Decisions, Decisions.

I’m still in the middle place that I wrote about last month.  Between endings and beginnings.  I’ve been breathing deeply, feeling intently, sitting quietly, and staying present.  I see what has now become “the old pattern”, which is behind me.  One amazing gift of fear is that it will catapult you like an Olympic gymnast into a heightened sense of awareness.  Awareness is such good thing. 

When I first entered into this sticky, messy, middle place, my quick-thinking, fact-finding, problem solving self got busy trying to decide.  Focusing on the What’s and the How’s.  How the hell am I going to get out of this?  What am I going to do?  How am I going to survive?  What SHOULD I do?  WHAT SHOULD I do? 

Decisions.  Decisions. This or that.  Stay or go.  Keep or sell.  Do or not do.

I am acutely aware that I cannot change circumstances.  I admit, I’ve recently responded to a circumstance with fear, sprinkled with some panic and bouts of sadness.  And as I spent some time breathing deeply and sitting and watching what was happening, I allowed the fear to lift me.  It brought me to a place that I will describe as feeling somewhat like a scenic overlook.

Imagine you’re on a two-lane highway that is winding through mountains.  You’re racing downhill at 75 mph, and you can’t get your eyes off the rearview mirror.  There are two huge eighteen wheelers, one in each lane, barreling down the road, right on your tail.  There is nowhere for you to go, and they seem to be picking up speed and are getting closer. 

If I stay on this highway, I am racing with the fear of what is behind me, or I am staring down the anxiety of what is ahead.  I am distraught with the pressure of making what feels like an impossible decision.

Decisions are actually, already laid out for us.  Paved like a highway, carved out by destiny.  It is what Faith is built upon.  So when we get into the business of making either/or decisions, of course we feel pain.  It is not our business to decide what is behind us or what is before us.  It just is not.

What IS our business is making choices.  Big difference.

When a decision is before us, it’s usually an ‘either/or.’ We have some information; we have some evidence of the “either” and the “or”, but this most often leads us to a dead-end, “have to.”  This infers that we are out of choices, and must make a decision based on judgment.  This feels heavy and hopeless.

Making a choice, however, feels like we’ve got a big map with many, many different options.  We can choose to go forward, backward, stay the course, or pull off.  We can race ahead, or we can stop and rest.  We can get off the highway and meander through side roads.  We can stop along the way. 

What can be more powerful than the privilege of choosing the direction of our own life?

I am so privileged.  And powerful.  I can choose:

who I vote for.

how I pray, or practice my Faith.

how I spend my money.

how I make my money.

where I live.

who I love.

how I spend my time.

what I eat.

The list of choices in my life are endless…

Choices are juicy.  They are about possibility and exploration and freedom.  They are — in direct contrast to the dead-end “have to” — an endless road to “get to.”  

Back to that scenic overlook.  It’s all about perspective and awareness.  If you stay on the crazyass highway, you will be crushed by fear.  You will decide that it is hopeless and that you are a failure and that you are not good enough and this is just the way it is. (and so it will be.)

If you pull over and look at the bigness and beauty before you, you will begin to see value and feel grateful.  In the bigness, you will feel more confident, smart, creative, compassionate.  And you will — in that feeling state — choose to be happy. You will choose what you WANT to do next.  And, at its highest viewpoint, choice becomes dedication; where you are no longer actually choosing but are being pulled by the passion in your heart you’ve been racing towards all along. 

Decision = Fear. 

Choice  = Passion + Freedom.

…Following this path through increasing levels of seriousness, we reach a certain threshold where our freedom to choose seems to disappear and is replaced by an understanding that we were made for the world in a very particular way and that this way of being is at bottom nonnegotiable.  Like the mountain or the sky, it just is.  It is as if we choose and choose until there is actually no choice at all… the only question is whether you will respond, whether you will not turn away, whether you will turn toward it – whether, in effect, you will become a dedicated spirit.     ~ David Whyte

I encourage you to pull over, take your foot off the gas and your eyes off the rearview mirror.  Let the bigness and beauty of the scenic overlook — the bigger picture — remind you of all the choices you have, all the passion that is inside of you, and all that you have to give to the world.

I’ll be parked right next to you, reminding myself of the same.

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