choice

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Choice can be such a gift, so many delectable possibilities… no way to partake of them all.

I am fully aware of how phenomenally fortunate I am to have the luxury of choice in so many places in my life, though I will also unabashedly admit that too often I am both overwhelmed … and underwhelmed …by them. While acknowledging that this is a 1st world problem, I find myself uncertain as to whether choice is a gift at all.  In the very same breath,  I suspect that if my choices were stripped from me, I would be utterly lamenting my lack of freedom.

Poor me (sarcasm intended) but I feel as if life would be simpler if there were fewer choices. Too many are, well, too much.  Not only the material ones, of course, like which toothpaste (really?), which book, which item from the menu… but more deeply, how should I spend… not my money… but my time. What is the path I should take at this juncture? What is the life I should lead?

It’s not even as if I feel there must be a right choice and a wrong one. There never seems to be such certainty in life (ok, maybe between the donut and the steel cut oats, but what about between the egg white vegetable omelet and the quinoa with almonds and blueberries?). I do believe it is possible to live a spirit-enfleshed life, rich with purpose and deep meaning, in whatever experiences life serves me (bloom where you are planted and all) but it is much harder to intentionally make that selection myself. Choice, after all, necessitates sacrifice. I cannot do it all.

I suppose this is the point of a finite life. Always there lies before us life’s one certainty — that we have limited time. Always there is that measuring stick by which we can attempt to determine the merits of spending a portion of it unwisely. AND, I believe there is no such thing as an unwise expenditure, for each moment brings gifts of learning and experience.

A wise friend once suggested to me that the answer to my perennial ‘bloom where you are planted’ question is ‘both/ and’. Yes, we are called to bloom fully in the circumstances of our lives, whatever they might be, bringing the fullness of our soul’s loving energy into them AND there will be specific places, where our unique constitution will bloom most prolifically, where perhaps the earth even begs of us to show up, which we are called to discover and cultivate. I’ve discussed this here many times, for it is indeed a recurring dilemma for me.

As my long winter of quiet stillness begins to slip like dirt through my fingers with the awakening of spring and its pressing demands for my attention, I yearn to uncover a path to a landscape where such soil might be deeply cultivated. This is the choice at this fork in the road that I seek to open in the brambles.

I can feel starved of water and sunlight in many places in this life. I think perhaps we all feel this way quite a lot, leading these lives of quiet desperation of which Thoreau spoke.  That is perhaps why we humans are in such deep need of spiritualities, religions, meditation, prayer… life can feel pretty empty and dry. The material life of our culture is an especially barren landscape. And so the choices are plethoric, meaningless, and empty even as they fill our minds with useless distraction so that we don’t have to face to the despair. Perhaps the truth is that too many of our choices don’t at all feel ‘delectable’ , but instead are merely numbing/deadening.

Will I ‘go to my grave with the song still in me? (Thoreau)

I like to imagine that living a life deeply connected to the earth, in community with others, I would feel somehow more alive. I like to imagine a life of solitude or separateness might feel the same. Either of these existences are easy to romanticize though and a part of me wonders at the illusion of fullness I envision in such a place. Would my quiet despair merely follow me?

Regardless,  I haven’t figured out exactly how to make such a choice for myself. I am also a relational being and it is not easy to leave an old life behind; the sacrifices of yesterday’s post feel too great, so I sacrifice myself and my vision of wholeness instead. That is a choice, I suppose, that I don’t want to admit to myself that I make.

Another wise woman once reminded me that , of course, there is always a choice (and by definition, sacrifice?)  within everything. We just don’t always want to admit to the ones that we make so we blame them on others. However, we are indeed interdependent beings. Every choice that I make pulls on a thread that affects the entire web in some way. The thing that is difficult for me is to know when I am being conscious of that sacred interdependence in my choices, and when I am merely being codependent in them. Am I being selfish or self-less?

Pondering such unmade and unlived choices, it seems, merely awakens in me longing and discontent. This brings me back to the thought that perhaps life would be simpler without them. Would my life be deeper if I did not know it could be wider?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

 

 

 

 

 

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