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 A New Day: For Wisdom of Choice 
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by . View all columns in series
If you're about to face a challenge that seems overwhelming, do not despair.

It might be the next meeting with your boss, a doctor's appointment to discuss your lab results, an unavoidable conversation with someone who has hurt you in the past, or simply the fear of what today might bring.

Here's a poem entitled, "A New Day," written by Margaret Cowan, Office Manager of the Mind-Body Wellness Center. It's literally just what the doctor ordered - a prescription to inspire a healthy perspective to brighten your day.

Misty rose-toned hues shroud the morning with mystery.
Thoughts of the day ahead shade gentle memories of the one prior.
If the sum of all my yesterdays equals today,
will they account for naught?
If I have traveled here from there ...
must I bring it all with me?
Nay, every journeyman must choose.
Oh, for wisdom of choice!
With no knowledge of the road ahead,
we must constantly choose, not only for direction,
but those things to bring and those to lay aside.
Perhaps I can adorn myself with the best and the most beautiful,
and build a stairway with all I lay down.

As the poem begins, every day is a mystery anticipated through a unique perspective we have developed from yesterday and all the other days we've experienced before it. Our past, to a great degree, establishes a deeply etched map upon which we journey through our future. We venture ahead with the baggage of the past - often an oppressive weight which rests upon our shoulders and slows us down.

Then an opportunity suddenly arises that requires a gut decision. Just when life's experiences are about to condition that typical knee-jerk response, we stop cold in our tracks. We ask ourselves if our next step is going to be based upon what we bring to the picture from the past. Then we suddenly freeze.

After all, its obvious that our past instincts didn't necessarily generate stellar results. However, now we must choose. Shall we abandon the lessons and bittersweet experiences of our past, or shall we try another approach utilizing a new vantage point?

It then becomes clear that the decision upon us does not require an all-or-none response. What things should we bring to the table and what must we lay aside?

Just because a relationship didn't work in the past, must we be fearful of establishing new ties? Just because someone we trusted let us down, does that mean that history will repeat itself? Deep within, there's a gung ho "nothing ventured, nothing gained" drill sergeant shouting commands to move forward. There is also a wound so deep that even contemplating suffering at the same depth again is more than we can handle. Must we distance ourselves based upon the past, or march forward with a wide-eyed perspective that anything is possible?

Ultimately the choice is ours and as stated in the poem, we must lay down the path to our future, one step and one decision at a time. Will all of our choices lead to the "best and the most beautiful?" I think not. We're not perfect beings.

Yet I do believe that when we allow ourselves to choose, and open ourselves to feel and understand the weight of the past, we then progressively grow and evolve in mind, body and spirit. Our only rational choice is to move ahead with what we need.

For remaining stagnant and resorting to a path already traveled leads us nowhere. In our contemporary society with so many choices, it's easy to reject choice, to get stuck ... and depressed ... and ultimately hopeless.

In fact, such a predicament requires no choice at all. While the decision not to choose appears easy at first, it buries us within the depths of our own complacency sculpted by avoidance behavior. Such inaction quickly transforms itself into the baggage of our past.

Margaret's insight is timeless - this is your chance to lay down the stairway of your future. Move onward, make wise choices and hear your inner voice. Know that every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise. And as an old philosopher once said, "dance like no one is watching!" -- Mind Over Matter!

© 2000 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

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 About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a......moreBarry Bittman MD
 
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