Wheelchair Wisdom: Guideposts to Mastery

09/25/2014 04:45pm ET | Updated November 25, 2014
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions;
reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.

Simone Weil

As I wrote here last month, our first reactions to new situations are predominantly projections of our perceptions and beliefs. But then, as we live day to day with that new situation, we begin to see that our projections don't exactly match up with the new reality. At the point when we recognize this, we have a choice: we can either insist on clinging to our projection -- which is accurate only in terms of our own inner archives -- or we can start looking more carefully at what's out there.

Most of our lives, we go back and forth between these two points, trusting our projections part of the time, then opening up a little bit at a time to the external world.

To successfully negotiate any big changes in our lives, we must go through a process of first trusting our projections. As we see that they don't completely match the new way of life we've stepped into, we must slowly let go of our old projections and allow ourselves to experience the new reality.

It's never an easy process, even when the new reality is something we've always wanted -- such as getting married, moving to a new place, getting a new job, buying a new car, or even surviving an illness or recovering from a traumatic injury.

Never forget that within our own minds, back there in the archives where we have stored all our films, we have integrated not only social prejudices about being handicapped but also self-limiting beliefs fostered by our individual experiences of illness when we were children.

All of these beliefs will have an impact on us in the here-and-now because, count on it, we will project them into our lives. The good news is that we need not be prisoners of our own perceptions and projections. Once we are able to identify them, we are well on our way toward making new choices about how we will live our lives.

When we know the power of our projections, we can go in, edit our films, and create award-winning, five-star movies that will serve us better.

In the past few articles, we have explored some of these projections and irrational beliefs with the goal of identifying a course of action we might take to liberate ourselves from unnecessary limits we might place on ourselves.

EXERCISE: Be Gentle with Yourself

Make a list of the things you say to yourself that are harsh or critical:

* How could I be so foolish?
* I'm no good.
* Nobody loves me.
* It's my fault.

List ways in which you could be more gentle with yourself:

* I forgive myself
* I am good
* I love myself
* Things happen

Breathe in the crisp cool air and colors of the season.

With love,

Linda Noble Topf is a bestselling author and lecturer

COMING NOVEMBER! (in time for the holidays)

Wheelchair Wisdom: Awaken Your Spirit through Adversity
published by Berrett-Koehler & iUniverse in paper and e-book formats.