Today I had one of those mornings where my head was pounding and a nagging cough was threatening to get worse.
I wasn’t quite sick enough to stay in bed all day but was definitely not well enough to, say, train for a marathon. But I did I have a decision to make—to decide if I should I go to my yoga class or stay home and rest.
The claustrophobic pressure of this small but somehow significant decision weighed heavily on my shoulders—a vote to go to the yoga class perhaps? I’m sure many know this feeling: whether the choice is big or small, you just don’t know how to choose.
It could be a choice as simple as mine, whether to go to yoga when we’re feeling sick, or it could be one of those major life decisions—like should we change jobs, stay in our relationship or move homes.
And making these decisions can be so paralyzing because we don’t know which choice is the “right” one. I couldn’t decide if staying in bed and resting was best for me or if going to yoga was the better choice for my health.
Really, this idea that there is a right choice in every situation is crazy-making. We’re left feeling like we can’t make choices at all, which causes us doubt—and if you have ever had this experience of being in doubt, you know it can be a painful way to live, and even debilitating.
And that is why it is so important to recognize that it is not the choice that matters, but the intent behind the choice.
The intention behind the choice is where all the power lies.
I realized, as I thought about my decision to go to yoga, my intent was health—for myself. And with that intention front and center in my consciousness, I knew that it didn’t matter if I went to yoga or stayed home. As long as my intention was health, either choice would help me get there.
This concept of working with intent can be extremely liberating when applied correctly.
Sounds easy? It can be, but it takes practice.
Want to practice setting clear and positive intentions instead of getting stressed out about making the right choices? Here a three steps. Start with something simple like deciding if you should go to a yoga class before moving on to harder life decisions.
1. Take some quiet time just to sit with yourself.
2. Ask yourself internally—what do I want, and then listen for that small voice inside you to answer. (I know this sounds weird but just try it. There may be a small voice with answers, if we just take the time to listen.)
3. The answer will probably simple, and positive instead of negative. (What you want, instead of what you don’t want.) If these words feel right, keep the answer in mind when making a decision and know you are moving in the direction of your intention—regardless of which specific action you have chosen.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Anne-Lise Heinrichs/Flickr