“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being” — Socrates
As far back as the time of Socrates it was taught that examining one’s life is extremely important, to the point of making life ‘worth living for a human being.’ And, yet, in the 21st Century, we seem to have become so involved in being busy that it is difficult to pause and ponder. What does it really mean to examine life?
For one thing, I believe that we must be constantly aware of the choices that are before us all the time. An unexamined life creates a false impression that ‘I have no choice’ but that is truly never the case. There is always a choice. It might not FEEL as if there is a choice but that is because we are making a decision based on what we feel, think and believe about a situation. It might be because the alternative before us is so abhorrent that we cannot imagine making the choice to do other than the path we see as the ‘only way.’ But we could choose something different even if the consequences were unacceptable.
Many clients come to me with seemingly impossible choices that they face and they ask for guidance in making decisions about those choices. The answer is often not ‘this or that’ but, rather, ‘how can you find a way to have both?’ That is, they can move from ‘either-or thinking’ into ‘and thinking’ and the solution presents itself. But what we believe about ourselves and our world often prevent us from moving into the higher space where the solutions live.
I remember several years ago, after one of my favorite Christmases of all time, I was facing a Christmas without any family except my husband. I was very depressed about the prospect of not seeing our kids or grandkids or the rest of the family during the holidays. The Christmas before we had had a magical time when all of our children and grandchildren were together for Christmas, ‘Santa’ came to our house on Christmas morning to deliver a kitten and a Buzz Lightyear toy, and we had time to relax and be together. And then everyone had moved away and we were going to wake up on Christmas morning without any family to share in our day. We were even going to be visiting with the grandkids just before Christmas because Richard had a business trip to their area, but the trip was to end just before the holiday and we were scheduled to return home to the empty house. My belief was that we had to be ‘home’ for Christmas, no matter what my heart wanted. But it finally occurred to us that we didn’t have to leave when the business trip was over. We could stay in the hotel, be with the family, and celebrate Christmas the way we wanted to, even if it was not at home.
We had an amazingly wonderful holiday that year! We cooked Christmas Eve dinner for 19 in our Residence Inn suite kitchen. We had a little tree from the drug store and a fire in the fireplace and enjoyed our extended family, missing only 1 son and his wife that year. But it took a huge leap in changing beliefs to allow that magic to happen when the closed-up, depressed thinking was keeping the possibility from presenting itself.
You can change your beliefs. You need to, however, first examine how your limiting beliefs are affecting your world. What negative thoughts are generated from these limiting beliefs? Fortunately, because I have the tools to help other people examine their beliefs and thoughts, I was able to use those tools for myself and find amazing possibilities that turned into realities for myself and my family.
When you choose to live a conscious life, you allow yourself to constantly be examining how the circumstances of your life are the result of your thinking and how you can change your thoughts to change your life.
What are you going to commit to today so that you can live a more conscious life?
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