Shipwreck Beach - Lana'i, Hawaii
Gillian Cornwall, c. December 2006.
I am re-posting this article from 2014 as the concept of choice has been at the forefront of my mind. I watch as people struggle with their environment, finding it does not fit their needs and feeling unable to change it to be the way they want within the timeframe they want or need. I get this. It is frustrating to watch something and wish it were different - whether it is our job, our relationship or anything really. The fact is, we have choice. Everyday, I revisit the major players in my life and I make a choice:
- Relationships: I make an active choice in my relationships. I choose to spend time with people or not to spend time with them and I am blessed with the incredible people surrounding me. We lift one another up and light the path for each other. We bring things to the table to share and learn and grow.
- Work: Some days are good and some days aren't. Sometimes I am frustrated with the glacial pace of change, but everyday I weigh it out and choose to be there or not be there. No-one is forcing me to stay. I choose it.
- Lifestyle: I choose what I eat everyday (some days it might be donuts and whiskey and other days it might be salad and water). I'm a grown-up. I choose and accept the consequences. I choose to exercise or not exercise to the best of my abilities and in the ways that best suit my level of ability. I choose.
Most of the time we have choice in one form or another. Sometimes we say we don't have it when we don't want to make a difficult one. Sometimes, it is taken from us and we can only make choices about how we handle an imposed situation.
For instance, if our freedom is taken from us and we are held captive, we can only choose the impact of that captivity. What freedoms can be found within the mind when the body is held?
Too often in my past, I have held to choices made for me by others when I was a child or those I made for myself that no longer fit. Historically, I believed myself to be trapped. I have grown more autonomous with age, more capable of changing that which no longer fits. I am capable of moving forward with less fear of loss or change.
The unknown is probably the most terrifying thing for people to face: "What will happen if...?"
Having been without a home in my past, seeing all manner of relationships come and go, experiencing a variety of careers, holding creatures (both two-legged and four) in my arms while they pass from this life and choosing immense changes in how I live my everyday life, I have less fear of the impact of change, regardless of the kind of choice that occurred around that change.
A downside to choosing a life with less fear of change can be isolation - not finding like-minded folks with whom to go through life. Trust me, it's not that I don't think about what would happen if my job were taken from me or if someone I cared about passed away, rather that somewhere, deep in my cellular make-up, I know I will not only survive, but I will flourish because I choose life, truth and love over fear. When all is said and done, I will not succumb to fear. I won't let it be a self-imposed shackle to wear through my days.
Our experiences and creations all stem from how we choose to live our lives. I need to remind myself regularly that a life lived fully is the greatest life lived. I don't want to regret not saying "I love you," not taking that adventure or not speaking my truth in the face of equity and human rights or sustainability issues.
My wish is for all of us to live well, to live big, to live with an abundance of joy, love, peace and experience so 'take a deep breath and smile' (as one of my dear friends says!) and enjoy your day, with love.
-Gillian Cornwall, edited / re-post: c. February 21, 2016
Original post: c. April 13, 2014
How deep can you go? - Protection Island, BC
Gillian Cornwall, Summer 2015