The Choices Available Are Limitless

Sometimes I can't even fathom the options

I've been thinking about choice.

When I was first introduced to the idea that everything is a choice, I couldn't comprehend the fullness of what that meant. I remember feeling frustrated because I believed there are some things we just have no control over and that felt in conflict with the idea that with:

  • every action taken or not taken,

  • every thought encouraged or squashed down,

  • every moment spent existing,

...we are making choices. Endless choices.

I still very much believe that there are things outside our control. There are events that happen that aren't the sole responsibility of an individual alone, but rather collective humanity. So, even if we were making choices with integrity, they could be outweighed by the actions of a larger group. (for example, voting.)

Or, there are times in our lives when shitty things will happen to us. So often we end up ruminating, trying to find blame for the event that befell us. Maybe some of our actions and choices did lead to that event, but what's done is done.

But in both situations (and countless others) we have a choice of what to do. A choice that isn't binary, or split between "Do I do X or Y?"

Instead, the choice is limitless and multi-faceted. Deep and mysterious.

Endless questions spill through our brains when faced with a situation. Depending on the nature of the situation and our history with events that have a similar flavour, we might have a myriad of initial responses. Questions flood our brains to try and help us figure out what to do next.

But really, the only question that matters is:

"How do I want to respond?"

In every moment, in every second of life, what would it be like if you asked yourself this question? What would it be like to bring this simple intention into your waking hours?

a frog in suspenders holds a gun out while side-eyeing their target. above them are the words "don't ever put me in a situation."

Some of our parts are like this frog.

"I don't want to be placed in a situation where I have to think about what I truly want!"

"I don't want to acknowledge that I have control over the flow of my life!"

"I don't want to realize that what I am doing isn't what I want anymore because I've wanted this for so long and it sucks to realize I'm changing!"

"I don't want to prioritize myself right now because I need to take care of XYZ thing first!"

Sound familiar? Perhaps your own "I don't want this" kind of thoughts got activated in reading this, reminding you of what you don't want to acknowledge or think about. Perhaps your "I don't want this" thoughts are even phrased as "I can't do this".

And that's okay. Notice that you are still alive and breathing even though you are looking at this thing you don't want to think about. Fear or worry might still be present, gripping the edge of your shirt saying, "Don't look at that thing!! It could kill us!!"

And in a way, maybe it can.

When I finally started to embody the realization that I had endless, limitless choices available to me; I felt like my world was dying around me. Everything I had come to believe was crumbling around me.

Every "I can't" or "I don't want" was just shielding fear. Fear that if I tried to oppose those thoughts, I would fail in some way. That it was better to not take any action than to experience failure.

"I can't be healed. I'll always be a victim."

"I don't want to forgive. I want them to suffer."

Or even more benign thoughts like, "I can't create something right now, I don't have the inspiration."

Realizing that these were thoughts I was having, were beliefs I was holding, and thus were choices I was making, was deeply uncomfortable. Finally deciding to let those thoughts rest, to stop allowing my trauma and those I deemed responsible to no longer occupy my mind, was a form of death.

I let this old version of my Self die. I euthanized them. I held them tenderly in my arms and let them know they could rest now. That I didn't need that kind of protection anymore. I was ready to open my Self up to something else. Something expansive. Something new.

And I stepped into acknowledging my choices.