Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation. — James Allen
As a spiritual mentor, part of my job is to challenge the people I work with to consciously observe their BS (belief system) and challenge any current beliefs they hold that are keeping them stuck in a mental prison of their own making. The moment is quite interesting to witness when they discover that they, and they alone, hold the key that will set them free. The key, of course, is their ability to choose and then choose again if necessary. Awakening to the awareness that one can witness his or her own thinking, and then challenge the thoughts (and the beliefs that sponsor those thoughts) that are dis-empowering, nonproductive and self-deprecating, is the moment they step into a whole new way of being.
Recently, I upset a person I am mentoring when I challenged her to look at her belief system after she argued she “just couldn’t” do something I had suggested she might consider trying to fortify her spiritual growth. I encouraged her to begin to monitor her thinking and words, and each time she caught herself declaring, “I can’t,” to stop, challenge her belief, and then change the statement to “I won’t.” I explained to her that to say “I won’t” put her at choice, while to say, “I can’t” rendered her powerless.
This shift in thinking and words automatically moves us out of powerlessness and into a position of authentic power and choice. There are, no doubt many legitimate times when we may be unable to do something because we are not capable. As an example: I can’t fly a F18 fighter jet… I can’t give birth to a baby… I can’t lift 750 pounds over my head, and so on. However, too many of us rush to use the excuse “I can’t” because it is far easier than having to deal with the possible consequences of saying, “I won’t.” Notice how often we tend to sacrifice our authentic power and integrity just to gain or maintain the approval and acceptance of others. This is where we can choose to step into our truth. Consider in your own life how often you may use “I can’t” as a cop-out. Have you ever been asked by someone to do something or go somewhere you really did not want to do or go, and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” perhaps even fabricating some excuse rather than honestly saying, “No thanks, I choose not to.”
Regardless of what your motivation may be for using the “I can’t” escape clause, I encourage you to be conscious of the power in your spoken word. The universe takes what you affirm about yourself very seriously — it conspires to support you in your deepest beliefs. You may end up more powerless than you would care to be. Think before you say I can’t because every choice you make moves you closer to or further away from your authentic power. It is also how we spiritually evolve with conscious intention. In his seminal book, The Seat of The Soul, Gary Zukav states: “Choice is the engine of our evolution … if you choose unconsciously, you will evolve unconsciously. If you choose consciously, you will evolve consciously.” Suffice it to say, choosing to evolve consciously is much better than unconsciously and most often far less painful. Trust me… been there — done that.
follow the trajectory of those choices even as your
shadow faithfully follows you wherever you go.
The power of choice is the greatest gift you have been given, second only to the gift of life itself. Use both of these gifts consciously. In so doing, you will be stepping into your authentic power. If you could use a little help, as a mindfulness practice consider doing this: Place a rubber band (not too tightly) around your wrist. Listen to your words and self-talk for the next few days. When you catch yourself saying, “I can’t” when, in actuality, you know in your heart you can, snap the rubber band. Then step into your power, making a choice to use words that reflect the awareness of a conscious evolving being. To say, I choose not to, rather than I can’t, brings an amazing amount of authentic power and freedom with it… AND as a happy result the welts on your wrist will begin to subside.
Dennis Merritt Jones has been involved in the human potential movement and the field of spirituality for the majority of his life as a teacher, author and keynote speaker. His most recent award winning book is “The Art of Uncertainty ~ How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It.” Jones is also the award winning author of “The Art of Being ~ 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life” and “How to Speak Science of Mind.” Dennis writes a free weekly MindfulPurpose E-Message available through his website, www.DennisMerrittJones.com, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post.