The theme of choice continues in this reflection on the difference in how we experience choice depending on whether we are regarding it as a test or an expression of our human capacity. I riff on Mary Oliver’s well-known line, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and offer a larger context for it than is often given. That is, I read the darn poem, which you can also read here. https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html
Often Oliver’s question lands with us as one more injunction to live larger, better, bigger. What if it is simply a question? An invitation without expectation or pressure?
A choice between two things is not a choice; it’s a dilemma. Instead of setting up your cognitive filters to sort things into binary options, what if you changed your agenda from making the right choice or the best choice to discovering how to generate choices in the form of new and unanticipated possibilities?
From time to time we all get into tailspins. We get wrapped up in our thoughts, and the harder we try to sort things out, the faster we spin. The wonderful thing is that we can just stop. Simply stop. When we stop, we come home to ourselves and to a deeper way of knowing, but only every time.
In an interview with the BBC in 1999, David Bowie said, “I have no knowledge of who I am, but I am extremely happy.” Yet clearly he was a great creator. Somehow he disentangled stories about self and purpose and creating in a way that allowed him to be free, prolific, passionate, effective.
As you reflect on your purpose, I invite you to notice the difference between choosing a purpose as a creative expression and “finding your purpose.” Let me know how it goes by sharing your thoughts in the comments. ♥
This week’s video is an exploration of the freedom to choose. I invite you to reflect on two quotes, one from William James and one from Viktor Frankl, and notice where you go when you consider them. What happens when you focus on the pressure to make a right choice? What arises instead when you focus on your capacity to choose?
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.” – William James
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl