We each have moments in our lives where we wished we had chosen differently or are unsure of how to proceed. For me, these moments exist in the mean spirited action I participated in as a junior in college or holding on to relationships that were not meant for me; in times when thoughtless words were spoken in moments of frustration and in gestures of unkindness to the people that I love. We get so busy, tired, and hyper-focused on our problems that we act out of habit or automaticity and engage in actions before recognizing our choice. If we stopped for a moment, we might observe our tendency to make decisions based on the way we feel and the incessant thoughts running through our minds rather than from the place in our hearts that are the truest expression of who we are.
Maybe for you, that moment existed today, yesterday, or last year. Or maybe it hasn’t happened yet; perhaps it’s a decision you are contemplating but have not decided on, a fork in the road between the person you are capable of being and a decision that is easy, convenient, or safe.
This is a simple reminder that our lives are characterized by actions; that every single action or inaction made is the result of a choice. And all of these choices bear fruit; they have consequences, slowly shape the story of our lives, and plant seeds that will eventually take root. Take a moment and think about the hundreds of small choices wrapped up in all the minutes of the day… when you choose to go to sleep, who lays beside you, and whether or not you push the snooze button in the morning. There are choices in whether you wake up to a moment of gratitude or three cups of coffee, extra sugar. Choices exist in the words we speak, how we express our emotions, and the kinds of people we allow into our lives. The people we let stay and the people we let go. We have choices in what we consume, how we feel, and the way we move our bodies. Choices in the purchases we make, the money we do or do not save, the activities we engage in, and the information we take in through the brightly lit screens on our telephones, computers, televisions, and games. Decisions also exist in what we choose not to do, like not finishing the degree, not quitting the job, or establishing healthy boundaries for ourselves. You can decide to quiet your voice or shout from the top of your lungs, to pause, or to constantly move from one place of busyness to the next. Maybe you routinely make the decision to treat yourself with less love and kindness than you deserve.
This is my encouragement to choose to respond to whatever challenge you are facing with your highest self. With the part of you that can look beyond the immediate situation and shift to a larger perspective. This is a reminder that we can choose to show up in every situation with the parts of ourselves that are calm, compassionate, honest, wise, and healthy. And on some days and in some moments you might be able to rationalize your actions even when the deepest part of yourself knows you are wrong. Maybe you’re frustrated and justified in your anger, but you still have the choice to let go of that hurt. You still have the choice to move on, to accept what is, and to forgive. You can take a step in the direction of your goals despite how difficult the journey may be, and no matter how unmotivated you feel; this is a gentle reminder that changes happen in our lives only when we choose to make them.
You’ll encounter situations that break your heart and still you can choose to put the pieces back together, to heal, to love deeply, and trust again. You’ll meet people who are hurtful and unkind and you can still offer them grace and the light that you are. And when you can’t offer that, perhaps make the decision to not act. Your choice is in the inaction, in the pause. You may find situations that challenge you, and you can choose to try, to learn, and to grow.
When we choose to act in congruence with the best version of ourselves- with the light and loving kindness that exists within all of us- we slowly start to become all that we already are.
we exist in the depth of our choices.