I’ve been thinking about choice for the last few months. There’s always a choice in my thoughts, but do know I have a choice before I just make one or take one without thinking about it? There’s a choice about how I take care of myself and a choice about how and what I choose to give my time and energy to these days. These choices are ingrained in habits, but oftentimes I can revisit them and change the default choice mode.
I can choose to focus on all the many heartwarming acts of kindness and love neighbors have done for each other and the greater community in the past two weeks rather than focusing on all the terrible news. And I choose to see the groundswell of people protesting for needed change in the world as choosing to try to make a better world. I also personally choose to tap into an internal feeling of security in my heart and my connection to a sense of trust in the divine and trust in goodness. Do I see that turning on the switch to make these positive choices is up to me because it is!
There’s a choice I need to make about my self-care and about my health. There’s a choice about my diet. Do I choose to add in a layer of “aaah” about extra services and stretching and whatnot required for living well with a rheumatological condition, or do I choose to believe what I say, that “we all get something,” and this too is not the end of the world? It is definitely not the end of the world. This outlook is a choice. It’s a choice to not let health issues that can be a drag get me down. It’s a choice not only during COVID, rather, it’s always a choice.
Do I exercise and then, if I do, and I’m still in physical pain, do I choose to think , “that stinks it still hurts and it wasn’t worth my doing my stretch routine,” or do I say, “that was then and this is now,” and give myself credit for what I did earlier? And then do I stretch again in that moment?
We are all always beginners when it comes to forming new habits and making better and better choices for ourselves and our thought patterns. Some days I’m better at making these personal thought choices and “stretching” my choice-muscles more than other days.
A business owner I know used to always talk about stumbling forward. We all just keep stretching again, growing our better habits, trying to make the most positive choice at that time and moment and stumbling forward.
There were many great calls, emails, letters received via snail mail and moments of reconnecting with those I care about recently. There were moments when my body felt less stiff and achey. I realized I have to take the time to let that in rather than choosing to stay in all the things that still need to be attended to and the world that still needs a lot of fixing. The choice to do both is a choice, but I get to make it a positive choice for forward momentum rather than a stress or an obligation.
There’s a choice about what I choose to read and what images I let in, what thoughts I choose to dwell on and which I choose to mentally throw away. There’s a choice for how I choose to BE with me when I am with me.
I’ve often said that sometimes you have to be your own cheer squad and I was never a cheerleader. But cheering yourself on and self-compassion are extremely helpful in getting through difficult days. Cheering others on is also important when they are struggling as well. We see this all the time.
A person I know was once volunteering in a hospital and a nurse saw that that the person herself was down while visiting a patient. The nurse asked the young woman questions about herself, her time, and in due course she found out this woman was troubled about a personal matter she thought reflected as if it were a flaw in her. The nurse looked at this friend and said quite simply, “God don’t make no junk.” And we’ve heard that cliché before, but I think it bears repeating anytime we’re feeling down, or less than, or yucko about ourselves, our choices, or where we are in this strange world we live in. God don’t make no junk. If you came into this world, you’ve got a mission that’s important and everyone hopefully has a chance to try to figure that out while they’re here. Remember, God restored your soul to you this morning and if He believes in you, then who are you to dismiss you? That’s a choice too.
Choose wisely. Your internal light is made up of all that you’ve been and done.
There is a children’s book I love that’s called “Meshka the Kvetch.” In it, Meshka, the main character, is a real kvetch (complainer.) She complains about everything in her world, and in this book, everything she complains about turns into her reality. In this short tale, circumstances arise where Meshka finds herself squished in a tiny matchbox house when she’d just complained about her house being too small, her son is turned into a big pickle with a bump on it, when she’d complained a moment beforehand how he sits around and reads all day like a bump on a pickle, and on and on. Meshka develops a very itchy tongue at this point, and it’s pointed out to her that she’s developed a kvetch’s itch which must be cured by learning to praise instead of complain.
It’s wrapped up neatly in this short book and Meshka quickly sees the error of her ways and is taught to praise instead of complaining, and she chooses to start to practice the art of praise. In reality, this is much harder to do for many of us, myself included, than it is for Meshka. The line I love the most from “Meshka the Kvetch” is, “Things are good and I am happy. And soon she was.” That outcome was the choice of the author, Carol Chapman.
You are resilient and can choose better for today too, even if it’s small, even if it feels like stumbling forward, even if it’s a stretch. As the well-known saying goes, the personal is always political. Your thoughts, just like mine, are infinitesimal choices that make up your core and what you stand for. Choose to make your world and society better today. When we’re aware of our choices, and we choose from the team of our better angels over our lesser ones, it makes all the difference in working towards bringing our personal and collective light out into the greater world. Shine brightly.
Be well in your lives and reach out to [email protected] to talk about these ideas more!