Made some bad decisions? You can still create a great life…

A pilgrim walked through difficult landscapes. 
“As he traveled, he saw a great deal of suffering and conflict, getting more discouraged each day. Finally, he happened upon a shop that promised him his heart’s desires. The pilgrim asked for peace – within his family and the world. He asked for health, for freedom for all, and many other good things. 

The shopkeeper, looking very downcast, apologised to the man. “I should have explained. We don’t supply the fruits here. We only supply the seeds.”
In transitions, God provides the seeds; what we do with them is up to us. We can toss them in a drawer and forget about them. Or we can plant them in the garden and wait to see what grows next spring. God can work with anything – good and bad decisions alike – and still help us create our lives out of the choices we’ve made.”

Debra K Farrington 

The Next Step

What to do? What to do? We worry and fret when we have decisions to make – and we can end up stuck where we are. We don’t trust ourselves or the Universe to do that. We get caught up in our minds, going from first step to last step – when all we have to do is take the next step.

The Next Step

The first step needs action to start it,
The last requires patience to end,
So we question, which one’s most important,
When we realize our dreams’ our best friend.
Well, the answer is neither, they’re equal,
But the one that will help you win through
And connect what you start to the finish,
Is the next step that’s waiting for you.
Life’s dreamers are great Goal Achievers!
Their faith and persistence just blends
Into one awesome cocktail of knowledge,
That whatever they want they can get.
You see, they never visualize failure,
It’s success that they see shining through.
It’s essential to start and to finish,
But the next step is what you must do.

© Alison Wilson

 

On doing the “right” thing…

Decisions, decisions. Before every action, there’s a thought. You might not ever be consciously aware of your thought, but it was there all the same.

In the film “Parallel Doors” we observe the different routes life could go on the basis of one choice and the film shows us the consequence of each choice. Yet that’s always only ever a philosophical debate. The fact is we make choices every minute of every day that impact our future. Right down to what we eat and drink and whether we turn left or right, act or don’t act. Choosing is how we live, it’s just that we often make our choices unconsciously.

When you consciously know there is a decision to be made, do you regularly make it easily? Or do you agonise over decisions for hours or days, seeking second and third opinions from people and suffer from paralysis by analysis? After all, what if you make the “wrong” decision? If making decisions is a major issue for you, then even deciding if you want coffee or tea might cause anxiety. (It also means you’ve lost touch with who you are and what you think and want from life. Could be time to get your journal out……)

When it comes to major decisions though, I know that in the past, I found myself stuck – and not just paralysed by indecision and fear of making a “wrong” choice – but unable to see any options at all.

This was particularly the case when my thinking meant that I evaluated right/wrong choices on the basis of other people. I could only see how what was right for ME could mean hard times, tears and pain for others. This concern for others in doing “the right thing” paralysed me just as much as fear of the unknown. And sadly, this has also led to me getting to the point where the dam inside just burst, and I ended up wading through the wreckage the flood left behind.

But wading through that wreckage and rebuilding a life again helped me to understand (in hindsight) that no choice I make is ever strictly a “wrong” choice, EVEN when MY decision could be the “right” decision for me – but the “wrong” one for someone else, or for the collective group. It’s simply the right choice for me if I’m to live authentically.

Yesterday, I read this quote from Gary Smit who wrote, “Choosing to do the right thing means you are going to have to withdraw from the wrong choices you made. Be easy about it and flow towards your desires, making better choices every day, and then the withdrawal from old choices will be less, than if you were to make new choices while beating yourself up over old choices.”

In this context, as Natalie (who had posted it on Facebook) pointed out, this was about people who make wrong choices – and then continue to make them. That’s a different issue, though still about choice and it means there then comes a point when someone is running a wrong-choice pattern, they need to withdraw from those and start to make better choices. Now that’s wise. Sometimes we learn easily and are “once bitten, twice shy.” And sometimes we need to see the patterns we run because only then can we change.

Certainly, there is little value in beating yourself up about past choices. You did what you did at the time on the basis of who you were then with the values, beliefs and experiences you had to that point. It’s that hindsight thing again!

For that reason, if you spend time weighing up the options, there comes a point where a decision needs made. Agonising and dithering means a lot of anxiety or the pressure of being stuck; and a lot can still happen even while that’s how you feel.

Even when you are between a “rock and a hard place” you must at last make a choice to live and at the very least, you try one option. Otherwise you end up like the donkey who couldn’t choose between two bales of hay and starves to death – a rather drastic consequence of his indecision – but you get the idea.

Make a decision and know that you made the best choice at the time. There IS no failure, only feedback. It you make a decision that doesn’t “work out,” you learn from it and move on, living with the consequences and still learn from that. It’s all good.

Sometimes, of course, you make the “right” choice. You weigh up your actions and possibilities and you are more than happy with your choice. And then something happens to make you re-evaluate things completely, and you change direction. Does that mean your first choice was wrong and you should beat yourself up about it? Of course not! We are human beings living in an uncertain world, and life happens in the middle of our plans. You made that decision on the basis of who you were then; it’s quite possible that the experience you gained through that is exactly why you realise you need to make a different choice.

If you are to live authentically, you must be able to listen to your heart and be flexible enough to change so that how you LIVE now fits with who you ARE. now. The course of your life could pivot on that choice; only hindsight will tell that. For now, it’s YOUR choice to take a different road and even if it’s less travelled, all you need to know is that it’s the right road for you to take.