Even when we are knee-deep in circumstances that feel like quicksand the power of choice exists. When backed into a corner it often feels like this is not the case. I was speaking to a colleague the other day about choice. He said, “sometimes you are so deeply entrenched that your power of choice is diminished”. His statement had me pondering our capacity to make choices in the face of seemingly impossible situations.
Being the daydreamer I perceive the options and choices around me even when I am going through difficult times, particularly over the past few years as I have been strengthening my mindfulness muscle. However, the way in which I actualise the choices I perceive depends largely upon my frame of mind. Allow me to explain further.
Fear often has the loudest voice in my mind. It affects how I perceive the choices I have. For me, the fear has always been about confrontation (I think I might have mentioned this before in an earlier post). When I am feeling overwhelmed, my capacity to make decisions around choices is affected. I tend to avoid making the conscious step toward change. I definitely talk about making the changes but inevitably I end up justifying to myself the 50 reasons why not enacting change is “right” for me. Classic avoidance strategy that one!
On the opposite end of the continuum, there are also times when I have elected to “rip the bandaid off”. Still impacted by fear I plunder on impulsively without taking into consideration how my actions affect others. If I keep the blinkers on, hold my breathe and rush forward with enacting the change then perhaps I will not need to deal with being confronted by another’s judgement or feelings. In this cowardly mode, all I care about is making my choice and running in the opposite direction, away from the responsibility for the manner in which I choose to make that change happen. Not ideal or conducive to being true to the caring, nurturing person I truly am.
Keeping the Heart Open
In my latter years I have discovered another way to enact choice. I can take steps toward change whilst keeping my heart open, remaining mindful of myself and the world around me. I refrain from impulsively reacting. Instead allowing whatever feelings that arise within me to be experienced. Doing this helps me to understand that those feelings are not permanent. They are transient. Like a storm. I remain in the feeling experiencing grief, sorrow and every other emotion that bubbles up without apportioning blame. The time to actively make choices is when the feelings ebb. Within this space I am able to make mindful decisions about who to enact those choices, in a gentle and loving manner.
I have to say, I do still slip back into old thought patterns when confronted by intensely confronting situations. Sometimes it takes me quite a while to wrench my heart open and to sit in the feeling without itching to escape. Those times are decreasing though.
When you stand at a crossroad daydreaming about another way of being there is always the power of choice. The fizz you feel on the inside when you do this is your inspiration to explore this potential opportunity more. It’s then just a about having the courage to explore the opportunities and ways to make it happen with the largest amount of love possible – for yourself and everyone else around you.
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay