Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Make Up Your Mind!

The issue of choice has followed me around my whole life. In terms of astrological signs, I’m a Libra. That means that I like balance and harmony. But that also means that I’m notoriously bad at making decisions, endlessly weighing up pros and cons and generally over-thinking things before coming to a considered conclusion. In addition, I’m what Barbara Sher calls a scanner and Margaret Lobenstine terms a renaissance soul. That means that I like variety. But that also means that I struggle to commit to any one thing, flitting between projects according to some schedule known only to my own whimsy.

So, as you can tell, for me, burdened as I am with the vagaries of planet alignment at the time of my birth and the genetic/environment mix that makes up my personality, the ability to make choices doesn’t really come naturally ;).

In one of my posts last week on quantum leaps and the importance of choices, I wrote:

“Triggering a change in our vibrational frequency from one level to another is achieved by means of making a firm decision regarding our intentions and desires. Until we commit to what we want, it remains only a possibility. It is our decision, focus and attention that ensure that it manifests into the physical.”

Similarly, in what must be one of the most quoted quotes in the personal/spiritual development field (and often wrongly attributed to Goethe!), William Hutchinson Murray stated:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

Clearly, to live a life we love, the ability to make choices is important. Clearly, judging from what I wrote last week, I know this. But do I put this knowledge into practice? Not always (see above!).

What I do often do, is express preferences. Not the same thing as making a choice at all. Preferences are about potentiality and hope, specifically hope that the universe will oblige by somehow bringing us the things and experiences that we want. Choice is about clarity and certainty, specifically certainty that the universe will work with us to help us create the things and experiences that we want. The concept of choice is empowering. Hoping that the universe will bring us what we want is an expression of powerlessness.

I spent some time over the last few days reflecting on my intentions to see if I had really made a choice about them or whether I was still just expressing a preference. For example, is Love a preference or a choice? Is the energy of Divine Love something that I’m really committed to inviting into my life and expressing with every fibre of my being? Similarly, with other energetic qualities: peace, joy, abundance… these are energetic qualities everyone wants in their lives, right? But is it just a preference, something we daydream about inbetween bouts of fear, anxiety, sadness and scarcity thinking? Or have we really made a choice to align with these energy streams?

Why would we not make a choice regarding what we want? Well, I for one can blame the factors in my opening paragraph :). In addition, for me, I know that I sometimes feel tentative, scared to make the “wrong” decision. However, what I’m learning is that the act of choosing is far more important than what we choose. It is the ultimate act of creativity. If we don’t like what we create, we can choose again and we can choose differently. In Conversations With God, God tells Neale Donald Walsch:

“If there is some aspect of creation you find you do not enjoy, bless it and simply change it. Choose again. Call forth a new reality. Think a new thought. Say a new word. Do a new thing. Do this magnificently and the rest of the world will follow you.”

Just because we make up our minds doesn’t mean that we’re not allowed to ever change them!

Over to you… are you making choices in your life, or expressing preferences? What other reasons can you add to why we may struggle to make choices?

16 comments:

Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul said...

Great stuff as always, Mags. I don't think I've ever considered the difference between stating a preference and actually making a choice. Maybe that's because I'm pretty decisive. I like to make a choice, live with it for a while, and know I can always choose something else. The one thing that will drive me bonkers is feeling like I don't have a choice ... that absolutely sends me around the bend!

Blessings,
Andrea

Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Map said...

You've brought up some important points for me to ponder over. I realise that I have been making preferences but the intents need to be stronger for my desires to manifest or happen. Still, in the current position of having made a preference, it is a great improvement already for I used to be unwilling even to make a preference. My unwillingess stems from fear and clinging on to false security.

Evelyn

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Andrea - I can tell from reading your blog posts that you're good at making decisions, setting intentions and creating results with the universe's support. You're a great example to follow in this regard, and I've learned a lot from you to help with my own indecisiveness!

I also love having a choice... I just battle to choose sometimes :). It's probably because I often see the options as equally attractive and what to do them all, and do them all right now to boot!

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Evelyn - Thank you for your input. I hadn't really considered this in my post, but you are absolutely right - even stating a preference can be a big step sometimes, and it is a step in the right direction. Well done, you!

As I think about this more, it strikes me that sometimes people's preferences are defined by default, i.e. by sticking to what they know. It is only by trying and being exposed to new things that we can start to formulate our preferences and from there to make definite choices about which of these we'd like to manifest.

Lucy Lopez said...

I have come to realize that the 'difficulty' that we experience with making choice is at least partly rooted in the underlying (and often unconscious) belief that there are 'wrong' choices, which of course we fear making.

We tend to consider 'wrong' or 'right', 'good' and 'bad' etc in absolute terms i.e. they are always so. They are not. Rather, they are always relative to each unique situation.

When we can truly understand this, the fear of 'wrong' decisions goes and we are likely to recognize that every decision/choice we make is perfect. We can then make our choices freely and enthusiastically.

Here is an extract from a post I'd written. While it looks at the particular issue of guilt, the underlying causes share common ground:

"...our culture of consensus sets us up to be inflexible and absolute in the way we perceive and judge, making little, if any, allowance for the complexities, the ambiguities, the lack of information (for we never have all the information to any given situation), the pluralities and multiple perspectives that our life experiences are so richly textured with. By and large, we are intolerant of these, often dismissing, resisting or condemning them as ‘aberrant’.

It is in this very ground of intolerance and inflexibility that guilt gets its best opportunity to take root and flourish. We, or someone we know, has not lived up to the ‘ideal’, that ideal itself a construction of an ego bound to an unquestioned and closed framework. Have we really searched within? Have we allowed ourselves the direct, personal experience of the ultimate? Have we been bold enough to go within and sit in that field of infinite possibilities where we come to realize that something is only ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on where we have established our vantage point? And, while there, have we noticed that others may take up vantage points different to ours while still sitting in that same field of infinite possibilities, the ground of love?

“Beyond the concepts of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there”

Jalal Ad-Din Rumi..."

In case you are interested in the whole post, you can find it here:

http://www.lucylopez.net/planethappiness/?p=172

Warm wishes! Lucy

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work said...

Hey Mags, I had a hunch to visit you today and I'm very glad I did. I found out that we are kindred scanning spirits. In fact I'm still flitting between both of those books and haven't completed either. I love the way you so masterfully used quotes to firm up your points here. This is a very good read.

Check out Steve Chandler's blog he says some very wise things about boldness and commitment. In the meantime I'll run my decisions by your post and make sure that they have the mettle to move mountains.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Lucy - Thank you so much for your input, and the extract from your (excellent) post. I love your imagery of all of us sitting in the same field, just with different vantage points - so true!

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Tom - Hehe, how scanner-like is that... switching between the two scanner books and finishing neither of them! ;) How cool that you're a kindred scanner spirit!

I'm glad that your intuition led you here today and that you found value in the post. And thank you for your suggestion to check out Steve Chandler's blog - will do!

Deborah Weber said...

Your post had me thinking a lot about my behavior.

I think one of the things that has become clear for me just in this past year, is how important it is taking action. A step in the right direction. Movement of some kind. Because that’s how we get into the flow. Otherwise we’re just standing on the shore tossing out wishes.

I struggled for many years with not wanting to disclose my dreams and choices to others (even close others), while they were newly emerging. I wanted them to be somehow etched in stone – I didn’t want to have committed with witness to something I might fail at. Such a limiting view and such a needlessly heavy burden to place on myself! Now the thing I most love about each choice is truly knowing nothing IS etched in stone – there is always room for refinement. Once I stopped needing to see my decisions as static, I became able to see how obviously more in alignment that was with knowing myself as a shifting growing being.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Mags, I just found your blog through Akemi's and subscribed. You have such a wonderful writing style and I've just been going through your posts and enjoying them thoroughly. I'll be back -- thank you for your important and excellent work!

I loved this post -- I was one who often "stated preferences" and have been working on setting my intentions and choices clearly and am having much better results by doing so. Gratefully, Jenny

Irene | Light Beckons said...

Hi Mags, great post! I think preferences is a good thing when we're unsure ... it's a process that helps us narrow down our selections and hopefully see with more clarity what we ultimately want. Once we have zoomed in and made the final selection, we can then move on to setting that intention. I really like your reminder that CHANGE is still possible even after we've made our decisions. I feel a lot of people don't make choices partly because they're afraid that their choices may be wrong - or they think there is only ONE choice, make-it-or-break-it. Knowing that we can still tweak our choices or make a series of progressive intentions along the way can be empowering to some. Thanks! :)

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Deborah - Absolutely... action is so important. I like to distinguish between inspired action, which as you put it so well, gets us in the flow, versus busywork, which has us frantically building sandcastles on the shore (to continue with your wonderful imagery!) while our back is turned to the flow.

I understand wanting to keep quiet about projects while they're still new and vulnerable to our own doubts and those of others (which of course, are usually our own uncertainties mirrored back to us!). It can take courage to open up, not only to others, but also to ourselves so that we can claim our power to grow.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Jenny - Welcome, and thank you! I look forward to having you here and getting to know you more.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Irene - I love your idea of "a series of progressive intentions"! You're so right - we do continuously refine our intentions throughout life as we learn and grow and experience different things. It's all great raw material with which we can continuously create our lives!

TMinut said...

"Indy Is My Name, Indecision Is My Game" That's what I just told my friend a few days ago, I told her I was going to start a blog with that as the title!
Just yesterday morning I was thinking of how I don't make decisions. I tried to figure out just what exactly I want. All I see is blankness. Whatever happens is what happens.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

tminut - That sounds like it could be an interesting blog... if you follow through on your decision to start it ;). I wish you all the best whatever happens!