The power to choose

So often we are faced with desires, requirements, and an unexplained need to define ourselves in order to feel like we’re making progress along this crazy journey called life. We create statements, reminders, and to do lists to help us feel a sense of belonging, accomplishment, or at the very least a sense of maintaining status quo. To do so we envision our worlds as we want them to be, as we wish they were. We create vision boards, we make statements and affirm to the world, to our god, to ourselves, who we are and what we want to be, thinking if we just put that energy out into the world, it will come back to us three-fold.

Today, after weeks of long and hard soul-searching, I look at all of that, I look at all that wanting, all those self-affirmations, all the needs I created for myself, and all I can think of  is – YUCK!

In theory it sounds like a good idea, but what does wanting really get us? Wanting only begets more wanting. What do affirmations really do for us? On a good day they might help us believe a little more in ourselves, on a bad, it’s a realization of who we are not. And don’t get me started on the “have tos”. How does having to do anything really serve us in the long run? More often than not it creates resentment, and for me particularly, procrastination. Which then of course drives the spiral of wanting deeper and deeper, creating more affirmations and more “needs”.

So, what’s the answer? If you don’t have affirmations, if you don’t know what you want, how are you ever going to get anywhere? I recently discovered there’s a better way. It’s called CHOICE.

This past spring and summer was a whirlwind. John and I made the decision to pick up and move from the comforts of our beautiful home in Chicago, half-way across the country for the promise of new business opportunities, the great outdoors and the chance to truly become surfers. My seventh time in nine years! As with any major move, along with it came the gamut of “want to’s”, “have to’s” and self-affirming, “I am’s”, all in an effort to deal with the stress, the ups, downs, left, rights, backwards and forwards that come when your life has been turned inside out.

But at the beginning of all of this, I did one thing, I CHOSE. I MADE A CHOICE. And despite the fact it’s come with its own innate obstacles and opportunities I do not regret it in the least bit, and I would not change a thing.

I chose to concentrate on two things: 1) Feeling like I lived in Southern California, which meant focusing on finding the right place to live, getting fully unpacked as quickly as possible, and networking to meet some new people; and 2) Saving for a rainy day, because after doing this once before I’d learned exactly what a move to a new place can do for an entrepreneurial business and its entrepreneur’s spirit if you’re not careful.

You see the idea of CHOICE works on so many levels. If you choose something you have control. If you choose something you’ve made a decision on how you are going to behave, what to think, and how to feel. Choosing is a gift that you can receive with open arms. Take the choice of health for example, you can “want to be healthy”, and that’s all fine and good but there are so many things that can come between you and your desire to be healthy – namely that ooey-gooey molten lava cake dessert. But if you flip it, if you choose rather than ask, when you “choose to be healthy”, it creates a cascade of opportunities that you wouldn’t have had if you would have merely wanted, if you had only asked for it rather than making the choice. And with choosing you can let go and be free of all the stifling, conflicting, desiring, “I am’s”!

Do you see what I’m saying? The wanting, the “I am’s” are merely illusions of receiving the gifts the world has to offer. But when you choose it means you are declaring it to be so, you are not asking, you are setting the stage.

This is not to lessen the fact that when you choose something, you are also choosing against something. I chose my pocketbook and my sanity, which meant that I would set Tulia aside, I would simply “maintain”, and I knew this sacrifice might mean I would have to restart one day. I realized the opportunity and what I was giving up for that opportunity, and I was able to act with conviction and determination to follow through with my choice, rather than just waiting for it to come to me.

I made a very good choice.

October 1, 2012 marked the day I could once again put time, effort and focus into Tulia. October 3 was the day I met my Hopi Shaman and it will forever be ingrained in me as the day that I realized my power is not in my wanting, or in completing my to do list, or in proclaiming to be someone or something. My power, my gift, is in the choices I make each and every day.

And it’s not only the choices I make on a daily basis, or even a monthly or yearly, it’s much deeper. My true gift is when I make the choices that drive the behaviors that allow me to shine, naturally, sans all the wanting, declarations, and requirements. So, now I choose bigger things like life, health, love, and the all too many times forgotten, me.

I CHOOSE LIFE. I CHOOSE LOVE. I CHOOSE ME.

So what will you stop wanting, and what will you choose instead?

Peace, Love & Health – Mel

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2 Comments on “The power to choose”

  1. October 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    So much truth in this, Mel. Thanks for sharing. I’m going through a personal situation that has been incredibly challenging and I have chosen to handle it with as much love and care as I could instead of returning the hurt, anger and bitterness that were being thrown at me. Making that choice has made all the difference in how I feel and how the other person involved is being forced to react.

    On a similar note, and admittedly, I haven’t done more than scan this post from Brain Pickings yet, but I think it relates as making the same choices repeatedly become habits: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/25/william-james-on-habit/

    • October 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      Paul, thanks so much for the introduction to Brain Pickings, I hadn’t heard of it before and excited to subscribe. And very appropriate to another posting I have waiting in the wings on habits. To foreshadow, I’ve discovered this idea of creating “practices” rather than “habits”. Habits have such negative connotations, and more often than not what we really need to do is create a practice rather than a habit. A practice allows us to truly be present in what we are doing – conscious and conscientious about our actions, thoughts and feelings – where habits don’t really afford you that luxury. In addition, practices also lend themselves to the beauty of imperfection, the act of continued “practice”allows us to evolve, and revel, in the fact we will never be perfect, and what a miracle that is:)

      I’m so sorry to hear about your current situation, but it sounds like you’re really dealing with it head on, kudos to you. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a woman named Gabrielle Bernstein? I’m reading her book, “Spirit Junkie” right now and have just been introduced to her idea of forgiveness – pretty powerful stuff and might give you some tools and tricks.

      Thanks so much for reading and for sharing! Mel

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