Posts tagged ‘choice’

April 26, 2015

Make your actions matter to the people in your world

Thought for the day, courtesy of Jane Goodall:

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

It could be something as simple as smiling at a stranger or calling a friend just to say “hi,” or something as involved as volunteering time or donating resources to a cause you care about. The things you do and don’t do — every day — have an impact on this world and the people around you.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting an old high school math teacher at a garage sale he was co-ordinating on behalf of a friend. This gentleman had always struck me as a rather serious individual, quite absorbed in the world of mathematics, but on this day, years out of his classroom, I saw another, gentler and more real side of him.

Over the course of our conversation, he told me how much the field of mathematics continues to thrill him, and how, now that he is retired, he might easily hole himself up in his home office for days on end, hard at work on a difficult proof passed along by his own graduate studies professor years ago. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in that,” he said, “and to say to my wife, ‘No, don’t bother me, don’t invite people over, leave me alone, I just want to work on this.’ ”

“But,” he said with warmth in his eyes, “I make sure I don’t do that! I limit my time in the office working on math because it can be isolating, and it’s the people in my life that really matter — being able to take care of my grandchildren, go walking with my wife, take time to help a friend like I’m doing now. In the end, people and relationships are so much more important than a mathematical proof. I know that, and I make sure I live my life according to that order of priority.”

This is a man who has made a good decision about the direction and focus of his life, and because of that decision, he makes a positive difference in the lives of the people around him. Yesterday, he made a positive difference in mine.

March 15, 2015

You aren’t perfect, but you can live fully anyway

Thoughts of the moment:

…courtesy of Donna Smallin in her book Unclutter Your Mind:

Accept that you aren’t perfect.
People will still love you even when you make mistakes.
They may even love you more for it.

Accept that others have shortcomings, too.
Forgiving others’ mistakes heals both parties and frees us to learn from the past and move forward.

…and courtesy of Oprah Winfrey:

I know for sure: Your journey begins with a choice to get up, step out, and live fully.

Go. Do. Be. Live. ❤

February 27, 2015

Turn “if only” into “thank you”

A great quote from Doris Gregory, a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during World War II, as she looks back over her life in her memoir How I Won the War for the Allies: One Sassy Canadian Solider’s Story:

Each time you come to a crossroad in life, you decide which way to turn. At the time, it seems like a free choice, but when you look back, you realize that, given the kind of person you were at that time, with the information then at your disposal, and all the factors acting upon you, you couldn’t have done anything else. Despite the wisdom of this, you can easily fall into the “if only” trap. If only you had taken the other road. But then you wouldn’t have had all these great experiences. As the journey continues, you become more and more adept at avoiding the “if only” trap. And so I look back upon the past without regret. What happened, happened. That’s life!

November 13, 2014

Let the wrong/right path be yours alone

Thought of the day:

To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Amen to that. Above all else, be yourself.

September 27, 2014

Here you are again, she said

In her memoir Unsinkable, former Olympic rower Silken Laumann writes this passage about the interconnection between destiny and choice in each person’s life:

I have a belief . . . that goes something like this: Each of our lives is a book already written whose chapters have multiple endings. Depending on the choices we make, a chapter goes in one direction or another, but the book’s narrative moves forward with a relentless rhythm and aspects of inevitability. The things we are meant to do appear again and again in our story, until we recognize our responsibility and accept the challenge. No matter how hard we try to avoid them, or back away because we are scared or unwilling, they keep showing up in various incarnations.

What strikes me most about this passage is the latter part about how “the things we are meant to do” appear again and again in our personal story, in our thoughts, in our dreams and visions. I am experiencing this phenomenon right now: a certain person keeps popping up in my life story. I like to think that this person’s recurring presence is happening for a reason, because there is some inevitable yet unknown place that we are supposed to go together. Only time — and perhaps our own individual choices — will tell.

 

August 5, 2014

Live the whole glorious hazard

I like this passage from the memoir Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor:

There is no immunity from life — that’s what I’ve learned. I will never be the kind of person to volunteer from the audience at Cirque du Soleil, but I won’t be satisfied with being draperies either. I don’t want to miss out on what the Greeks call zoe. Life. I want to live all of it, the whole glorious hazard.

What a great way to describe life: “the whole glorious hazard.”

I want to live the whole glorious hazard, too. I want to greet each day excited about what it might bring, not worried about what may come to pass. I want to focus on what I have in life, rather than what I don’t have. I want to reach old age and still have a sparkle in my eye and a desire to try new things. I want to always have a true understanding of what zoe is because of all the zoe flowing through my body and my mind and my heart every single day.

Let’s get out there and live the hazard.

May 17, 2014

Unshackle the chains that bind you

Something to consider:

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.
(Lyrics from the song “Already Gone” by the Eagles) 

We do tend to create constraints, barriers, walls and cages for ourselves in life. Most of these fortifications are unnecessary; they serve no purpose except to prevent us from venturing in directions where we might get hurt.

Perhaps we create these chains because we are afraid of the unknown places — of open territory where we are completely uncovered and vulnerable — so we close the door and lock it tight before we even take a glimpse over the threshold. Maybe we reel ourselves in because we doubt our ability to succeed or thrive — or we erroneously believe that we don’t have the right to succeed or thrive. Or maybe we simply refuse to see the world beyond the narrow borders of our own experience, to recognize that we always have choices, that we are never “stuck” anywhere, that we always have the ability to change our situations, to break free, to grow.

All we have to do to escape our chains is pick up the key that lies inside each one of us — a beautiful, shining key forged from our own courage, strength, confidence and self-worth — and unbolt the door.

This week, why not try unshackling a chain or two in your own life. The tools you need are already there inside you. Set yourself free.

October 25, 2013

Into the great wide open (of your future!)

Have you ever made a decision about what to do or how to act based on what happened during a similar instance in your past? If you got hurt years ago, do you now avoid similar situations for fear of getting hurt again? If you failed (or succeeded) once, do you expect the same results the next time you try? Or do you simply stop trying, because doing so seems easier (and safer) than taking a risk and putting yourself out there?

We’ve all entertained these kinds of thoughts. But guess what? They’re not helping us.

The past is the past, and history rarely repeats itself. If you got hurt once, that’s fine. But you are a strong, capable person, and you don’t follow any patterns. With new acquaintances, the passing of time and your own personal growth factored in, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience the same result twice.

As for fear of failure, hardly anyone succeeds at anything the first time they try. The successful person is the one who tries anyway, again and again — and willingly makes mistakes — because what they’re doing is something they love, and they want to learn, or grow, or laugh, or challenge themselves in some way.

It’s time to rid yourself of the belief that your past defines your future. Your old experiences may have shaped the person you are today, but they have absolutely no bearing on where you go from here — unless you like the idea of moving through life wearing blinders that rob you of all the wonderful experiences and opportunities waiting for you in your peripheral vision.

In the end, nothing defines your future better than you do. Toss aside those old limiting perspectives — those blinders — and watch your path open up before you.

In the words of late author and motivational speaker Keith D. Harrell:

What has happened is not nearly as important as what can happen. Look to the possibilities of your future for direction, forsaking the burdensome limitations of your past.

Your future really is wide open. All that remains is for you to see that.  ♥

October 3, 2013

I choose . . .

I can either spend my time worrying about what might happen in the future, or I can choose to enjoy the gifts that are in my life right now, in this very moment.

The choice is mine — and yours.  Every day.

July 24, 2013

Choose wisely, and choose with all your heart

I have always liked this lyric from the song “Free” by First Time Fallen:

Guaranteed to live and die,
Our choice is what we do in between.

So many of us fritter away that time in between, afraid to do or try the things that really speak to us, really matter to us.

Don’t be one of those people. What speaks to you? What matters to you? Do it. Do it now. There is absolutely no better time than right now. Trust me. Waiting until you have more money or a better job or a (different) partner or a house or more free time won’t make things any easier for you, and it won’t improve your chances of success one bit. It really won’t. Now is the time. Start. Just take one step. You can do it. You absolutely can. I believe in you.