When I think about the low places I’ve been to and the high places I could soar, I am constantly reminded that mistakes, failures and flaws do not summarize our lives, nor do they define them

They are simply what I like to call life’s momentary interruptions and setbacks, all created to bring us towards our comebacks.

These challenging scenarios are often meant to detour, distract and disrupt the journey and the progress.  They teach and show us all that the lowest of lows as well as the highest of highs exist in all of us.

Yes, all of them Not just the ones we choose to cast aside hoping they will never resurface.  Nor those we choose to cleave to.

We need to walk in others’ steps, bearing their struggles, hurts, shames, inadequacies and life-altering secrets they choose to keep to themselves. 

Learning to embrace all of this brings us a step closer to the light, a step closer to “freedom and the release” of what we’ve silently carried for years at times.

I have learned that we all want, yearn and desire to find acceptance–something that makes us feel safe, secure, at peace, as though we belong, oftentimes at any cost.

One of the greatest gifts that any of us can receive is the ability to truly understand.  Understanding gives us the ability to comprehend.

Understanding is the capacity to look inward and view our own thoughts, feelings, emotions, character and personality.  It is gaining a greater sense of one’s own self.  The act of diligence requires us all to be steady, earnest and energetic, committing to being devoted and at times doing painstaking work with much application.

The term “eyes wide open” essentially means on purpose, mindfully, or simply put, with intention.  Life and the paradigm of time go hand in hand, for they are two essential and priceless possessions that no status, role, position or amount of money can ever replace.

I want to encourage each of you that faithfully take the time to read and reflect on my columns to remember to LIVE and not simply exist. Maximize every moment, opportunity and season granted. Remember to not only make time but take time for SELF. Maximize your life by choosing to invest and re-invent yourself in mind, body and soul.

This week’s tip:  I challenge each of you to challenge yourselves over the next seven days. Here are some daily challenges: Become an early riser. Wake up an hour earlier and spend that time meditating in devotion or quiet time or stretching and practicing deep breathing and relaxation exercises.

Make three new connections a day. Making new connections expands your horizons.

Say no If something does not fit in your schedule or life, learn to just say no. Unplug and reduce screen time. Spend more time in the sunshine. Take a risk. Practice gratitude.

Lisa Roper-Parolise

Lisa Roper-Parolise, a resident of Los Banos, is an author, life coach and owner of KreaTive ChanGes (#Kreative ChanGes).