Have you ever noticed that all action is preceded with a silent moment of contemplation? Depending on the circumstances that moment might be hours, whilst in some cases, it all happens so fast it seems instantaneous. That poignant moment – that short pause – is the timeless space of choice. All action comes from choice.
A little while back I finally stopped smoking. After spending a great deal of my adult life a slave to tobacco, sometimes heavily, sometimes only socially, I triumphantly managed to walk into freedom and this time I knew with every fibre of my being it was for good. What’s more is it was easy. Besides a few physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawals, the whole process was a breeze and quite unexpectedly as well, because all previous attempts were a painful, unsuccessful nightmare.
How it happened was that I woke up one morning after smoking heavily the night before, and the penny really dropped as to what a complete lie the addiction was. I had become a slave to a truly disgusting habit that I had convinced myself was actually pleasurable. I had persuaded myself to love it, I had embodied every justification I could almost imagine in order to simply support the choice to smoke and the belief that it could bring me real relief to my emotions. I had empowered my habit with the ability to relieve my tension and thereby had dis-empowered myself. I realised that the whole affliction stemmed from a choice, and so, in that moment I simply made a new one, a choice to honour myself, a choice to experience my emotions clearly for what they are and to accept that the relief I seek is inside me. Part of that choice was also to dedicate myself to continuing that choice, every day, until it became embodied as my new reality.
Recently I had a smoking cessation client and one of the processes I facilitated with her was to locate her choice point for her last cigarette. She remembered into that time and we played it in slow motion like a movie, back and forth. The pattern was easy: experience stress, look for an out, reach for a cigarette, smoke, feel temporary relief. As we slowed it down frame by frame, she was overwhelmed to discover that the relief occurred on the very moment that she chose to allow herself to have a cigarette, not at the point of lighting it up. She was experiencing a similar “aha” moment as I did, and she realised that she could change her physiological experience in an instant simply by choice. Funnily enough, after realising this, whenever I asked her to imagine the act of smoking a cigarette, she would nearly gag. It was like the realisation had given her permission to see the truth of her relationship with tobacco and how it really made her feel.
Choice is so powerful. As human beings we are inherently creators of our world, our experience and our lives. What dictates that creation is the quality of our choices and how aligned they are with our greater values and the circumstantial environments within which they are made. We all have something we want to change or something we want to do, something we want to create in our lives, but how often have you made a choice to do something and it hasn’t followed through? Why is that?
New directions in life always start with a choice. I call this ‘The Big Choice’ – its the one that alters the direction of your path. Its the one that gets things moving, it starts calling forward opportunities, resources and directions as to how to embrace change. The potential success of that big choice, however, is completely reliant on the quality of all the small choices that occur on the way to embodying and realising it. The small choices are the continual ones that need to be made in every moment, both consciously and unconsciously, in order to make the big choice a reality.
If the smaller choices don’t support the big choice then they become what I call ‘The Anti-choice’. The thing about anti-choices is that generally you don’t see yourself making them. They are the sneaky reversions to old life paths, the things we say and presuppose in our conversations, the subtle statements we make for ourselves in our silent actions on various unconscious levels of our behaviour and being, and because of their subtlety they have quite a powerful influence on our outcomes. Overcoming antichoices is about becoming aware and then enacting Freewill.
Freewill is a gift. For me it has an inherent primordial energy and feeling about it like the animalistic choice to live and the natural will to survive. It is such an influential component of our consciousness, it has a real creative, universal magic to it. Freewill really reveals it’s true creative potential when all of it is focused into a singular direction through choice, without exception, in response to the need for change.
Recognising your ability to respond to choice is acknowledging your responsibility to your Self and your needs. Noticing the anti-choice and acting on it in the moment is the single most powerful action you can take in support of your chosen life path. The harder the choice, the more influential it becomes in aiding you to plot a course and embrace your new direction. Choice points that seduce you into old patterns, if navigated responsibly and in honour of the big choice, become the most powerful statements. If repeated these statements actually compound in your reality, so much so that when you get the hang of managing the anti-choice, life can respond so quickly it feels magical.
In short, the shift begins in the moment when you are called into your creative power by seeing a need. For me it was sitting on the end of my bed with a roaring head ache and a mouth like an ashtray, seeing the need to change, walk a new path and make the big choice to embrace it. The transition was complete for me when I found myself acting upon the big choice without conscious thought. It’s that point when the new path becomes second nature because all parts of being are congruently aligned with the freewill desire to be, do or have something more.
So next time you find yourself in that poignant pause before action, that timeless space of choice, be sure to remember to acknowledge, understand and utilise the potential power of your choice, in response to your own personal needs and life path. Maybe even take an extra moment to consider the potential smaller choices you will need to make in order to support that big choice. But don’t deliberate about it too much, indecision in itself is a choice of inactivity. Trust that you know what’s good for you and after all it doesn’t matter which direction you take as long as you realise that the choice is always yours to either pursue it with greater volition or to change course completely.
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