There’s No Right or Wrong Choice, Even If They Cause Chaos.
“She’s worth whatever chaos she brings to the table, and you know it.” ~ Mark Anthony
One of the hardest things about making a choice is the not knowing of anything that comes with it… or without it. For some, we make a choice and soar into the unknown based on our past experiences because we aren’t that scared. For others, we close our eyes, open the handle of the door we choose, and dive under the temple we know so well and pray it all works out.
I describe it as this because I have done both. In my life, I have gone down paths with my knees knocking and the skin of my heart prickling with each beat. And there have been times I have chosen things without one apprehensive breath, without one edgy or skittish symptom.
I ask myself if there is an underlying answer to the vibrations I feel in my body when my mind doesn’t understand which direction to go. How do you see the signs when your emotions are stacking up so high and you’re screaming with a shovel in one hand trying to clear out the space for yourself to just breathe? “Which *breath* way *breath* do *breath* I go?”
I have witnessed loved ones go through the mayhem of turmoil, and riding alongside with them is the question, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” Thinking that you have to do something right away to remedy the disarray in your soul that makes you feel as if your identity has been intruded upon has always felt like one of my heaviest burdens to carry.
All those inspirational quotations, books, therapy sessions, endless talks with friends, reiki sessions, and meditative efforts do help but only slightly narrow the possibility of removing the grains of sand that have been set upon your sacred planet to the degree in which it has caused you to be uncomfortable, because no matter how much the effort, the blanket of sand you’re now covered with may roll off for a short while, but right behind it is another measure to dress you up with.
Years ago, I asked a prominent person in my life the question, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” She replied, “You don’t do anything.” I can remember as if it were not that long ago when my mind felt so twisted that even my body felt unaligned because of constant war that afflicted my mind.
I needed to know the best direction, the correct choice, the ideal way that was going to get me to where I wanted to be: at peace from the situation that had caused my heart to go to a place it never should have gone.
A place where it became subjected to pains I didn’t know existed, to where every uncontrollable thought had its chance to take a blow and shatter the parts of it I could not seem to shield on my own anymore. A place where my mind had borne the blunt of suffering so much that my own physical body had cried out for a spiritual healing.
How do you guide yourself to press Pause and allow yourself the entrance to a sanctuary whose only cost is being in the present?
Synchronous fireflies reside in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and are one of at least 20 species, and the only ones that flash in unison. There has been speculation that the reason why they flash in unison could be because of the males wanting to be the first to be noticed, thus the females responding with a parallel likeness. But they do not only flash in unison.
Their flashing also creates ripple effects across elevations of land, and they also have quite sporadic flashing at times. Their synchronicity transpires in quick surges that are followed by sudden intervals of darkness.
The time before we make a choice and the time right after we make it can be a lot like the life pulse of a firefly.
So how do you endure being still while navigating through the architecture of that choice that remains on pause? Maybe the freedom isn’t there for some, as even I have been one to feel as if my entire spirit were against the wall, paralyzed, hugging my legs to body, and my forehead kissing my knees in those abrupt intervals of darkness.
Sometimes the emotion we feel from wanting or needing to make a choice folds us in instead of unfolding us. Why do we hold the obligation to make choices in pressed timing like capturing a firefly in a jar, quickly and with what looks the best — like the male fireflies that flash out to be first? To feel better?
To rid ourselves of that icky feeling; we just want out, therefore we want those heightened feelings gone, and so we push to make a choice. In doing this, we cause unnecessary suffering during the in-betweens of it all.
I have made choices in my life — ones that I’ve had to make and ones that I desired to make. Some were ones that were made as of late. I’ve felt the enormousness of anxiety that made my body feel like it took up the entire atmosphere of the room I was standing in because of my nervous, ticking thoughts.
I have foregone the moments I allowed myself to reside in neutral, unknowingly clinging to the shirtsleeves of my past that robbed me of the chance to put my trust in myself instead. But I have also experienced the serenity of waiting — not finding the answer, and finding the calm that would soothe my soul first.
Some would say this type of journey is unattainable and couldn’t be found anywhere except in the spirit of an elderly being who has lived life for so long that life carved all the theatrical anxieties out of them, when in fact they’ve just allowed wisdom to soak in over time, bathing in it over and over again like the lighting ripple effect made by fireflies across uneven plains.
For me and the rhythm of my heart, the lands I went through may have all been different, but flashed in unison when it came down to the place I would stand. Once again I would stand in the same place, look down at my feet, and think to myself how my surroundings were so different but here I am, having to make a choice.
With thunder over my shoulder and lightning in my eyes, I was always given those short excerpts of darkness. It was as if I was given a moment to see the truth in the times of flashing and have a vision that preached a sermon designed just for me. When you’ve had your heart and the very core that was holding it ripped out, in time you begin to see things differently. Maybe that black hole was my actual awakening.
When the wings of the supernatural start gaining their momentum, it’s then that we can allow ourselves to experience it and move through the questions. The answer will come when you have let stillness wrap around you.
If you must, tie a ribbon of hope around your spiritual feet, release the thought that you must do something now, and open your ears to the silence, to the Divine, and let them speak — in words, in pictures, in your dreams, in signs. Open the eyes and ears of your soul. Have a conversation with yourself. Have it again. Then have that same conversation with yourself… again.
Walk around the building you’ve lived in for so long as if all the doors of it were open, not closed, and you weren’t just hoping that something good was about to happen as you reach for the knob with your flinching gaze and shaking hand. Reconstruct your thoughts and know that the property you once bought into was never going to bring you a profit of contentment.
Congregate around the things that could go right and have gone right in your past experiences, and remind yourself of that energy to be emerged and revealed when you realize that you don’t have to do anything… except just be.
How do you do it? Start by unlearning the way you’ve come to feel with every significant decision-making process. Don’t let the process and the worrying about the outcome interfere with your peace of mind.
Instead, allow the labyrinth you go through tell a different story of how you got to where you are, or where you will be. A story about all the good, retell it with all the precious things you left out before or just didn’t see. The bottom line is, it’s your heart. Nothing else gets to authenticate that for you… except you.
Sometimes it’s as if we are in a drought, getting through these emotions, the over-analyzing, the self-condemnation, the what-ifs, the hurts from our past — make us take deep deoxygenated breaths that aggravate the canal in which it all has to go through, and all you feel are the winds that blow the sand in your eyes once you think you’ve reached a conclusion.
There are some consistent things I have seen become united when I have nourished my faith in trusting the process. I have learned that good things happen in the quiet. There’s always a net there to catch you, even if it seems like you’ve been falling for a while.
The cool side of your pillow will never fail you on the nights that seem unbearable from the heat of the disquiet barreling in your chest, and swollen eyes from staring at your ceiling. Whether it’s a job, a career, friendship, spirituality, family, or love that has you circling around the rise of emotion, they all trap our energetic emotion, but they all can be quieted just the same.
And above all, learn to be gentle with yourself. No matter what mess or chaos you think you’ve created by what you led yourself to believe was failing, there was never a right or wrong answer. You chose. Made a choice. And you are worth all of it. So some of our choices cause chaos, internally and externally. But you are worth every cell that’s floating through your body that helped create that choice so carefully.
I have found that the word mistake is damaging to the parts of us that need to be told that life is just messy sometimes. There’s no right choice, no wrong choice. You make one. And it’s from there that you continue to move. If you take a deep enough breath and a step back, you’ll find the space where you can reside gracefully, back home, and always to the beginning, no matter how different things may be.
Michelle Sanborn is a devoted self-nurturer. After several years of doing just the opposite, she now enjoys life splendidly and unbroken. She currently lives in the moment, spends as much time as she can being barefoot, and enjoys the cooky behavior of Siamese cats. She has a love for raw honesty, has found that the places of our past are never really lost when they have full nostalgic value, and she dreams of someday having a hot air balloon ride over a very green country. Her recipe for nourishing her introverted ways consists of one-on-one stimulating conversation, a date with her kitchen baking sweet treats on a gloomy day, and with her headphones and beach chair as her only guests, she drinks up solitude at the beach from nine to five. She does not believe in luck, but instead believes in being blessed. Writing is not her occupation, nor does she string the chords of an imaginary instrument to make it be so. The true faculty of her writing would only take the form of absolute serendipity, and that is just what makes her feel alive.