On Choice


I read last week that a prominent leader had bemoaned to her audience: “I have no choice.”


How untrue! I thought. It made me strangely angry.

We always have a choice. 

J was often paralysed by his choices. He couldn’t decide because none of the options would be perfect. Yes, there’s no such thing as even impulse shopping with J! He was afraid of the imperfect choice, of getting the shorter end of the stick, of having to live the consequence of a poor choice. And sometimes, when you are being paralyzed by choices and the pressures of possible regrets and an imperfect reality, it will appear as if you have no choice at all.

But no, we can always choose. And choosing allows us to take responsibility. Our choices reveal us, even make us. By choosing we become vulnerable but we also gain the momentum to move forward. And hopefully, in choosing we confront our fears and learn that we are made of sterner stuff - or that in our weakness we are surrounded by friends and family who are our firm foundation.

There are many mornings I don’t feel like getting out of bed (oh did I already say my spirit animal is a sloth?). As we all do sometimes. In a way, I have the privilege of a job that “doesn’t give me a choice” but to get up and just do it! But I know, that slight motion to lift the body up and sit facing that window, that movement is a choice. Volition. 

So friends, even if you are in a place that feels devoid of light, you still have choice. You can choose to stay in the darkness - for a while - or choose, even if you stay still, to listen to your breathing or feel the texture of the sheets or couch you are on. You can choose to remember a moment of light or lightness. You can choose to call a friend. 

Whatever it is, if you are reading this and your mind is actually still able to process words, then please choose to hang on, because you can. If you are conscious and you have your sense of self with you - however distraught and dim that sense of self is - you definitely can still choose to hang on, feed, rest, build, move, live and be loved.

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