We get to choose. That’s our power.
In fact, the only thing we have no choice about is whether or not we get to make choices!
We make choices in every moment whether we’re aware of it or not, and there’s just no getting around it. As I write, I’m choosing not to loosen the shoelaces on my running shoes because I’m choosing not to disturb my fellow train passenger sitting opposite me; I am choosing one element of discomfort over another. I’m choosing to look out the window and enjoy the view of the sun rising, reflecting on the “Dawn Wall” of the You Yangs. I’m choosing to revel in this early morning. I’m choosing to shift – or not –to become more comfortable. I’m choosing which direction to send my thoughts in. I’m choosing to connect with those who are open to connecting – choosing to return that hesitant smile thrown my way…my overriding choice for this busy day of work and meetings is PEACE. Yes, that’s a choice too.
What else do we make choices about constantly? Here’s a big one – choosing to hold on to negative emotions, feelings, beliefs or thoughts…or not. Now, we don’t always have a choice about the way we feel. I was talking to an client yesterday, who grew up with a violent Vietnam veteran father who had PTSD, and a depressed mother. She said that after our work, the change she found most profound was that she now has a choice as to how she feels. She can choose how she responds to her children, to events, to situations.
When you have PTSD or are caught somewhere in “fight, flight, freeze", when you're in an extreme stress response where you’re constantly being hijacked by your very effective in-built-alarm system, you have no choice. It’s a physiological response, and its purpose is to protect us. The feelings and experience take over your whole body and being. This is NOT what I’m referring to when I say we get to choose. In that situation, we need help to resolve the underlying issues of trauma and stress.
No - what I am talking about is so every-day, so pedestrian, that we forget we have the power of choice. We allow ourselves to be buffeted around by our minds, environment and events. We feel like it’s all happening to us. We forget to make choices. And yet it’s these small, every day, pedestrian choices that we make in every moment, which shape our lives.
So what are your choices for today? Let me know in the comments.