Choice is funny.
It’s driven by all of these hidden desires and instincts. There are more dark alleys inside each choice we make than we care to admit. Especially when it comes to choices at the moment, words we said, reactions we have, people we reach out to, and those feelings we hold back.
SOME CHOICES ARE BIGGER. They create deliberation, a struggle between this and that, stay and go, buy-in, or sell out. They can become a crucible for which it feels like there is no escape.
Eventually, we make a choice.
And we see.
We choose to stay and see if it gets better. We try to make it work. We try again. We persist. These choices are often incredibly powerful even though they can seem very small because we are choosing what is. Sometimes we choose to leave, to change course, to let go, to replace something with nothing. Even though nothing terrifies us. Because nothing strips any illusion, we have of control.
The wake of that choice can ripple like an earthquake. Maybe it starts with a slow rumble, but it cracks our world open. And in the gaping maw of your life swept clear, you may find yourself wondering why you chose that. And if you made the right choice.
You may long to go back. To UN-choose.
Because after all, you don’t really know if you made the right choice or not. You’re not even sure if you could go back now if you tried. You may have the courage to stick to your choice, but your courage may leave you when you need it the most.
And who really knows. Somehow deep down in your gut, you heard a nudge.
I HEARD A NUDGE ONCE, that told me to leave Nashville. I had a nice career, a girlfriend who loved me, a family close by, but I felt the nudge, and so I went.
I had a nudge that told me to move into a monastery. And so I did. I didn’t have any idea of what it would take me to stay. It was incredibly hard, I was so scared. But I stayed, and my life shifted.
I had another nudge that told me to leave. And so I did. Terrified, I’d find myself unchanged on the other side. And I did find some of who I was from before. But I also found a new way to be in the world I had left behind.
I had a nudge that told me to talk to a girl. And three years of whirlwind ensued that took my breath away and challenged me as a man in more ways than I ever could have known. I gained so much am so grateful and then . . .
And another nudge told me (or us) it was time, to separate, to let go, to set us free. A hard nudge to listen to when there was so much love left and so much good there. A choice I’m still sitting in the wake of.
In each of these, I wasn’t the only one being nudged. I didn’t make all the choices. An incredible symphony of people and nudges came together to create this sad and joyful and lovely life I call mine.
If you look at your life, you may find the same. Little nudges or maybe even big pushes from the universe. Where do they come from? Who knows.
I’M ON THE CUSP OF ANOTHER CHOICE that will fork the river once again. It’s small and not.
And once again, I am left with a simple truth – MY GUT MOSTLY TELLS ME, AND MY MIND JUSTIFIES
My gut says to do this, trust that if you do this, life will unfold. In the confusing, sad, beautiful, hopeless, meaningful way life insists on unfolding.
I AM HEARTBROKEN and so grateful for what has unfolded.
– Hiking through a river at night.
– Silent hours of meditation.
– Snuggling on a hammock in the sun.
I’ve lived so much. I’ve lost so much. And I don’t know if I’ve chosen right. And yet I choose to keep listening for the choice that calls to me.
I’ve learned this life is not my own. Not when it matters most. Not for the stuff that turns the world on a pin. And thank Buddha, or God, or Spirit. Because I have no idea if I’ve made the right choices or not. Or if the wrong choice today will become the thing I am nudged to choose tomorrow.
I ONLY KNOW that when I move beyond the pain of what I’ve lost and get present to the adventure that this life is, I experience more, learn more, become more, and lose more of what I’m not.
Life unfolds when I listen to the nudge.
Even if the nudge leads me back to the familiar ground or into the realm of what is truly unknown.