Somebody sent me an email today asking what I do when I don’t know what to do. She said she has big choices to make, but none of the options look good; no matter which way she turns, there’s suffering. Life is like that sometimes, and it’s just not easy when we come to those forks in the road.
Sometimes I like the saying, “When you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.” And of course, there’s the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland”, with his famous line, “Don’t just do something, stand there!” When I don’t know what to do, meditation is always helpful. Getting quiet so you can hear the voice of your intuition is always a good plan.
When your decisions are mostly going to impact you, it’s a bit less daunting. You may make a regrettable decision, but sometimes that’s how we have to learn, so we can make different choices the next time. Or so we learn something about ourselves, or life, or other people, and we grow. Maybe there are growing pains, but anything that helps us to see ourselves more clearly is ultimately helpful. When your decisions impact other people, like your children, for example, it’s exponentially harder.
“Paralysis through analysis” springs to mind. We can’t nurture ourselves or anyone else when we’re stuck, and in fear. Fear is a perfectly natural feeling we’ll all experience, but it’s not a great motivator. I mean, sometimes we have to feel the flames scorching our ankles before we move, I’m just saying whenever possible, coming from love is always better than coming from fear.
None of us has a crystal ball. It’s not like we get to make both choices, living our parallel lives so we can see which way is better, and then circle back and decide. Also, we really have no clue what anyone else’s journey is supposed to look like. If you’re making choices that impact other people, you just have to do the best you can to weigh it all out.
Sitting at the fork in the road biting your nails and agonizing isn’t going to serve anyone. If you have to act, move in the direction that seems the most likely to be the least painful. That’s the very best you can do sometimes. Life doesn’t always unfold the way we expected or hoped. And you truly never know what may happen down the road. Maybe nothing makes sense right now, but later the pieces will all fit together.
It isn’t all light and positive. Some of it breaks your heart. Sometimes you have to make your best guess and feel your way along and see what happens. You do the best you can with the information you’ve got. And you try to move toward love. Something will happen, you can be sure of that. And maybe you can work on trusting yourself, and your ability to open to the vulnerability inherent in this experience of being human. You can always find beauty, joy, love and gratitude on any given day. Focus on your days and not the decades out in front of you. Try to unearth the gifts each day. The smile of someone you love, or someone you don’t even know. The sound of laughter from those closest to you. Hugs. The sun on your face. Your ability to uplift other people in small ways and large. Give everything you’ve got from your heart, because you’ll never run out of love. Move toward those things that inspire you and light you up. Piece together a bunch of those days, and you’ll be looking at a good life. Sending love and a hug to anyone who needs it. Ally Hamilton