It’s a beautiful morning as I sit under a willow tree at the edge of Chautauqua Lake – the water is lapping gently on the rocks and the early morning mist is hovering over the great expanse of water. It’s quite a mystical sight.

I’ve returned to this specific spot under this tree for a few days nearly every summer since I was 14 years old – for more than 40 years I’ve been coming back to sit under this willow where the land juts out into the lake. I’ve sat here to watch the sunrise and for morning meditation, laid on the grass for afternoon naps, rested in the stillness of dusk, and basked in the light of the full moon reflected in the lake.

Chautauqua is a sacred place for me, and here beneath this willow is for me a true power spot. It has been since my teenage years. Chautauqua has been one of the few constants in my life. It’s my spiritual homeplace. And as time goes on, I recognize more and more the importance of coming here at least once a year. To walk these grounds and spend time at my power spot is to locate myself in the ongoing time line of my life. Chautauqua is where I first understood the importance of solitude and reflection in my teenage and college years. It was here that I was first introduced to symphonies, opera, ballet, concerts, and deep thinkers. And I continue to marvel at the program of artists and lecturers that appear on its stages each summer.

But back to my power spot. Although I’m a pretty reflective guy and have a very good grasp of the big picture of my life, there is something very important to me about coming back to this particular spot—a spot I have known and that has known me for more than 40 years. I always gain a greater perspective on my life when I am here. It’s like a conversation with a trusted friend who has known you at the deepest levels for many years, except that this power spot has no attachment to or opinion about how or what I think, my decisions, or my actions. It just lets me be, and reflects back to me my thoughts, presence, opinions, and actions in often astounding ways.

The theme of that reflection these last few days has been: What have I allowed to determine what does or does not happen in my life? “Allow” is the key word here, for during these days, on even deeper and more profound levels, I am recognizing my choices as reflections of what I allow and do not allow to hold power in my life.

While I acknowledge that there can be many reasons why something does or does not happen, many of which I cannot outwardly control, I do have the power to create the energetic conditions that would be most conducive to particular outcomes. Yet creating those conditions can sometimes still be the sticking point. Here at my lakeside power spot, I find myself reflecting back over times when I allowed truly extraordinary things to happen—times when I recognized the potential of the moment and rode its great energetic wave into a wonderful new experience or accomplishment. Hand in hand with those recognitions, however, have also come realizations that there were times when great things were trying to happen, yet because of my fears of change, the unknown, what people would think, how someone would react, or whatever, I either blocked the wave or just didn’t get on. I allowed the opportunity to pass me by.

I am not one to hold onto regrets. As I look back, I can find the gift or important learning that has come with everything that has happened in my life and every choice that I have made. Even if the learning is just the realization that I could have made a different choice, that is valuable. I’ll think twice before making a similar choice again. In recent years, even when I make a choice or take an action that I’m not very proud of, the learning is usually immediate. I’m always looking for the gift or the learning.

My power spot reflects to me some subtle yet powerful fears lurking inside that, if I continue to allow them to, could ultimately create significant energy blocks to new opportunities. The question is: Do I allow these fears to dictate what I will or will not let happen? Or do I walk into those fears, look them in the eye, ask them what they need, and then address that need, thereby transforming the fear?

For me the answer is clear—I must walk into the fears and engage them in conversation. The amazing thing is that as I invite the fear to talk to me, I often discover that I’ve created a story out of assumptions or past experiences that are no longer relevant, and that the fear is a big smokescreen. Or I discover that there is an emotional wound that I have not yet acknowledged—a wound that can, in fact, heal with very little catharsis or drama if I’ll just listen to what it needs and respond from a place of love. So simple—so much grace. The only power the fear holds is the power I give it. It has no power on its own, yet I can easily get caught up in the assumptions I make about it.

This is not a new concept, I’m sure, and is not so hard to grasp. The greater challenge in our fast-paced world is creating the time and space to examine what is working and what is not—what we are allowing and what we are not. Time and space for self-revelation and discovery is more critical now than ever for us as individuals and as a society. We need time and space that, without agenda or attachment to outcome, can honestly reflect back to us the truth we’ve been living. When we are willing to acknowledge the realities that we are creating and living, we can discover the aspects of those realities that we’re proud of and want to celebrate, as well as the ones that give us pause or make us squirm. It’s okay that they make us squirm! The fact that we are squirming is telling us that there are gifts to be unpacked within that discomfort.

So what do you do? How is the best way to respond? With an attitude of curiosity, compassion, and non-judgment, start unpacking and see what you discover. Let yourself just “be” with whatever comes up. Engage it, embrace it, love it, and ask it intuitively what it needs for you to know. And then respond. Heal the wound, let go of the assumptions, re-write the story, choose with clarity and intention what you allow to create your life.

I’m so grateful for this reflective time at Chautauqua each year. I am grateful for great experiences and accomplishments I’ve allowed myself to participate in, and I’m grateful for the reflection and awareness that helps me see what I allow to get in the way. I’ve done some great work here in my spiritual homeplace and I always return home having recognized the truth about those fears that were standing in the way. I was letting them create a big story. Not any more. My inner reality has shifted, and excitement and commitment have replaced the fear.

How about you? What do you allow to create your life? When was the last time you paused to reflect in a place that was powerful for you and could reflect your inner being without attachment or agenda? We allow and don’t allow things in our lives all the time—beliefs, fears, experiences, opportunities. Give yourself the gift of some time to take stock of your recent choices. What is and isn’t working? What needs to shift? And then act on that awareness. Live into the potential that’s waiting for you now.

Author's Bio: 

Alan Seale is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, leadership and transformation coach, and spiritual mentor. He coaches leaders to live and work from a greatly expanded personal consciousness and a high level of self-awareness, to facilitate transformation, and to realize their personal and leadership potential. He lives his soul mission - to "liberate and empower", and feels privileged to help others discover and live their soul's mission, develop their intuitive abilities for success, and become dynamic and effective leaders in both their personal and professional lives. The essence of Alan's work is re-awakening soul awareness in our culture, initiating and inspiring soul-informed conversation, and igniting new paradigms of leading and living informed by authentic soul expression and connection.

Alan's books include Soul Mission * Life Vision, Intuitive Living and The Manifestation Wheel. He maintains a full workshop schedule throughout North America, Scandinavia and Europe, and currently serves on the faculties of several prominent learning institutions.

You can find out more about Alan's work at his website, alanseale.com.