As the festive season and year-end holidays envelop us, we swing between times of interactive family hype and time-out zones of contemplative musing. Without the daily routine of work commitments, our mental scanner has more opportunity to reflect on the past year’s twists and turns, losses and gains. And that’s where the power of choice can direct us towards appreciation and forgiveness or regret and guilt. The choice is ours.

The past is over, it can never be relived, so to spend time entangled in a thought web of ‘should haves’ and despair, we not only incur further suffering but extend the fog between us and clarity. We may feel that the year held too many mistakes, but if we change the reel on our internal projector we could view those events as valuable teachers, and from the bigger picture perspective, as added pieces of experience in the jigsaw puzzle called life. Lessons and experiences enrich the make-up that surrounds our essence, and deserve appreciation.

How else would we know how to balance ourselves if we hadn’t taken a few tumbles when learning to walk? The journey of life is one long learning curve peppered with tumbles. As toddlers we didn’t allow the fear of tumbles to stop us from persevering at mastering the skill of walking. Granted most of us had nothing but encouragement in this pursuit surrounded by examples of its viability. Yet as we grow older, our thoughts and accompanying anxiety take on a life of their own, often fuelled consciously or unconsciously by others. ‘Tumbles’ and possible tumbles flash red lights of warning which, if left unchecked and unquestioned, can leave us sitting on our rear too fearful to take another step.

It is only by making choices, by taking steps that you can move out of the paralysing trap of fear and fully participate in the experiential game of life. Accept that tumbles happen and if some feel harsher than others, allow the feeling, like tears, to leave you. Then, like the toddler, pick yourself up, try again and unreservedly express your delight as you begin to feel that strut in your stride.

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