Do you want the tall dark and handsome fellow or the tall dark and handsome guy with a 401K?
Wouldn’t it be nice if all decisions were that easy?
One of these guys is smarter, does a lot of yoga but eats raw meat. The other is a pilot and is out of town a lot, but can fly you free anywhere jets land.
How in the world are you to choose?
Sometimes determining which partner you deserve, or if you want one at all, has you cuddling up Saturday night with Ben, Jerry and a tablespoon. Going out or staying in, Sunday morning you are left stressed, with a little regret for whatever option you didn’t take, and with further hopes for next Saturday night.
This may sound dire, but it’s not—it’s just what happens when choices harass and paralyze you.
Lets explore how choices can be much easier to make. There are three elements in every choice.
Your mind creates illusions. It imagines what it would be like to connect with that person you saw at the coffee shop today or to be married to a movie star.
It imagines having kids when you aren’t even having sex and what it would be like to weigh less, have a billion dollars or be able to run like the wind.
Your mind tries on possibilities so that you know how things will turn out without having to do anything. From bed it can imagine being an Olympic athlete, and while being single or married it can imagine how much better/worse it would be if you were the other.
Mind’s ability to create is legendary, it results in grand fiction, poetry, amazing/awful movies and the life you have.
As incredible as your thinking is, it distracts you from doing. And that is where the heart and body come in.
Your heart is a lion; it is brave, courageous and king or queen of the jungle.
It only knows one word: “yes.”
If you are considering a new career it says, “Go for it!”
It says “yes” to making love and “yes” to celibacy. It says “yes” to eating a whole box of chocolates and “yes” to a strict chocolate free diet.
The heart (and body) acts. It gets you to where you are going, even when you don’t know where you are going. It falls in love, ensnares you in sensations that lead the way through the physical world in magical, unifying ways. Heart moves you and motivates you, it beats, inspiring passion in the process.
As brave as your heart is, it is just that innocent. It knows that love can work, that life is grand and that you should always stand tall, speak out and claim each precious moment as your own.
Do you want a partner?
When it comes to having a partner, your mind says a deeply qualified, highly embellished “maybe.”
Your heart says “yes.”
When presented with Ben, a successful CPA or Ruth, the CEO of a small company, your mind attempts to figure out which, if either, would be best for you. This is all posturing, because no matter what conclusion your mind reaches it can be changed in the next moment. And in relationship, you have particular dance steps which are likely to lead you to the same place other relationships have.
Your heart, of course, says “yes” to Ben and “yes” to Ruth.
But what are you to do?
Enter attention, the third element of choices
As you drive, your attention scans the road, cross streets, and gauges on the dashboard. Texting while driving is dangerous because your attention is focused on your phone instead of the road.
Where is your attention when making choices?
Focusing attention on both mind and heart leads to the best choices. That way, you include both what you think and what you feel in choices. You can do this simply by asking yourself alternately “What do I think?” and “How do I feel?”
A decision based on just mind lacks grounding, a choice based on just heart doesn’t consider repercussions or distinctions. You need mind, heart and attention on both to make great choices and thus have an incredible life.
Will it be Ben or Ruth?
Of course it matters whether you pick Ben or Ruth. But having it matter too much leads to poor decisions. Taking time for your heart, mind and attention to weigh in relaxes you. If a choice or decision seems really important, relax, scan your heart, listen to your mind and follow your attention.
Get curious what you might be missing and take a deep breath.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Hieu Le/Unsplash