I Choose Therefore I am

Our lives are filled with choices. We consider it a great mark of our civilization this ability to make choices, to have the right to choose. We see it is an exercise in self-determination. I choose therefore I am is the zeitgeist of the times.

 Unfortunately, so much about choice is now associated with what we consume. We see the plethora of products and experiences and networks that we can choose to buy, have and join as the hallmark of a successful society. We confuse freedom with the ocean of options at our fingertips. What we think about perhaps a little less is the impact of our choices. We may give a great deal of thought to the exercise of choice but not necessarily to its consequence.

Part of this is a sense of disconnection from personal power.  Despite the number of choices that we have, we don’t necessarily consider ourselves to be powerful when we make choices unless they are significant ones: who to marry, where to live, which job to take, whether to divorce, to have a child or not have a child, who to vote for. These choices come along at irregular intervals, they seem big, seismic even. We are able to see that they will have an impact and so we pay a lot of attention to them, we think the plan of our lives depends on them.

Despite the 100 different toothpastes on the market, there are actually only two companies that make toothpaste and the basic ingredients are the same – different flavours, colours and textures make them seem fundamentally different but the substance is the same. This is not a weird non-sequitur into dental hygiene….the point I am making is that the big choices we are presented are formed from the substance of our lives and that is formed from the tiny internal choices we make in every second of every day.

The choices we have been making  our whole lives, the ones that we don’t think matter are the ones that actually determine the substance of our life, the weft and the weave of the tapestry that our lives are.  The choice to smile, the choice to give a kind word, the choice to have a kind thought rather than a negative one, the choice to follow your truths instead of ignoring them, the choice to honour your heart, the choice to complain or not, to blame or not to be disappointed, to see the good in another, to amplify it. These are the choices that make our lives and it is from these that the big choices are presented.

The greatest lie we can tell ourselves is that we are not powerful, that what we do or think or say today doesn’t matter. You are powerful, every choice is a great creative act, it will have ripples and consequences that you cannot begin to imagine. The most powerful choice you can make is to choose kindness every time, to yourself and to others. It is not an easy choice but it will change your life.

Jane Murray