Wisdom Workout

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Moving Forward

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

It is easy to be inspired by the beauty that surrounds us daily as residents of Laguna Beach. For many of us, living here is like inheriting a little slice of heaven. We choose this city above all others.

Our environment brings us external gifts, but the personal responsibility to make choices that allow us to be satisfied with our lives and responsive to constant change remains in our court.

Change visits our lives in two major ways. There are those changes that we implement by making new choices that open us to new directions. The other kind of change comes in the form of external events that rip open the fabric of our life as we’ve known it and flings us head first into vertigo. When we are the choice makers, we orchestrate changes in small increments that support a growing sense of personal power and control in our lives.

When change is foisted upon us, it brings self-doubt, confusion about where we stand and free-floating anxiety. Our predominant experience becomes fear of the unknown.

When our safety and security needs are threatened, the emotional component that emerges is a cycle called resistance, resentment and revenge. We look out into our topsy-turvy world and become resistant to taking any positive action.

Our thoughts and feelings move in and out of hopelessness, grief, sadness, anger, fear and resentment. Next, we become revengeful, by either picking a target outside of ourselves to resent or we turn this mass of negativity inward, entertaining feelings of inadequacy and self-criticism that produce nothing more than depression and inertia.

We pull back and stop fully participating, which eventually leads to small, mechanical, predictable and deadening reactions to people, situations and life’s challenges.

When we find ourselves stuck in this maintenance cycle, how do we break its crippling hold and begin the process of forward movement?

The first step is to establish a creative purpose bigger than spinning around in our moment-to-moment confusion. I encourage doing the work of uncovering and discovering one personal quality that can coax new spurts of positive, creative energy into the foreground.

Ask yourself this question: What is one internal quality that I want to cultivate and encourage that would open the door to increased positive energy and creative action? Your answer could take many forms. For example, let’s say you decide that you want to foster the quality of inner strength.

You now have a purpose that is bigger than your random and unproductive thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.

Use self-discipline to say yes to those experiences that create comfort and feelings of wellbeing and say no to those experiences that put you out on the emotional skinny branches until you feel stronger and more prepared to take on new challenges.

The benefit of formulating and taking ownership of a purpose such as inner strength is that it activates your intuitive wisdom. It invites and allows your hearts knowledge about what will work for you, to guide your next steps. It takes the control out of the hands of your inner critic and puts sanity and sanctity within your reach.

Susan is a local author, Master facilitator and Personal Development Mentor. Learn more at: beyondintellect.com












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  1. Good article Susan. It brings to mind the words of Don Henley, “Ever noticed how an angry man doesn’t get very far until he reconciles the way the way he thinks things ought to be with the way things are”. When life dishes up cross winds that create unexpected turbulence, it is often overwhelming which is by any definition traumatic. That always brings with it instinctive and programmed reaction in the murky world of unconsciousness. It is hard to stay present enough to create the space needed to be conscious and able to shift things into a positive direction. Throw into the maelstrom of such dysfunction, we can expect all the defense mechanism that are the makings of a given personality to emerge. For some it is despair, fir others anger for others paralysis in the throes of dissociation. Staying present is tough in these all too familiar human conditions. I miss this stuff. Thanks for sparking my interest. Lloyd.


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