Ok, so it is New Year! Standing at the beginning of 2014 you, and I, will be making choices about how this year will be. Looking forward with hope, love, fear, anxiety, joy…whatever. The point is that what you see ahead, and how – you create what happens for you – this year in 2014 is all a matter of your choice.
If you follow our work at live in the present you will already know that Rie, Ed and I always attempt to live in our present, in our ‘Now’ and actively create our world through our choices – thoughts becomes things- so we individually and collectively are choosing what will happen for us in 2014. So are you, though you may not realise it.
Focus for a moment on the choices before you for this coming year. Do you have any? What are they? Most importantly what is the basis of these choices?
It is important to own that deciding not to make a decision is actually a decision. The action of stillness is equally as powerful as the action of motion. However, when you choose to do nothing you are likely to be vulnerable to the choices everyone else makes around you. In having your own clarity of purpose you are in the flow of your life. And as I said, stillness is a decision as much as an action.
Choice and fear
For many the choice for action this year will be limited by fear. Fear of pain, failure, fear of looking stupid, ridiculed, loss, rejection, abandonment and so on. Fear is the biggest limiting factor for any of us. Fear and anxiety are the destroyers of happiness and fulfilment – those who dare win – step beyond fear, as Susan Jeffers put it – feel the fear and do it anyway – ( a book worth reading).
If you can get hold of the idea that your thoughts become your experience, you are the author of your life, then you will realise that fear is actually a choice and so is joy
Choice and duty
Generally in psychotherapy the words “ought, should, must and can’t” are banned. Each of these words are the limiters of self expression. The call of duty may be laid upon us by our culture, religion, beliefs, as parents, children, employees, employers and so on. The trick is that if in 2014 there are things that you feel you ‘must’ do then, – act with a smile on your face – this is known as Bhakti or to give service without expecting anything in return. We all need a bit of Bhakti in our lives but it is wrong to allow a sense of duty to stunt our own self development – we all deserve happiness.
There are many reason that we can find to maintain and justify our own lack of development or fulfilment our feelings of victimisation or misery and moaning about our life and other people, though there are alternatives.
Choice and joy
In making your decisions for 2014 avoid the ought, should, must and can’t and think about the lightness of joy – focus on what makes you feel happy – and do more of it. Doing things that make you feel good is never work and at the end of it you feel happiness. How many of the things that you do in your life lead to you feeling flat, bored or unhappy. If you do more of what makes you feel good your life will get better and better – happiness is a learned response – sometime we have to practise being happy.
Choice and responsibility
The word responsibility comes from the word to respond “respondability”. By being responsible or “responsable” for what we experience makes us the master of our own destiny. It does not matter from where you begin your journey, whatever your age or state of health, being responsible for your life and taking ownership of yourself – responsibility is the key-. If I am responsible for me no one else can ever be responsible for what I think or feel and ultimately what I do. There are many examples of people who, against the odd chose to respond positively. Nelson Mandela was once such person.
This year some of you will be facing very difficult and tough stuff, emotionally, mentally and physically. These may be things that you cannot avoid and we have no choice other than to face them and deal with them. However, we do have a choice as to how we respond to them – Epictetus said:
‘It is not events themselves that cause distress, but the way in which we think about them, our interpretation of their significance. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble. We can choose how we respond to them’
Living in the present and being positive about our future allows us to create a year in 2014 that we will look back on positively and perhaps with joy.Decide to create your own experience this year. Treat your problems as challenges so whatever 2014 presents you with, smile be positive and enjoy it.