In light of the various events taking place in the world at the moment it is possible for many to see only the negative, doom and gloom of the day. It is not unreasonable to feel this way given the bombardment of negative press and stories of people losing jobs, companies going down and the general state of the economy being unpredictable. So in this context I share a bit more of a personal perspective and some wisdom from the insight.
A year ago I wrote in my diary the opposite to I feel alive. The diary heading stated “I feel depressed”. The entry still sits on my computer, reminding me that life has its ups and downs. I was mildly depressed. I was also self aware of my state and able to be in it knowing eventually I would come back out of it. (It helps having learned so much being a self help motivational book and course junkie). I was not so much in a “dark night of the soul”, more a dim lighted twilight.
Either way the time was not fun, nor a pleasant experience for my family. The circumstances that lead to the state were an accumulation of business and personal experiences that I chose to see the negative and downside in rather than the opportunity. I was trying too hard, making decisions that were drastic and doing a lot of what I thought I ‘should do’ or rebelliously wanted to do. Ultimately it became a battle of control over my life when life did not seem to be playing fair.
A world full of possibility returns
A year later and I see the world again for what it really is – an abundant place of possibilities and opportunity. I say again for my normal state is to be an optimistic half glass full kind of person. So the rather large blip of mild depression stood out like a big red blister on my life. How I got into this state how I shifted back out is a longer story to be told another time.
I now look ahead at 2009 with wonder of what lies ahead. I anticipate the year as a period of time that allows me to create, do what I want and be who I am. To be honest it does not have to be constrained to 2009 for I believe this is the case for my entire life. It always has been and always will be. Somehow over a year ago I got off track. Perhaps I was really on track, just needed some realignment.
So what lies ahead for me in 2009? Who knows? What I do know is that I have the power and ability to create the world I want. I can choose what I want my life to be like and live from this place irrespective of circumstances around me.
In fact what is interesting about choice is that you have it open to you all the time. Even in the face of disaster, crisis, loss or difficult circumstances you always have choice.
The choice you have is how you choose to see, feel, think, understand, be in that moment. I already have commented on the importance of the present. What I would like to elaborate on now is this power behind our ability to make choices in our life.
Now this sounds like new age talk. It is not. Choice is a fundamental aspect of many psychological theories and practices. I am not the first person nor the last to put my thoughts in writing on the subject. In this post though the purpose of sharing with you is to encourage and inspire you to consider how you make choices in your life. Perhaps you may even consider indulging me with an open mind as you read another perspective on the topic.
Choice empowers us
Ultimately choice empowers. Choice empowers all of us because only we can make the choices that are right for us. No one can do this for us. Choice comes from within, our internal world. We control the thoughts, attitudes and desires that feed this choice. So when we make the choice and then act from it we are being true to our self.
Our choice of course is informed by others, information and all that we take in from our outside world.
Our choice may be constrained, depending on how you see the world, by structures and systems in place. Again these are outside of ourselves. We still have choice over how we see these and respond to them.
the choice comes from who we really are on the inside. Becoming in
tune with our choices and how they make us feel propels us forward into
more decisive and gratifying action.
Every day we are presented with opportunities to choose. I like to call these moments ‘choice points’. Choice points arise in the guise of decisions or in moments when our intuitive voice speaks up in opposition to what we may be doing.
Some choice points are big ones, the kind that affect us for life – eg having a child, getting married, moving countries.
Other choice points are simply exercises in learning to know what makes us feel right and satisfied. The ‘easy’ choice points to me are like taking regular exercise in training for the big choice points. For example deciding what you will eat for breakfast, when to go to bed, which movie to watch. These are simple and ordinary day to day actions.
Consciousness about choice makes the difference
Consciousness about choice makes the differenceIrrespective of the nature of the choice point, when we are conscious in the making of these choices we can be the most satisfied and real. The real essence of the choice point is not what we “do” but how we think about what we do. We ultimately have the ability to choose how we react to a situation. We need to be aware.
So this might mean thinking about what you want to say before you say it. Also you may want to try a few options before you choose. You may need to pause and have time by yourself. You also have the ability to change your choice, though there are consequences to this as well.
Another benefit to being conscious is that we can also pick up on the 'bad vibes' when a decision is going against our natural and authentic preference. When we are in tune we can notice the emotions, feelings or other signals that push us away from the decision. And at the same time there can also be relief when we make the decision. By remaining aware of these states and changes in state we can learn what works for us and what doesn't.
Choice has consequences, so consider these
Of course each choice point has a consequence. When we make a choice, part of the process we undergo is to consider these consequences. Depending on your personality and nature you may be quite logical or intuitive in this approach. Both serve you well.
Criteria for making a choice point work for you
What is the criteria for making a choice point work for you? Well to me it simply should be what brings you joy and happiness in your life – whether in the short term or long term. Now you might say this is selfish. I say no because if you are happy (and ask my family this one) you are a much better person to be around. If you are unhappy then the double whammy of bad choice for you and the state of unhappiness only leads to more challenging choice points down the track.
Now I am not suggesting we all become hedonists and disregard other people. Far from it. In fact the ultimate expression of choice point is when you can start acting from your place of happiness to give and help others. When you have the capacity you can begin to choose to make a difference for others because you want to AND it actually means something for you.
Putting choice points into action
So lets play with this concept some more. I am going to suggest some activities. You can do just a little or a lot. You might even enjoy recording or writing down what happens for you along the way. Writing about the experiences will give you a chance to reflect on patterns and behaviour in your choice making process.
Spend a day tracking your decision making. Whether you simply decide to just be more aware or actually record data it doesn’t matter. The focus of your self observation can be on when do you make choices in your daily life. Identify the variety and nature of the choice points you encounter.
With each choice point you identify consider the degree of importance you place on the decision. As noted above some are small and some are big. What criteria are you using to assess the importance?
Explore feelings and emotions
Notice what comes up for you emotionally when you are at a choice point, before, during and after you make a decision. See if there are patterns in your process. Are there recurring aspects that you stumble over – eg the ‘should voice’ gets louder and louder in your head, you change your mind back and forth, you feel stress, it is too easy you don’t even notice.
Choose to be real
What’s in it for you?
Well in the short term perhaps you may think this is silly. You also may think it is a bit clinical. Then over time you begin to naturally catch yourself in choice points. You actually train yourself to be conscious about what you choose. Then when you make decisions that matter you feel good about your actions that follow. Also others that relate to you can experience congruence in your relationships. You are more likely to hold to your decisions, follow through and feel good about what you do.
If you are inclined feel free to email me and let me know how you go. I would love to know. For now I encourage you to pay attention to what matters for you and really enjoy every opportunity as a choice point to be alive.
Let’s go there...