Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Power of Choice

Recently I have been applying all my efforts to activities that are closer to my original dream than what I have been doing for the last few years, thinking I had to fall in with the system if I wanted to make living. The result is that I have a lot more energy and creativity. I am, however, also more sensitive and less inclined to want to suppress myself, sometimes with interesting results. What is interesting is that to a great extent I am returning to the threads that have always been present in my life, rather than drastically changing direction.

When things became tough on my chosen path, I have at times looked back to the places where the road had forked and big decisions had to be made. I often wondered whether I had made the right (or best) choice at those big forks in the road. This was even more the case when I watched others who were on the path I had diverted from and it looked like they were having a fabulous time. I would then ask myself if I hadn’t been telling myself lies to avoid my problems, and if I really wouldn’t have been able to truly be myself had I taken the other (more straight forward) option. I also wondered if I hadn’t made things difficult for myself simply to prove a point. I often came to the conclusion that I could have taken any of the roads and it might not have made such a big difference. What was important was not what I was doing, but whether I was being myself whilst doing it and whether I was enjoying the journey.

On the flipside, deciding that I wanted to live an authentic life influenced which options I considered viable. The ones that didn’t appear worthwhile fell away. Because life remains interesting, I still had a number of options left, each of which would have been an interesting journey. There were times when I regretted not having considered certain alternatives simply because I didn’t see them as a possibility.

The greatest crossroad for me was probably at the end of my first year at university when I changed course from law to humanities (I ended up doing postgraduate degrees in both psychology and classical literature). It was a very impulsive decision and I wasn’t in a particularly good emotional state when I made it, which is an understatement. I didn’t take anyone’s advice simply because I was too stubborn. I wanted to prove that I would decide how to live my life. During the times when I felt all my efforts were futile, I often found myself looking back at that moment. I would wonder if I was simply a dreamer and if I would have been better off having continued my law studies or, perhaps closer to my passion, studied homeopathy or nature conservation. The word “if” is probably the most useless word there is and yet I’m guilty of falling into its trap at times.

Having recently changed my approach to working with whatever enthusiasm I could find and seeing where that led me rather than trying to find work that I would be able to do with enthusiasm, I now realise that I probably couldn’t have made a better decision. It looks like my subconscious mind was one step ahead of me, knowing perfectly well what my passions were and what I needed to learn next. Destiny is a strange force. When we don’t have the power to play the cards it looks like everything comes together in a beautiful whole of flawed perfection, or perfect flaws. As soon as we apply intent, the subconscious either brings up what we need to heal or point the way towards achieving our desires.

The value of choice lies in empowerment. My teacher of ecopsychology taught me that empowerment is recognising that you have more than one option available to you. Through experience I have learned that the fastest way to move beyond powerlessness is to consciously choose what I have, regardless of whether I like it or not. We cannot be always happy or always comfortable. If we choose the discomfort when it’s present, we get to experience it. In the meantime we are being prepared for more fulfilling experiences. Life has its ups and downs and by choosing the downs when we don’t seem to have a say in the matter, we learn how to be more in control of our own ship.