The Power of Choice

When we were children, many of us wanted to change the world. We wanted to do what we wanted, have everyone get along and live happily ever after.

Somewhere along the way many of us decided it wasn’t possible. As we got older we become more “realistic”. We began to see the world as it “really is”.  We came to “understand” that we are not capable – not smart enough, not creative enough, not rich enough, not brave enough, not strong enough.

To change the world it does actually take every single one of us. Not a special group with special talents and bottomless resources, connections and raging confidence.

Every. Single. One. Of. US.

You. Me.

The study that was recently published by Scientific America suggesting that if we believe there is choice involved in circumstance, we act and make our own decision with less empathy didn’t exactly put the emphasis on the heart of the study. What was left out is how we can rarely know another’s life. We can be shown someone’s circumstances and we can be told they made choices that landed them where they are, which is what this study did. We cannot live in another’s heart, know another’s pain except through our own experience and it is just that – our experience. What we would have done in the same situation is irrelevant. It was not our experience, therefore we have nothing to say. It is no one’s place  to take away another’s right to do the best they can in any given situation. If we cannot empathize, we step away.

We make dozens of choices every day. Some as simple as having a cup of coffee and others far more complex and far-reaching.

Every decision we make is in response to two stimuli: Love and Fear.

That’s it.

We make decisions based on what is socially acceptable – fear of not fitting in, fear of reprimand, fear of public humiliation, fear of being shunned.

We makes decisions based on what we are told by “experts” – french fries are bad for you, you should exercise at least 3-5 times a week, no pain no gain, women should stay home and have babies and men can do anything they want.

We make decisions based on how we were raised – if your child doesn’t get into Harvard or another such prestigious school they have little chance of “success”,  if your child doesn’t get straight As all through school, they won’t get into a “good” college and have a successful and happy life, you have to go to church every Sunday or you’ll go to hell, if you don’t make alot of money you’re lower on the human scale.

I chose some dramatic examples above, but none of them are fictitious. They are all examples of concepts from which life decisions have and are still being made. Some of them are minor (eat fewer fries) but most are decisions that we might feel hard-pressed to makes in different ways.

We don’t necessarily believe in the decisions we make. We make some decisions because it is what’s expected; it’s conventional wisdom; it’s the way it’s always been done; this is how Mom or Dad did it; “the powers that be” decreed it so. Who are these powers anyway? I’m going to go back to a very big statement I just made.

We don’t necessarily believe in the decisions we make.

This is a big deal.

We often know that the decisions we’re making are not the best decision we could be making.

What if every decision we made was truly out of love?

Rinse and repeat:

What if every decision we made was truly out of love?

What if, instead of getting caught up in what we don’t want to happen, what we ‘hate’, what is the “tried and true” path, we focus on what we want, what we love and what we know to be true in our bodies/gut?

If I have always made decisions based on a certain way of thinking, how will I know how to change that?

Sensation.

When I make decisions that are purely self-serving, based in jealousy, resentment, pain, anger and fear that the goodies will run out if I don’t take them now – my body feels a certain way.

When I make decisions that are based on my truth, the honesty of my life, a transparency and generosity with everything I have – my body also feels a certain way. This sensation is vastly different from the one above.

Do this. See how it feels. Revisit a decision you regret and listen to the sensations that come up in your body. Then speak or think of a decision you know is right for you and feel that.

Make no mistake, I’m not talking about self-sacrifice. Mostly that just breeds self-importance and resentment. I’m talking about getting what I need for my physical health, mental and emotional well-being and spirit or spiritual growth. Then, the more I give, the more I get.

Then, I will be able to see that there is enough for everyone.

So what am I suggesting in a practical sense? Take care of your body – fall in love with it whatever shape its in right now and go from there. Take care of your brain by stimulating it with new stuff and your mind by giving it truth and not overloading it with assumptions – ask lots of questions! Care for your emotions by respecting every one as a guide – there are no “positive” or “negative” emotions, there are simply emotions for our use. There are always reasons why we feel the way we do. Spirit or spiritual care: open the box and jump out – we are ALLLLLLLLLLL creative – we have unique ways of looking at events and processing information – take you way out and give it a spin! A belief in a divine can be important; believing in something bigger than ourselves. Find a belief system that feels true to your heart and in your body. Your mind will follow.

Our world is changing and we will change with it. We cannot go back. The past is just that – it is passed. What worked then will not and should not work now. So we step forward.

We can only take care of the world if we take care of ourselves first.

The choice is yours.  Making small changes in your life can have big results in the world.

Change yourself –  change the world…

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