It’s amazing to me just how hard it can be to make a decision. From big life decisions like what direction to take a career, to in-the-moment madness, like whether to purchase the local, non-organic cucumber or the organic cucumber from Mexico or no cucumber at all until July.
While it’s a pretty great problem to have, to be able to choose to skip the gym and watch netflix or spend five more minutes on facebook or buckle down with work that totally reflects what you care about, moment by moment, we need to make decisions about where to put our attention and energy.
At either end of the ‘decisions and actioning’ spectrum are: spinning in paralyses and doing on autopilot. My sense of where people get really tripped up is with the idea that there is a ‘right decision’.
So we negate what we know, or fail to trust our gut or intuition or we believe that gathering more information or options or opinions will help us sort it out.
This week’s practice is a bit of a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’. That’s right, I’m going to give you a choice around how to make a choice. The irony isn’t lost on me. But here’s the to trick making this an effective practice: know yourself. You already do, even if that statement just sent you into a freakout about how you don’t know who you are. Just pause and take a look, at the very least, you know your patterns. Feel into which place to ‘make a decision from’ feels the most useful for where you’re at. If you don’t know, choose the one that’s the most foreign to you.
The Practice: Below are a list of prompts, or access points for decision making. Choose one (yes just one,) to practice with for the week. This practice is NOT about helping you make the RIGHT decision, it’s about expanding your tool box for what you draw on when making a decision.
Breaking a habit: You see that you do the same thing over and over and it’s hurting you. You’re frustrated and you probably even feel like you need more ‘will power’. Each day this week, make a decision that breaks the cycle you’re in, even just a little. It’s all about trying a ‘new move’. Don’t think ‘overhaul’ or ‘fixing’ or even ‘getting somewhere’, think ‘make a choice that interrupts the habitual pattern.’ Part of the pattern is likely something like ‘what difference will it make if I…’ That’s a tricky one that’ll keep you from giving it a go. Don’t be tricked.
Keeping your word: Did you say you’d do it? To yourself or someone else? When asking the question ‘should I or shouldn’t I’, if you said you would, do it. Making a decision from here really commands us to take ownership over what we feel committed to and what we actually do commit to. This is especially tricky when you make commitments to yourself. We’ll often tell ourselves we’re confused simply because it’s painful to face the agitation or fear or discomfort of doing the thing and honouring our word to ourselves. Try it out once a day and see what you end up having to face.
Following your gut: What’s your gut say? Culturally we are so disconnected from anything below the neck that simply a week of tuning in and FEELING your gut will open up a ton. People ask this all the time, but do they actually feel and follow? I bet not. Once you know what your gut says, the practice is mustering the courage to follow it, especially when the mind interjects with its opinions. What I hear a lot of is that the gut has an instant response to something and then there’s a bunch of doubt or questioning or internal debate. Notice that internal dialogue and notice how that’s not the gut. Go back to what the gut said and give that a go.
May this practice offer you a new way in to the decision making process. But for God’s sake, if you find yourself spinning on this, if this becomes yet another person’s perspective or idea that swirls with the rest and keeps you from knowing what’s the most true to you, please toss it out. Beneath all the chatter and confusion is knowing, it’s just a matter of accessing.
Mad, massive love to you all,