Decisions are a part of our every day lives. Sometimes, decisions suck and we are stuck in INdecision because we often battle between our head and our heart, never reaching a desired outcome, and often times, using logic and circumstances to make that decision. We fall back on “Responsibilities” much of the time to make the decision for us, choosing safety, reliability, and the known outcome to save us from making “a bad choice.” Then we complacently complain about the job we hate, the relationship that’s status quo, the life that’s average, and somehow make it through each average day feeling we’ve “done the right thing”.
As someone that has spent a lot of time making choices that satisfied other people more than myself, and seeing how I’m the one that has suffered from those choices, and then my own suffering in the end, causes others to suffer anyway(!) I think it’s high time to make choices in a new way. Yes, I’m still on my Sedona high (in case you missed my last post inspired by Sedona, check out this post) where it became more clear to me that every moment offers us a choice, and how powerful that is. I also got in touch with how each choice FEELS, which is something I have felt cut off from living in a big city with so much “energetic noise.” I also had the pleasure of attending an Abraham workshop and really connected to the idea of making choices that FEEL good. As I already mentioned, how you feel often impacts those closest to you. So, when we get stuck in the “I’ll hurt his/her feelings if I make this choice”, and then blame them mentally for not doing what we want, we often end up suffering from a choice not in our heart’s interest, and that, in turn, causes us to hurt our loved ones anyway.
The method I had been using for the choices I make really struck me when I returned my rental car in Phoenix and Cesar, the lovely attendant trying to help me with the return, picked up on how much I wanted to just stay and he said, “You know, we have your contract in the system, if you want, you can just back the car up, turn around, and keep the car as long as you like.” First, I thought he was crazy. Then, I realized, he was absolutely right. I could just turn the car around and drive off into the sunset and create a new path. Then came those damned responsibilities in my mind, “but you have a doctor appointment tomorrow that you can’t reschedule, and you already booked your flight and it’s non-refundable, and you have to get to work, and you have to pay your rent…..”
Then it hit me that, in fact, I could indeed reschedule the doctor appointment if I accepted some related consequences. I could pay for another flight, I could actually NOT return to work, and I could find a way to get my rent in. So, in fact, I could make whatever choice I want, and if that choice was to drive off, it really was possible for me to do! Then a magical thing happened – I connected to what I FELT – my heart deeply wanted to stay, and I knew that if I turned that car around, I would be offering myself the highest joy in that moment. Knowing that feeling, I realized I could follow my joy to whatever the next choice was, the one after that, and so on. I also realized, I could choose to return to Arizona (and any other place I liked) any time I wanted – this was not a “now or never” opportunity.
I also realized that what often causes our heart to feel joy is a decision where the outcome is the least known, and thus, the most scary. Isn’t it beautiful how our heart is always connected to that unknown journey, beckoning us to discover, be courageous, and transform?
Making decisions based on FEELINGS is a focus I am making for 2014 and beyond, and I invite you to join me! It’s been too damn easy letting external people and situations sabotage myself from having what I want, so I’m done! 🙂 I’m not at all implying that the intent is to consciously hurt others – in fact if your decision might hurt someone’s feelings, I invite you to find the highest point of your integrity to have a conscious conversation with that person and develop an outcome that fits both of you.
As you look at your personal and business goals this year, see if you can figure out how many of those goals are based on things like;
- other people’s advice
- other people’s 10-magic-steps-to-success-that-worked-for-them-but-so-far-haven’t-worked-for-you
- working and pushing really hard
- responsibilities to other people
Then, I invite you to sit with each goal, and see how it makes you FEEL. I imagine some goals will light you up inside, and you will feel deeply aligned with those goals, and the work you have to do towards them will feel effortless. But, some of those goals may make you angry, or sad, or feel bored. If you try to pursue those goals, you will no doubt feel like you’re working too hard and getting little or no results, or, you may come to realize you don’t work on those goals at all because of how disconnected you feel from them.
Make a list from these two sets of goals – the ones that make you feel good, and the ones that make you feel bad. Take the “bad” list, and see what you can do to make each goal feel better to you!
Thanks for your insights Heather. It’s something I still struggle with but I was a “script follower” until a few years ago. My decisions were based on what I thought I was “supposed” to do. It’s freeing to go off script but it’s not easy navigating. BTW, did you drive away or fly home?
Hi Kevin. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is a struggle, but a worthwhile one. I mentally drove off, but physically did fly home. It was really interesting, because that experience also plugged me into my heart very deeply. My heart was really disappointed to be going home, yet knowing I can return to a place that makes my heart happy is wonderful. And, being in the airport, I connected deeply to my love of travel, and all the endless possibilities of places I could travel to, so my heart still got to leap for joy! 🙂