April 14, 2012

The Power of Choice (Choose to Read This).

Photo: Stuart Miles

So here I was just needing to write something, anything, but having the experience of “writer’s block” that is usually very foreign to me.

Usually, inspiration channels through me like breath in a way that I can neither control nor prevent.  It just happens, dozens of times a day. Today, however, I just sat in silence staring at my keyboard.

Because there is so much “shit” going on in my life right now I should not have any blockage whatsoever. With some very notable exceptions, things are falling apart around me. Family that I once counted on seems to be turning their backs on me as my divorce proceeds. Ridiculous games are being played. Demands. Financial stress. Physical pain. Missing my kids. Employer bankruptcy. No, there should literally be a topic of choice at my fingertips as every single part of what I once “knew” is challenged and transformed. Finding inspiration to write really should be like shooting fish in a barrel (although I would never do that!) but today it wasn’t.  No, today I was simply blank.

Then a dear Friend, an Angel, posted a video of a great song (if you want to smile and increase your vibe just open it up…I dare you).  Her heading was “The message of the day seems to be Choice…”

So, I now found myself in a type of kirtan listening to that awesome song (go ahead, you know you want to hear it) and the floodgates opened. Yes, my Friend, hallelujah!!!

Here’s what I see. Feel free to disagree if you’d like, but I kind of dare you to find error here.  Not because I am Mr. Perfect and “right” but because I’ve spent a lifetime trying to prove this wrong and failed. Yes, failed. So, in essence, I am daring you to make all of the bullshit I’ve created in my life that has led me to pain and suffering somehow “right” although I can promise you will fail as I have.

Every experience we have is a lesson from which we create our futures.

For instance, my experience from a young boy created a high level of distrust in people. Those experiences, to a great degree, proved to me that people were basically angry liars and cheats. Nice people were pushed around. Those who didn’t control others were lied to and bullied. Emotions were a bad thing. Yes, I was taught these lessons well from a very early age.

I was a very sensitive and peace-loving young boy who lived in a rather abusive household. I once burst out in tears in front of my entire grade school at the end of Old Yeller (the movie version) for what are, to me, obvious reasons. I remember asking “what is wrong with you people, didn’t you feel anything when Old Yeller was shot?”.  I mean, seriously, how do you not cry at that moment?

I was a big, strong kid who should have been able to kick some ass, but I never wanted to hurt anyone. So, I would get picked on from time to time and, being in a Catholic grade school, could find no peace in the writings of Patañjali, Krishnamurti, Yogananda and others. I had the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus, but even though they seemed to promote peace and harmony, it seemed the focus we were taught was placed more on control, fear and threat of hellfire. I would read the words of Jesus and think “I don’t really have anything to fear” only to be told how I was going to burn in hell while gnashing my teeth for simply touching my penis or thinking about Sally naked in a shower.

Now, imagine a 13-year old boy who could throw 100 pound bags of grain around like they were empty being picked on by a twerp who couldn’t seem to tie his shoes without mommy. That was me. Eventually, however, the violence at home (and the lessons I was being taught in other areas) and the frustration within turned me violent. That’s how I spent my 20’s and half of my 30’s. Angry, violent, lying, cheating, hating, and creating (but more on that in a minute). While those who knew me saw me as nice, caring, considerate (but sometimes scary), that is not how I saw myself. I wanted people to fear me so that they would keep their distance and, if they refused, I was going to emotionally hurt them away. While this was all going on, I knew this was not me, but the me I knew as a young boy didn’t seem to serve me well and this “me” did. I had made a choice and, for quite awhile, I stuck to that choice like it was all I had. In other words, I felt I “had no choice” even though it was a choice that I had made.

That is my story, but it no longer has any hold on me. I’ve long forgiven that young man, and I’ve returned somewhat to that boy. I cry often when I feel the urge. I offer my hand in Love to everyone. My Creator even helped me out because, despite my Nature of Loving Compassion, I don’t get picked on. See, 6-foot tall, 240-pound men who are bald with goatees don’t ordinarily get picked on. If only I had shaved my head and had facial hair in grade school!!! Yes, I am laughing at the suggestion.

The value of this story is simple to me now. It doesn’t define me, but it certainly helps me create my future. How? Well, I can use this experience to actually know something.  In that knowledge I can make choices.  As a boy, I chose the Love that was inside of me over the fear. As I developed, I chose the fear over the Love. Now, I can use the experience of both to create not only my “Now moments” but also my future. I don’t focus on creating my future, I focus on creating my Now knowing that it will help me define my future.

So, I can look at the “shit” going on in my life and decide what I choose it to be. I can also cho0se whether or not I really want to make that smelly junk my focus at all. See, for each and every pound of “shit” in my life I have 10 pounds of sweet, fragrant roses. We all do if we choose to simply look where the sweet smells are coming from.  And while I am fortunate that I have all of these wonderful gifts in my life, I’m even more fortunate that I choose to see them. We all have them, we all just don’t choose to focus on them.

So, what do you choose to see today?

Do you choose to see the obstacles or the goal? Do you choose to see the Love or the fear? Do you choose to choose or do you simply give that power to someone else (see how silly that sounds)? Do you choose to focus on the roadblocks you’ve created to your Happiness or the Happiness itself? Whatever you choose remember, it’s your choice. You are the Power, the Creator, and the magic that you often pray for is within your power to create simply by choosing to do so.

Today, I choose to Love you. I choose to cherish you. I choose to let these tears flow freely down my face as I listen to this song for the dozenth time realizing just how much in Love with this Life I am. I want to feed you, clothe you, wash your feet, forgive you, hold you, protect you and, most of all, not get in the way of your choice. I want to plant the seeds in my Being that allow me to be and do all of these things.  I want to water those seeds. I want to shed Light on them.

Right now I smell roses even as my dog is trying her best to remind me of the other smell (go away Juno!!). Someone once said (I’ve added the word in parentheses) “Forgiveness (Love) is the fragrance that the flower leaves on the heel of the one that has crushed it.”  Unlike the flower, we humans Being have a choice. I envy the flower sometimes, but I also believe the flower would envy me if it had the choice to do so. It’s the exercise of our free will, the Power of Choice, that makes us who we are in this unique experience of Living. Don’t overlook it. Cherish it.

Now, I know I dared you to prove me wrong. Minds greater than mine are working overtime to show me up. All one need to do is watch the news to see proof of that. Still, here’s one I heard very recently from a friend:

“I didn’t choose to get sick.”

Maybe not, but you choose to view your illness in the way that you did. I don’t want to get into the minutia (a word dedicated to my friend Lisa) about how lifestyle choices can make you sick, that’s not the point here (although many of us, including me, could stand to make some better choices in that area).

Recently I was challenged by straining the ligaments in my right foot on one week and then my left foot the next (I go mostly barefoot from the beginning of spring to the end of fall and that transition sometimes causes me to hurt my feet). Now, I choose the “woe be me” space more than once during the days of pain. Mostly though, I decided to choose to learn something from it. I read more, and relied on others more to help me take the dog out and clean up. I began to see things from the perspective of people who can’t get around. I challenged my beliefs about certain things, particularly about the strengthening exercises my doctor gave me last year when this happened (wow, he may actually know something other than how to fill out a prescription!!).  I learned I have friends who care about me intensely. I learned the value of being able to walk, run, and actually move. Yes, I’ve learned a lot over these last couple of weeks.

Most of all, I learned that I have a choice. I chose not to do my exercises over the winter, so in effect I chose to have my feet hurt this spring. I chose to use the down time to learn, observe and count on others. I chose to ignore the pain to do the Climb for Air walk in Philly, which meant that I chose more pain afterward. I chose to focus on the repugnant smells around me and ignore the roses. I created it all…and can only say “how wonderful of me!”

Alright, enough of the soap box. You get the point, now do as you will with it.



Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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