Though she expressed a desire to change her life, my friend was depressed, stuck, lacking in the energy and motivation needed to initiate action of any kind in order to change her situation. Though our situations differ, I too have felt like her; probably many of you have too. Energy suckers such as (and please feel free to add your personal faves): inertia, self-doubt, regret or longing for the past, holding on to past dramas or traumas, fear or a sense of hopelessness about the future, clinging to labels assigned to one's self by self or others, peer pressure to remain within defined confines, what will others think, who do you think you are, leave one feeling like a powerless victim.
When we have been a "victim" of a crime or a vicious act the responses listed above are amplified, seem insurmountable and the challenges appear far greater. The reality is that the human spirit is resilient. We've all witnessed inspiring examples of resilience. If one person can rise above such a situation so can we all. We have the capacity to heal ourselves and our relationships. Living in a human body subjects us to challenges, illness and loss during our life and guarantees that we will die but suffering is optional — just ask the Dali Lama.
What she couldn't see is that we make choices (consciously or unconsciously) every second of every day. When we say that we don't have choice we're really saying that we aren't conscious of the act of choosing, because we actually are choosing at every moment. Don't believe me? You are right now choosing whether to continue reading this post or to do something else.
When we become more consciously aware of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, and sensations we are living in the present moment and the presence of choice becomes more evident. In this moment there is no past, no her/his story; in this moment there is no future. Without our story, life is full of potential.
When I begin to realize that I have the resources within me to enable me to choose a different action, feeling or belief, no matter how small, that opens up unforeseen possibilities and sets the stage for transformation. The moment I exercise that option it is like a droplet sending ripples through the stagnant pond which my life has become. These ripples become waves of change in relationship within and ultimately between me and the people and world in which I live. This reality can be pretty daunting and can stall me before I begin. It may feel easier to stay in the status quo, after all what choice do I have?
In accepting the concept of choice I take responsibility for my actions, their consequences and my life.
Each time I consciously exercise my ability to choose I am actively participating and engaged in life. I become energized. Struggles become transformed into challenges. I recapture my love of life, see it as precious and realize that I am entitled to be happy and enjoy it; and gratitude flows.
For me the ultimate belief about choice is that we are all in this together, a consciousness evolving that has chosen to experience this earthly existence through many, many lives and lifetimes. We are all one.