In one of Woody Allen’s more philosophical movies, his character makes the observation that one’s life is the sum total of all of one’s choices. I can’t recollect the name of that movie, but that statement stuck with me. Think about that for a moment. The life that you are experiencing at this very moment is the quintessence of all of the choices that you have made along the way.
Everyday you are bombarded with choices: Should you have the caesar salad for lunch or the cheeseburger? Will you take your regular route to work, or is it better to take an alternate to avoid the traffic jam they just announced on the morning news? Do you feel like getting a workout in after work, or is this a night that you just want to read a book? Those are the small choices we make on a daily basis, and at least for this month we are going to set those aside and examine the larger choices — the ones that have brought you to the place where you stand right now.
Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul, said that choice is singularly the most important element of our evolutionary process. The fact that we can make choices is what puts us at the top of the food chain. Considering how profound that is, I’d like you take a few moments now to reflect over the tapestry of your life. Think back to a few of the most significant choices you have made — ones that have shaped your life. Specifically:
- A choice that you are the most wistful about; one in which the idea or thought “what would have happened?” comes up from time to time.
- A choice that you haven’t thought about in years, one that has occurred to you simply as a result of your reflection over the past.
- A choice that you have the most regrets over, perhaps with an attitude of “if I could only change the way I handled that.”
We will come back to these later on.
If I Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
When we make a choice that has had considerable impact over our life, it’s as if we have arrived at a crossroads. We stand at this fork in the road and deliberate the possibilities of taking this path or another. Sometimes it feels as if we just kept traveling down one road without really considering the consequences or the options. And sometimes it didn’t feel as if we had any choice at all — rather that we were carried along by chance or circumstances like a leaf swept away by a current.
Eventually we get absorbed by the choice we committed to, somehow blurring out the other roads we could have taken. We bury them deep within our unconscious where they nudge at us from time to time. “What would my life had been like had I…?” becomes a litany in our heads, and in our hearts.
The very act of re-examining our choices is a proactive one. Unresolved choices are very energy draining as they tend to keep us trapped in either the past or the future. The only place where true change can occur is in the present. Fearing that we made the wrong choice creates a sense of helplessness and can paralyze our ability to make future choices. When we make peace with our choices, we free up enormous reserves of energy that can steer us down extraordinary new roads.
The Nature of Choice
As I delved into this subject in my writing and workshops, I have found that choices usually fall into three categories:
A. Conscious – this is a choice made deliberately and with awareness, such as choosing a career or deciding to have children.
B. Unconscious – this is something that you felt compelled to do, perhaps because of family expectations or automatically as you did not consider that you had options, such as marrying a certain person or going into the family business. Here you recognize that you had a choice, but perhaps felt powerless to exercise that right.
C. Higher Power – these are the choices that seemed to be made for you by life’s circumstances, such as a sudden transition, unforeseen situation or death of a loved one. These would be choices that you felt that you had no control over.
Going over those 3 choices, determine whether they were “Conscious”, “Unconscious”, or “Higher Power.” How do you feel about each one of these choices?
We have only just scratched the surface of this compelling subject. Next month, we will enter the world of quantum physics and explore the many worlds interpretation conceived by a scientist from Princeton University that suggests that the roads and choices you left behind might exist within frequencies and dimensions that are easily tuned into by your subconscious mind…
I honor the choices that I have made in my life. I have the power to make enlightened choices as my self-knowledge and self-responsibility grows.
“The laboratory of parallel universe experimentation may not lie in a mechanical time machine a la Jules Verne, but could exist between our ears.” ~Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., Parallel Universes: The Search for Other Worlds