You Always Have A Choice

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The choices begin the minute you open your eyes in the morning. When to throw back the covers? What to wear? What’s breakfast? What will you choose to do with this day?

There are phases of our lives when it seems that we do not have a choice but indeed we always have a choice.

Stuck in a job with a nasty boss? in a job that no longer challenges and feels or is rewarding? a job that doesn’t pay enough?

Stuck in a relationship with someone who does not show respect for your time or your feelings? in a relationship you no longer trust is healthy for you?

Stuck in a rut of “overwhelm?” Your mind telling you, irregardless of reality, it is impossible to meet the deadline, impossible to break an addiction to the Internet, to alcohol, to your excuse of CHOICE.

Stuck in a situation that appears “beyond your control?” Even a literal prisoner has a choice.  Even a person born to a beginning of poverty has a choice.

In fact in many situations we may have as many as

FIVE CHOICES

for your consideration:  Choose!

  1. Remain a victim to the situation.  That is your choice.  You choose to stay in the job, stay in the relationship, stay in the mindset that you can do nothing.  You choose to be a victim.  Feel it.  What emotions come up?  Know many happy, carefree “victims?”  I know this sounds harsh, but even victims of mental and physical torture have a choice. They choose to not seek help. They choose to “give up,” or to “never give up.”
  2. Change your perspective.  Consciously view the situation differently.  What – is – the reality here? You have too much work to do in the time you now have left, okay,  you can choose,  keep plugging away, deliver the assignment late, live with the consequences and the lesson that you will feel much less stressed next time around, if you take the lesson from the situation and get some advice on time management.
  3. Change the situation.  Set a boundary with the person who is showing disrespect. Show up differently. From a place of balance and emotional control break the ineffective pattern and see what happens.
  4. Accept the situation.  That is a choice.  It is your choice to accept that you are stuck, stuck, stuck and that you are choosing to accept the toxic boss exactly as she or he is, accept that you are not going to succeed in completing work you said you wanted to do, accept that you are living in the paralysis of an addict. Tough choice.  Own that you are choosing it!
  5. Leave it.  Yes, escape.  Brainstorm, wrestle with every angle of the situation and make a choice to consciously take even the smallest action to leave the negative mindset, to find a more uplifting job, to distance yourself from the person who thinks you exist to bully or demean or blame.

History has taught us that even prisoners of war have, as they were able – made choices: to distract their minds from the brutality of their existence, to not give up on the possibility of a change, of freedom, of a better life.

What is the reality of your situation?  At some point in our lives all of us have been “victims” of something or someone we could not control.

And then we had a choice.

 

 

 

 

Today! The Past – is – Past

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My son works at a chic coffee bar where all employees must wear a head-covering of some sort.  Since this is a hip coffee bar, his choice of head gear is of interest.  Of interest for how he will be perceived by fellow hip employees. Of interest for how he will be perceived by the hip patrons…..  Of interest for the message he bears.  He frequently sports a baseball cap brim backwards. It is a red cap with a rainbow,  the logo from the TODAY show.

It simply says: TODAY.

What an appropriate reminder for morning java patrons!  TODAY.

Not yesterday.

Not last academic year.

Not that season when you were down with mono.

Not that phase of life when you were anxious and knew not what you wanted or who you were.

Not those years when you were in a relationship that depleted you and just felt wrong.

Not any day from the past when you felt sad, or lonely, angry or resentful, apathetic or unsure.

TODAY.

What a distracting trap to daydream or obsess on what went before:

what she did!    what he said!    how unfair was that!   wow! that did not go – as planned!

What of it?

TODAY is here – now.  Focus on the rainbow of possibility of this very 24 hours.

The past – is – the past.

TODAY is here but once. Wrestle with it.  Own it.  Be hip to even its tiniest of messages.

And move on to a fresh TODAY.

Yes, and…..

Yes,and.8.16Improvisation groups use those two words as a segway, a verbal cue to move the story forward. Yes, and…. the action pauses for a second until a clear and fresh direction is established.

Where in your life is your yes, and…..?

Yes, you’ll finish the assignment…. when?

Yes, you’ll clean the cupboard……when?

Yes, you’ll make the challenging phone call……when?

Yes, you’ll begin saving money for the downpayment – or retirement….when?

So often during the yes, and phase of life we build a mental barrier that leaves us lingering in the positivity of the Yes! yet mired in a weighted unease that makes the pause before taking action longer and more torturous than it need be.

Simply stating the when and then taking even the smallest action in the fresh direction is what empowering ourselves is all about.  Small actions lead to accomplishments and pushing past the “and” to completed tasks and realized dreams.

It is easy to make the excuse, to distract ourselves and procrastinate, but lingering in that pause is dispiriting, debilitating, depressing.  

In the pause – breathe.  (You were neglecting to take that breath, you too, eh?) and

I will finish and post this blog.  

I will open a savings account and create even the most minimal of automatic transfers into that savings account.

I will take the contents of the cupboard, place it all on the floor, curate and edit and organize until an agreeable order reveals itself. 

I will outline the whats of the assignment, make a calendar for completion and prioritize completion of the assignment so that I can confidently report to my inner boss: 

Yes, and…. Mission accomplished!