Choose life! Choose love! Choose to live!

Steve Goodheart Essay

“Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and to make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives.” ~ Frederick Flack

In critical moments of retrospection such as this—moments often wracked with pain, remorse, and self-condemnation—can we realize that we can always choose to do something better this time? Can we open ourselves to the compassionate thought that there are skillful ways to choose to love ourselves better than we ever have before?

The bad choices we regret about the past, would continue their karmic presence by perpetuating themselves in bad choices today.  But this continuation is not predetermined or inevitable! If we choose not to continue that karma—and love and compassion help us see that we can—then today really can be the start of something new.

In a moment of self-love, of genuine self-determination, the karmic train is derailed. A new path opens up before our eyes. Sure, we still see the damage done by past actions, but instead of being hypnotized and caught up in the damage, our eyes are on a new path opening up before us.  The focus is on the here and now—a first good step, and then another.  One day at a time.

No, we can’t change the past, but we can change ourselves. The more we learn how to let go of hurtful, harmful elements in ourselves, the less some terrible past will have to do with the person we are now. From the Buddhist perspective, nothing in the past was really “I” or “me” or “mine,” anyway, but an illusory sense of ourselves, a false self-identification. But to claim this freedom, we have to learn how to let go of self-identification today with whatever is harmful in us or whatever hinders the freedom of our minds and hearts.

This can seem daunting, but it is doable.  It’s a truly Noble Path and the very happiest way to live. We redeem our past right here, in the present. Choices matter, always. We are never past the point of choice. As Vicktor Frankl famously said:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Do you feel yourself in a “prison camp” created by your past? Then choose, this day, something new, something unexpected, something not arising out of past conditioning.  The past is gone.  You only have today.  So choose. Choose life. Choose love. Choose to live.

Steve Goodheart

Click this link (below)to hear a marvelous song by Carrie Newcomer, which beautifully goes to the heart of the matter as often music only can:

Metta Music-Carrie Newcomer – Love Calls and Waits for an Answer-Be True!


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

9 Responses to “Choose life! Choose love! Choose to live!”

  1. Reblogged this on The Goddess Babe and commented:
    Steve Goodyear speaks wisdom and compassion. I learn a lot from him!

  2. Desperately needed to hear these exact words today. In such a struggle…again. The most difficult ones it seems are those when you feel like you have “overcome”…or gotten past. Then metaphorically Zeus has thrown you back into Hades. Thank you Stephan GOODHEART!

    • Dear Alexa — I’m so glad this post was here for you. Just about all of us, I bet, have experienced what you describe, and yes, it’s can be damn hard..and yet, we have that “Frankl choice,” we have that ability to not buy into our old stories when the (apparent) “old stuff” shows up yet again…I think it’s a trick of the “kilesa,” as Buddhism terms them, to buy into the story line that we are in fact back where we were. My experience is that we are actually on higher ground, but just have more to see. And, we do finally get our freedom.

      So, my friend, hang in there! Things are not always what they seem, and nothing can keep us from thinking differently, and claiming our freedom through mindfulness, wisdom, and great compassion.

      All the best to you in the new year — may you have have much “unbinding” and wider horizons.

      Steve ♡♡♡

  3. many people have falsely convinced themselves that they can not change, often caused by repeated failed . been there done that

  4. I say thanks for your caring and loving contributions!

  5. Thanks! I really needed this today.

  6. Both wise and inspiring. Thank you, Steven.

    • Thank you, Hilary! This just welled up out of my heart yesterday, a great cry for the freedom and emancipation of anyone struggling to be free. We’ve all been at such crucial points, repeatedly in our lives, and it can be so easy to despair over the intransigence of deep conditioning. And yet, we *can* always choose for the better.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend.


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