Wisdom Workout


Have a Heart


By Susan McNeal Velasquez.

This week, as I read our letters to the editor, I noticed that our reputation as a hospitable, tolerant, free-spirited environment seems to be getting a bit tarnished. At the same time, the wondrous opportunity to experience heart-felt connections was also validated.

Is this simply different points of view colliding? Is it the ideal clashing with the real problems that any group of individuals trying to live in community have to confront?

The purpose of this column is to contribute to and expand our thinking about how to live fully and love well. Therefore, let’s explore the benefits of marrying the real with the ideal so that new levels of creative solutions can be birthed.

The imagery associated with the heart usually links it to love, passion, feelings, emotions, and the softer side of life’s experiences. The intellect is associated with knowledge, intelligence, information gathering and the production of tangible outcomes. We need both, in harmony, to lead a life of fulfillment and success.

In our fast moving, make-it-happen society, matters of the heart are often relegated to a back-seat position. As a result, the more production-oriented we become, the more in danger we are of signing up and committing to a life devoid of heart.

What do I mean? The amount of information we are subjected to daily requires us to develop selective perception. We only see what we deem important enough to see.  When reading our paper, we only remember what either agrees with our way of thinking or what opposes our beliefs. What we value determines what gets our attention.

Our core values drive our decisions. We make our choices based on what we value. When our core values are ignored or violated, the stage is set for dramatic upsets that leave us frustrated, angry, and unhappy.

There is a saying that speaks to the role that our underlying values play in the creation of our happiness or unhappiness. “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear a word you are saying.”

When we perceive that a friend, a co-worker, a family member, or our city government is out of alignment with what we believe are the agreed upon rules and regulations, we see them as deceptive and evading the fact that their actions don’t align with their words. They talk the talk but are unable to produce the agreed upon results.

We each have the innate power to create a life that is whole, wholesome, full, rich, and rewarding. When we decide to fashion a life that works, we take responsibility for our choices. We  accept both the benefits and prices of our decisions and actions. We become more conscious than cavalier in our decision-making. We push past the demand and command that life gives us all benefits and no prices. We choose what we want to create rather than merely avoiding what we don’t want.

When we are overly attached to being right at all costs, we set ourselves up for a stilted, stifling life. Our ability to address our differences with kindness and creativity becomes overshadowed by our fear that we are being taken advantage of, cheated out of what we deserve, or put in danger by someone’s actions.

When our selective perception narrows our vision, we spend our creative energy on the lookout for the dragons and demons that are out to get us and disrupt our comfort zone.

When we consciously choose to discover, respect and act out of what we value, most of the upsets we encounter are reduced down to manageable disagreements that can be negotiated by liberal portions of intelligent communication.

Let’s remember to acknowledge the importance of increasing our ability to be empathetic, kind and respectful of our needs and  the needs of our neighbors and visitors to our city.

Let’s up our commitment to building a strong working relationship with all our intelligences engaged, so that we can each do our part to preserve the reputation of Laguna Beach as one of the most hospitable and beautiful cities in the world.


Susan writes and facilitates on-going personal development six-week seminars locally. She is the author of BEYOND INTELLECT: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Learn more at: susanvelasquez.com or (949) 494-7773.

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