One of the biggest questions I’ve been asked by students and friends, and one that I've struggled with a lot, is how to distinguish the voice of our intuition and inner wisdom, from the chattering voice of fear and self protection which often runs our lives.
We’ve all been there, teetering on the edge of some large or small life decision which feels impactful to us, and yet we just can’t seem to make up our mind.
“Is this the right choice?” We ask ourselves, (and everyone around us.) We spin around and around, knowing that we should have access to some deep inner guidance but feeling like we are not tuned in to our own psychic hotline.
Over the past several years I've learned some really effective, mindful and sane tactics to making those huge and not so huge life choices. I've learned them through searching for the "right" treatment plan for chronic illness and through finding the right wellness plan for my body. I've learned them through choosing to get married, stay married, and then get divorced. I've learned them through choosing to follow, step away from, and then follow my creative dreams.
Five ways to make help you make the "right" choice.
1. Ask your body.
Visualize and think about the choice you have to make. Put aside your mental thoughts, worries and fears and notice how your body feels: Listen to and accept all your sensations that arise. Listen beyond any initial anxiousness or nervousness that shows up on your body; how does you heart feel? Your breath? Do you feel a lightness or a heaviness in your limbs? These body sensations are extensions of our autonomic nervous system and link to our higher knowing and inner guidance. Trust them.
2. Stick to your values.
Ask yourself which decision is supported by your values which are founded on joy, love, and personal growth. If the choice is in alignment with them, great, if not, let that option go, it will only cause you more psychological stress in the long run if you feel that you are acting out of integrity with your beliefs. Remember, it is the daily act of living in integrity with yourself which adds up to the life you are proud of living
3. Don’t allow fear of the unknown to influence your decision.
It is normal to fear change. If your decision is in alignment with your values, and you feel centered in your body when you think of that outcome, don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Think back to the times in your life when you decided to commit to an unknown future and reflect on what happened. Did you regret taking that leap? What unexpected benefits came from the unknown? Nine times out of ten you won’t regret stepping out of your comfort zone.
4. Take space.
When you really can’t decide, when you feel scattered, tired, confused and thrown under the bus by life, wait. It is important to do something that makes you feel good, nourishes you, calms you down. Its hard to make choices when your body is in fight or flight mode. Go for a long walk, take a bath, make art, build something, spend time with small children and animals, turn off your computer and phone. Let yourself relax and get distance from the situation. You might need 15 minutes, or you might need a vacation of two weeks for a pivotal life decision. When you come back to make your choice from a place of rest and connecting with yourself, you won’t need to ask everyone you know for advice— you’ll simply know.
5. Remember, there is no such thing as a wrong choice.
It is not the decision that we make that has power, its what we do with that decision.Yes, life is a series of choices, but its often the smaller day to day ones which have a more profound effect over time. What matters most are the actions you take after you have made your choice. How do you decide to to react to the situations which unfold around you as the result of your decision?
Remember no matter what choices you are faced with right now— the best choice you can make is to tune out the noise of what you feel you “should” do and tune into the quiet spaces inside yourself.