holds for you? These feelings of hesitation and heaviness are not unusual. It just means that you are still tied to situations from your past that didn’t turn out the way you wanted them.

Now that you have found your path, turn around and look back for a moment. Just behind you is a large stone building sitting squarely on your path. This building has bars on the windows and a thick pad-locked door with a sign over it that says: Hostage Hall. This is an imaginary jail that you have been unconsciously dragging around with you as you struggle to move forward in your life. This jail contains everyone that you believe has harmed you and held you back from your true happiness.

As you approach your hostage hall, you will notice there is a wooden bench just to the right of the locked door. Take a moment to sit down. You have an important decision to make. Are you willing to open the door with the large iron key that is dangling from the hook near you and let your hostages free? It will require that you no longer use them as an excuse for your unhappiness.

When they are freed, you will be free. Free to take ownership and responsibility for creating a quality life that uniquely suits you. If you are willing to take on this challenge, here are some specific directions on how to approach it.

When you open the door, have each person leave one by one. Allow the first person to appear on the threshold, look them in the eye and say: “I forgive you and release you because I want my power back.” Continue with each person until your hostage hall is empty.

What if you don’t want to or can’t forgive them? Try a second strategy. Look them in the eye and say: “Get out! I am taking my power back.”

The point of this exercise is simply that when we tie our energy up resenting and blaming people and events from our past, we are too burdened to move forward. Too much unresolved resentment makes life a struggle and clouds our vision with cynicism and deadening attachment to old, horror stories.

Let go as much as you can. Center your feet on your new path. Gently turn your eyes toward new horizons. Open up, accept, embrace and take ownership of your considerable personal power. Leave your hostage hall in the dust and with a newfound lightness, allow your future to unfold with grace and ease.


Susan is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Connect with her atsusanvelasquez.com.





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