Choosing Choice, Creating Options

There are times when you want things to be automatic. When you know a habit or routine supports you, makes things easier. When you don’t want to think, you just want to do the thing.

And then, there’s the other 23 hours of your day.

Especially all the time spent responding automatically, when in fact you really want to be in a place of choice. When you want to feel resourceful. These are the times that feel hard, when you’re stuck in avoidance or one of those other patterns that’s so often labeled self-sabotage.

When you’re in that place, it’s useful to notice how much space you’ve allowed yourself.

Are your options:

  • Do it or don’t do it
  • Disappoint someone else or disappoint yourself
  • Do it the right way or do it the wrong way
  • Do it now or never

Do you have a dilemma* (in the truest sense of the word)?

When the options seem so clear and yet you still find yourself struggling, it’s time to take a step back and give yourself some space. Make it easier to notice all the other possibilities that exist.

Sometimes, when you step back from what you thought was an impenetrable wall, it is really something else altogether. Just like the Indian fable of the blind men and the elephant.

How to create space for yourself

Give yourself physical space. Stand up. Take a deep breath. Look out the window. Go for a walk. Stretch tall and wide.

Give yourself mental space. Ask yourself how else could this happen. Stop thinking about it for a certain period of time. Take a shower. Do something mentally engaging, but not taxing, like take a turn on Words with Friends.

Activate your imagination. Picture the dilemma, imagine you could hold it in your hand. What do you notice when you imagine it’s that small. What happens when you infuse it with different qualities, like curiosity or confidence or spaciousness.

And sometimes, you realize that it’s not so much about what you decide, but giving yourself the space to have choices.

* claims the antonym of dilemma is miracle. You don’t need a miracle, just a little more spaciousness. Although the difference when you experience that spaciousness may feel miraculous indeed.


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