Wisdom Workout


Back To Basics

By Susan McNeal Velasquez


Amidst the massive TV coverage of the flooding of Laguna, I caught the tale end of an interview done with a local woman in the canyon who has experienced major losses due to the rain. I am sorry that I don’t know her name but her graciousness and the point of view she held was inspiring. In essence, she shared with the reporter that she was viewing this experience as an opportunity to open to a renewal of some kind. She mentioned that destruction is a part of the process of life and can be the harbinger of the new.

During times of massive change, how can we best manage? Conventional wisdom says to suck it up. Stay alert. Hold on tight. Get ready to fight.

Defensiveness is a natural response to the fear of facing the unknown. We either fight the fear with tight jawed, stoic, Herculean efforts in an attempt to beat life into submission or we teeter on the brink of being swept away by a torrent of uncontrollable negativity and hopelessness, which doesn’t work either.

When our survival appears threatened, the fight/flight response is triggered. There is also a third response that doesn’t get much press. It is when we freeze.

You can’t muster up enough proactive energy to fight. That includes looking and applying for a new job, analyzing your finances and making the necessary decisions whether to hold or fold, or talking with your partner about unresolved issues. In other words, your energy reserves are tapped out.

You can’t flee because everywhere you go, there you are. Your mind keeps obsessing on how your life has been reduced down to the seemingly negative realities that you are currently facing. This just isn’t how your story is supposed to play out.

You can’t move forward to better times because you can’t envision your future. You can’t retreat to the imagined safety of the past because it has unraveled into a heap of rubble that used to be your safe and secure life. Seemingly, you are trapped.

You can’t go back and you can’t move forward. There are some attitudes that must be embraced before present tense living will work. A first step is to assess your energy level. If you are depleted from too much worry and stress, admit that you are in no shape to take on new challenges right now.

Pull in your hyper-vigilant antenna, take control of your frantic mind and take on the task of getting rested and sane.  If you are feeling insecure, acknowledge it. Everyone is capable of being overcome by feelings of insecurity.

Insecurity is a reality of life. It is a fact, not a fault. The only part that you have control over is whether you remain kind and respectful to yourself and those around you or whether you take your insecurities out on those you love.

Assess your behavior. If you are punishing yourself and/or those close to you for your insecurities, stop, take a deep breath, apologize, and correct your behavior.

Life is fluid. Change is constant. Chaos does shift into unforeseen opportunities. If you don’t like what you are experiencing, change your mind first. Practice your ability to be kind to yourself. Apply that kindness to all your interactions. Find your sense of humor and make that a priority.

It is easy to shine when life is going our way. The true test of our character is when we are pressed to stand up and take ownership of our basic goodness and the basic goodness of our lives, no matter what.


Susan teaches seminars locally on self-reliance. Her book: Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind is available in our bookstores. Learn more at: www.susanvelasquez.com or contact her at: (949) 494-7773.

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