Every day we are met with thousands of choices. But we often don’t recognize the opportunity to choose because we unconsciously allow our habits and conditioning to control our actions. We’re on autopilot, functioning with pre-programed patterns. As long as things in our external environment and our health remain static, autopilot directs us fairly well. But what happens when we hit a bump, when something changes or shifts, when the flow is interrupted, or when what we’ve been doing stops working?

What it comes down to is a question my mentor, Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi, is famous for asking: “Are you leading your life, or is it leading you?”

If you’re running on autopilot, if you’re allowing circumstances to elicit a reaction, if you’re letting what other people think dictate how your life is turning out, then your life is leading you. You’re like a boat in the water that is blown this way or that by the wind and carried off in the direction of the current. In contrast, to lead your life means you are navigating your way, making conscious choices to raise or lower your sails, to engage the motor and the rudder to influence your direction and speed. You can’t remove the winds and the currents in your life, but you can learn how to work with their qualities to reduce resistance and increase propulsion in the direction you wish to go.

Taking responsibility for your choices can be a hard pill to swallow, but it is a necessary step toward leading your life. Feeling stuck comes from being in a constant state of reactivity, tossed about by what others think and confined by the circumstances around you. Remaining in a victim mindset and blaming others or circum- stances for the things in your life that are not working out won’t free you from feeling stuck. Remember, even if you were victimized by an event or another person, you get to decide what you will do next, and how the next chapter of your story is written. Freedom comes through exercising your free will . . . your power of choice.

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