What’s in a Choice?
Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place – Rumi As the last of the Diwali firecrackers sparkle and fade, I like to reflect on the year gone by and wonder what the year ahead will bring. Often, an underlying theme plays out for me through the year, showing up at work and at home, in conversations and relationships. Over the years, whether they’ve been visible (tumultuous changes, non-stop work/travel, new friends, family) or subtle (solitude, transformative experiences, drawing boundaries, letting go), they always remind me that I’m learning and growing. So, a new year for me is now about welcoming new possibilities, to be, to know and to do; it’s about making new choices, big and small, to live an authentic life that has meaning and purpose. The trouble with choices is that they come loaded with consequences. If you unravel a choice, you’ll find that it contains other voices that often drown out your own. It may be layered with guilt and fear…of failure, of vulnerability, of disappointment…an emotional tangle that we sometimes don’t want to deal with. It shows up instantly in our language (when you play games of what if?), in the assessments we make and in the stories we tell ourselves. And yes, it’s always fraught with risk. To make it even more complicated, we believe that our choices impact other people. So, we tell ourselves to make logical choices, not emotional ones and all that really happens is that we suppress our own truth and compromise on the lives that we live. Our choices also determine how we show up in the world and echo deeply the lives we live – we profoundly embody them. And when we don’t make choices, well, they’re made for us. I’ve experienced living passively long enough to know the difference. As I waited desperately for difficult choices to be made for me, not wanting to be the one who made them, afraid of the lives I would impact if I did, I became aware at some point that I was already living that choice and had been for years. I know that was my moment of truth: living a default future, or choosing to create a new one. While life hasn’t exactly been easier since, it’s certainly been uncompromisingly fulfilling. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Living in possibility happens when you connect with what you really care about and take responsibility for what you choose. Of course you’ll struggle with your choices. Isn’t that what makes us human? Knowing what’s right for you starts with awareness, with listening to your body and emotions – what pulls you? What pushes you away? Honouring what comes up for you is a good place to start. It means that you’re beginning to trust yourself to choose what’s right for you in that moment of time and space. Making mistakes is part of the journey – that’s what adds colour and texture to your life. Staying stuck in a mistake on the other hand, and choosing to live in anxiety and fear, can be a recurring drama that’s often a blind spot. It’s the difference between living a default future and creating a new one. It isn’t about making the right choices; it’s about making choices that are right for you. What will you choose?