I close my eyes and I watch two movies.
The movies created by my thoughts of a decision I thought I had to make.
On one side of the decision, one movie. On the other side of the decision another movie.
The movie keeps changing. One side will bring me relief then pain. The other side brings me pain then relief.
I step in and out of both exhausted.
The big stuff can feel like your life depends on it.
Last year on New Year's Eve I was driving in a minivan across the country. My only job was to drive and listen to music or our Audible book or to sleep and eat.
Something about that time was the happiest I've ever been. I didn't have a single decision to make. I did what was next, and then what was next after that. If the next thing was to go pee, I went to the bathroom. If the next thing was closing my eyes because I was falling asleep, I went to sleep.
I had imagined on the trip that Dave and I would have a big talk about something. That we would look at our relationship for hours and analyze and review and talk about everything we've done that was so wrong with us.
We never had a big talk. We just drove. And slept. And listened. And had sex in hotel rooms at night.
I would make tea using the hotel coffee makers and rub oils all over my feet.
I felt safe that whole trip.
Even when we drove through an ice storm that was causing dozens of accidents all around us. I remember driving in it, crying and Dave having me pull over in the middle of a highway covered in ice so he could switch with me and I had to pee so badly. He told me to just hold onto the door of the van and pee. Right there on the highway, I squatted down, barely able to keep my footing and peed.
There was no decision to make. There was just me, my bladder, the highway and then getting back into the van to creep along some more.
Every year at this time I start to think I have to make a decision of what to do next in my work. As my income winds down and April gets closer I become splattered with decisions that don't feel comfortable.
The only thing that has ever worked is to just stop trying to make the decision and do the next thing. Write an email. Make a list. Run some numbers. Make a prayer.
I have never actively made a decision for what I will do in my work, it has just sort of happened; after a shit ton of movie watching of all the sides of a decision to the point of freaking myself out to wanting to just run away from my life.
I instead dropped the decision and found myself inside of it.
I know this. I can trust this. That decision is not mine to make. It isn't real. It is like this way I convince myself I have control over something, to believe that this decision will make or break my life.
When I get quiet and just do the next thing, when I see what is truly in front of me, when I choose just for this moment, the next thing happens too.
A decision can be a manipulation. A decision can be an excuse. A decision can be lack. A decision can be a fight. A decision can be part of a game.
A decision can be control.
What if the decision isn't real?
What if the movies we play about all the sides of the decision are our way of suffering?
Because we don't know. And every moment is new.
My friend said to me that we don't owe consistency to anyone.
I change every single moment.
I change my mind. I find grace. I surrender. I see myself in a new way after a bad choice. I see others in a new way after a bad choice.
What if we own that we are flexible enough to care for ourselves?
You know that cup half full or empty thing? I strongly don't like that. It isn't real. The decision to be one or the other isn't real. To think one way or the other isn't real.
You know the decision you made not to text that person and then you do and you hate yourself for ten minutes (hours)?
You don't owe consistency to anyone.
You sent the text. It is only a text.
And maybe, the story you've created about it isn't true. And maybe it ends up being the most wonderful thing ever. And maybe it doesn't. And maybe it just was you, sending a text, being you, in that moment of whatever you were in.
Maybe trying not to be who you are because you need to choose which half full or empty cup you see or which decision to make to fit into a perception of you is just not real.
What is the next thing?
When you open your eyes what do you see?
No decision is ever more important than the person you are, right now, who is creating that decision.
Drop the decision and see YOU. Feel you. Are you being honest? Are you valuing yourself? Are you living in a projection or story? Are you trying to hurt someone so you can feel better?
One more time on that one.
Are you trying to hurt someone so you can feel better? In parenting, in partnership, in friendship, in finances?
Maybe that decision, which I promise will make itself, is the way you stop yourself from the accountability of this one moment? From the accountability of showing up as love for yourself, first.
When you are about to pee your pants standing on a highway covered in ice there is no decision to make. You pee. For the sake of the rest of the car ride, you pull your pants down first and squat.
If you don't, you'll be ok.
Stinky. But ok.
Today I got in the van, packed some snacks and drove. I found water, hiking trails (no, I didn't hike, I just observed for a while), other people sitting in cars with themselves. I munched grain free tortilla chips and a yummy granola bar.
I had no idea where I was going, I trusted that I'd find whatever I wasn't looking for.
I prayed to the water and the only thing I asked for was my own honesty.
If I can find that, why would I ever worry about a decision that isn't mine to make.
I see you. I appreciate you. I adore you.
I close my eyes and I watch two movies.