The Gift of Choice
Take a moment, clear your mind, and look around you. Ask yourself the question: How did I get to where I am today, or better yet, to who I am today? The answer to that question is in the infinite number of choices that you’ve made up to this moment. Best selling author, Debbie Ford, in her book, “The Right Questions,” helps us to evaluate our choices to determine whether or not we are indeed on the path to true self-discovery. “Our ability to make choices implies certain rights and freedoms. If we can choose, then we can determine which decisions we will make about our bodies, our health, our relationships, our finances, our careers, our social lives and our spiritual beliefs. Choice allows us to pick, to select, to decide between paths.”
This brings us to the realization that choice might be the most precious gift we’re given. Ford says, “Our todays are based on the choices we made yesterday, and the ones we made three days ago, three months ago, and three years ago. We don’t wind up fifty thousand dollars in debt because of one choice. We don’t put on thirty unwanted pounds as a result of a couple of poor choices. And our relationships usually don’t fall apart overnight because of one bad decision. We are where we are because of repeated unconscious or unhealthy choices that we’ve made day after day after day that add up to the reality we find ourselves in.” Ouch!
Learning to become our extraordinary selves requires we begin making conscious choices from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment our heads hit the pillow at night. The simple daily choice of brushing your teeth can save you an enormous amount of money in preventive dental care. Eating that cinnamon bun for breakfast every morning will determine whether or not you will fit into your tux or cocktail dress for your son or daughter’s wedding. Simple unconscious choices have huge ramifications when looking at the big picture. We tend to forget those choices add up and that over time they play a role in where we find ourselves in the present moment.
Many of us look at our current political situation and wonder how in the world we got to this point politically? Before you start pointing the blame at any political party or political office, ask yourself, how many unconscious choices have each of us made that collectively added up to who was standing at the podiums during Monday night’s debate. Thinking back to when we were young, we couldn’t wait until the day we were out from under our parents’ rule and could choose whatever self-gratification our hearts desired. Ford reminds us, “Most of us have lost sight of the relationship between our choices, our actions, and their outcomes. Instead of taking responsibility for our current state of affairs, we become masters of assigning blame, pretending that everything is someone else’s fault when our lives turn out not to be the wonderlands we want them to be. Without bringing conscious awareness to our choices, we can’t help but repeat the patterns of our past.”
In our Pledge of Allegiance we acknowledge we are “… one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Our choices not only affect us, but also affect the collective world around us. Thanks to our military and veterans, we have the gift of choice. Starting today, let’s make conscious choices that benefit our individual wellbeing and the wellbeing of our nation and the world.
Originally published in the Bay City Tribune on October 2, 2016.