As we enter into the holiday season, particularly the reverent week of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but focus on gratitude. Years past, I’ve reflected on gratitude as a “beingness,” or stance, rather than an activity. This year, I narrow in and focus on one thing I’m thankful for – one thing us humans rarely stop to acknowledge…
The fact that we are at choice is profound.
We exercise basic choice – like preferences and how we live our lives – to significant choice: our perception, beliefs, interpretations, and essentially what’s possible for us and our life.
This week I share a reflection my friend and colleague, Sina Mossayeb, captured in honor of choice – a gift we can all be incredibly thankful for.
“Have you ever made a choice you know was high risk, certainly not accepted by the masses as sound, or even counter intuitive? I have. I make them all the time. And the funny thing is, to me the pay back isn’t the outcome, but making the choice itself. It’s all about choice. We make choices all the time.
Over millennia we have started to give value to those choices, calling them good and bad. We redefined good and bad differently as we evolved. I think at first it was about survival, then coexistence, then prosperity, and so on. Yet, as practical as those values and guidelines for making choices are, I think it is easy to stop making the choices myself, and here’s why: I’ve seen people place too much stock in those expectations, rules, and circumstantial influences. They prefer safety and acceptance over the inherent value of choice. There are those who will have a high sensitivity to this, and become slaves to rules and norms–they will even do inhumane things if that is the rule and their choice is rewarded.
There are others who blatantly disregard them and know that choosing that which is good doesn’t mean good defined by others, or safe defined by others. To them not choosing is a greater risk. If they fail in their choice society might call them cavalier. If they succeed they may be lauded as genius, bold, or visionary. But neither the fear of the former or the prospect of the latter drive them to make those choices. They make choices because they believe and they have worked out the necessity of making that choice. Their consciousness guides them forward. I have long admired so many who have done this, like Joan of Arc, Mandela, Rumi, Disney, Gandhi, Socrates, Kathrine Switzer, Thoreau, Ruha Benjamin, Karouac, John Wiegly, Malcolm X, Gibran, Einstein, Robert Sinclair, Raabiah, my parents, and a host of like minded friends.
The thing is, my choices haven’t really paid off in the outward sense as much as I had hoped–some have been glorious and others heartbreaking. I realized this morning, that somehow, I wasn’t and am not concerned with the likeliness of a desired outcome. I want a certain outcome, sure. But, I have little control of it. I do have complete control in making a choice. And if I forfeit that, I forfeit everything. It’s all about choices. And I continue to keep that perhaps unwise and fiery way of making choices not because they are safe or likely toward certainty or acceptance, but because my integrity and loyalty to living requires me to make them.
Maybe you can relate, and if you can I hope you know you are not alone (even if it can feel lonely). We have a set number of choices while we live. I sure as hell am not going to give them up out of fear or rejection. It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate—choice.”
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.