THE POWER OF CHOICE

All that we need to be in control of our lives is to know that we have choices. We do not even have to exercise them so long as we own them.


Our lives are not determined by the situations that confront us, but by the choices that we make when confronted. If I am born into a poor family I can accept my lot and make the best of it, I can work hard to overcome it, or I can become a thief, or a drug dealer. We are not victims of the situations that life puts us in, we are victims of the choices that we make within those situations. It is vital to living a full life that we accept this fact.

I knew a woman who began with every advantage and ending up on welfare. I saw my daughter reacting to life in the same way and it worried me. I feared that if my daughter saw through the same lens she might end up same way. My daughter’s response to my fears was, “Don’t worry I won’t end up like her”. That statement had such an impact on me, because I knew that no one decides to destroy their lives. Our lives follow the paths determined by our choices and those choices are made one at a time. When we perceive that a choice we made was not right, we should then try to make a choice that is right for where we are now. Instead, most of us lose sight of where we wanted to be and instead focus our choices on making our initial choice right. Each choice is taking us in one direction or another. If we are not aware that we are making choices, we will not look around for options. The path that my friend was on was not the path that she thought that she had chosen it was the path that she took because she believed she had no other choice.

When we are in a place that is not where we had planned to be, we feel unhappy; either with ourselves or with the circumstances we hold responsible for putting us there. Usually we prefer to believe that it is anything other than our own choices that put us where we are. It is generally a partnership, life presented the choices and we made them. Acknowledging that we made the choices helps us to be more aware of the choices available to us in the future. It helps us to stand back when things seem bleak and see other options, and other ways. If we feel like victims, we react without assessing our possibilities, if there is a turn – we miss it because we are not looking. We continue on the path that has caused us suffering since our initial choice. What we can do is we can choose to dig ourselves out instead of choosing to dig ourselves in deeper.

My childhood was very difficult and I felt that I was a victim. I got involved in drugs, tried to kill myself, and I married for the wrong reasons. I married to escape the pain at home. As victims do, I sought escape from the suffering of my life, rather than a better life altogether. I exited through the only door that I could see simply because I was not aware that there could be others. I was not living in choice. I married the first man who asked. I felt very sorry for myself. Each choice that we make out of a feeling of helplessness places us in a situation that increases our helplessness. All of my limits, fears and pain simply changed form but remained consistent with my belief that I was a victim. I continued to make choices dictated by my perception of the situation rather than dictated by what I wanted, or who I was or where I wanted to be.

One day during therapy the therapist asked me why I chose to take drugs. I came from a town where taking drugs was the accepted means of dealing with our pain. However when I had to explain it as a choice, something changed. I never thought of anything that I had done as a choice; I just did what I believed I had to do. This covered anything, I had to react, I never thought that I could choose to act. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had made a choice and it was one of many choices that I could have made.

When we are children we do not have many obvious choices, we can fight, we can hide but we cannot change our situation. We actually have very little apparent power. Within that context I did not see myself as making choices I simply reacted.

I accept the choices that I made then; I accept my reaction to that environment because I did not see at the time that I had choices. I could never look back and blame myself for walking through a door that seemed to me to be the only one open. It was the door according to my belief system, but not the only one according to who I was and what I really wanted. Victims are always blind to where they are going because they live their lives running from instead of going to. They never plan a future – only an escape. Yet knowing even after the fact that I did have choices gave me the power that I needed to move on. I finally realized that each step along the way in my life I did make a choice for which I alone, not my parents, not my life, and not my situation, was responsible and one hundred percent accountable. I made the only choice that I could see, and that was fine, because a person who owns the power of choice owns his life. A person who makes choices, regardless of the outcome of those choices, is a person with a future to live, a life ahead of them rather than merely an expanding prison cell. I may have made choices that did not turn out as I planned, but those choices were mine. This freed me.

The fact that my life is made up of my choices has given me my wings. Nothing could stop me but I myself, and that was fine. I knew that in my life I may reach many dead ends, but if I built the road that reached them, I could build the road that would take me around them.

We suffer not because of what happens to us in our lives but because of the choices that we make in reaction to what happens. Each moment we live, we are making a choice, and that choice will determine the next experience. There is no choice is our last choice until we take our last breath.

We cannot assess our worth based upon one choice. Rather we must assess ourselves based upon our willingness to accept responsibility for each choice. If we do this, it will drive us to make each choice responsibly. Remember that so long as we have another breath we have another choice. Sometimes we are meant to make what we believe to be the wrong choice so that we can arrive at the right destination. When a situation is painful it is not working. If we cannot find a way to make it work there probably is no way. Here is where we have to make a choice. If we stay that is our choice and if we keep moving that too is our choice. The controlling factor is not the situation it is the choice that we make.

If I want my partner, but only if he or she fits into a certain image that I hold, I really want the image and not the person. I should look elsewhere or change the mold. If I need a job but I will only work under certain conditions, I cannot complain that I cannot get a job. I just have to choose what I want more and follow my choice. It does not matter what we do or do not do, we are making choices. What happens to us is and will always be a result of those choices not ever a result of the reason that we made those choices.

There is a person with one leg who chooses to play tennis and live a full life and joyful life. Then there is the person with one leg who chooses to sit in a room lonely and bitter feeling that life has given him nothing but pain. Both choices are understandable. The former is the choice of one whose choices are founded in a belief in challenges and not limits. The latter is the choice of one whose choices are founded in limits, a victim. Why should we sit and make ourselves miserable over those things that we cannot control? The time that we are wasting, and that pain that we are suffering is due to our choices, and not due to our situations. Difficult and painful things happen in our lives, but how we choose to deal with them will affect our entire lives. When we find ourselves facing an ocean of suffering we can choose to swim through it, facing only the far shore, or drown in it.

It used to anger me when every time I said that I could not do something because it was too hard, or even impossible to accomplish someone else did it. Someone would come along with less going for them than I thought that I had and do what I thought that I couldn’t. But I chose to let that help me grow. I could have said that that person was lucky, I chose to look at that as a sign that it could be done. When I took responsibility for my choices I had to examine their foundation. My choices were founded on my belief that my life held only a lose lose potential. Those who accomplished what I chose not to even attempt chose based on a belief that anything is possible.

I once would have decided that they must have been better or luckier than I. That way of thinking was once a choice that validated my self-pity. Instead I now choose to allow the accomplishments of others to empower me, and to make it more difficult for me to say, “I can’t”. We have to take responsibility for our choices, and embrace our ability to choose.

Some souls have chosen a more difficult road than others, yet however difficult or easy the road may be, we have all come here with everything that we need to reach our own destination. The pot of gold is behind one of the doors. All that we have to do is to find it. And we find it by choosing doors. Life is a treasure hunt, each experience gives us something, a direction, a tool, or a clue to the next door until we have it all.

The key is not to give up if it is not behind door number one. We have to keep in mind that the goal is just to find the treasure not to be right. First we find the treasure and then we know where it is, we do not have anyway of knowing where it is before we find it, so we should not expect that of ourselves. God knows where it is and He will lead us to it so long as we choose to seek it. Life does not force us ever to give up, that is a choice, sometimes it is the wise one, but in any event it still is a choice.

Oneness

Each of us is God and all of us are God, in the sense that we are aspects of Him spread out over all of time and space. When we love ourselves we love God. It is not looking up saying “God I love you, you are perfect.” It is looking in the mirror and saying “God I love you, you are perfect.”

We are special; we are all on a mission to spread love and light. If we can learn to love ourselves completely, each part of our being, then by doing that from within we will automatically love each other. It is by loving and accepting all of our different qualities that we will love and accept all of those souls who represent those qualities around us.

That love will infect the energy of the entire planet and the Universe. This is each person’s individual mission. Understand that love and hate are like air born viruses. They travel through the energy field and infect others. As a virus begins first within an organism, so love and hate each begin first within the individual. I cannot spread something I do not have. I must love or hate myself to spread it into the energy environment.

Hate is simply fear. Love is acceptance as oneness. Love is being whole. We do come from one source. We are all different aspects of All that is, and we each contain every aspect of All that is. As we meet others we are meeting ourselves, like the same piece of the cardboard, just cut into a different shape. It is truly, as above, so below, as within without. If I can only love one person, I still am only accepting those aspects of myself that are represented by that one person. If I cannot love a certain person, and worse, if I hate that person, it is the aspect of myself that is represented by that person that I am not accepting.

We speak of good versus evil, of us versus them – Satan versus God – these are all imaginary divisions. They are not real. If you look to Satan as he appears in the old testament, he is not the enemy of God. If he is the enemy of anyone he is the enemy of man. The impression is that he just thinks that God gives man too much credit. He doesn’t believe that man is capable of loving God as the angels do. So God gives Satan carte blanche as to how he tests mans love of God with one exception – he can’t kill him. Knowing that Satan, being an archangel, is no dummy – he would use the division and distraction to distance man from God and prove his point, that man doesn’t have what it takes to love God. Religion is the first and the best tool to divide and conquer humanity. It makes sense; people are so busy defending their particular religion from other people who are defending their own religion, that God – becomes an afterthought. The focus becomes the bathwater and not God, the baby in it. If we were to overcome all of our other boundaries – race, nationality, economic status, religion will still remain Satan’s trump card. We commit more actions that distance us from our own loving hearts and God, in the name of religion, than even our greed commands.

Remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We are each links. If we are not individually in love with the totality of our beings, we cannot benefit the whole. I can teach you to understand a concept, even the concept of self-love, but I cannot give it to you or to the energy of the universe until I have it. If we can love ourselves unconditionally – we will see no one as unworthy of our love and embrace the Oneness that we all share.

We are God, in the sense that we are aspects of Him spread out over all of time and space. When we love ourselves we love God. It is not looking up saying “God I love you, you are perfect.” It is looking in the mirror and saying “God I love you, you are perfect.” It is looking at all beings and saying, “God I love you, you are perfect.” When we understand that we need not look to what we cannot see to love God, because we each are a cell in the body of God. We are not born from God; we are each and all forever a part of God.

The “veil,” the “Maya” is what keeps us looking at a liver cell as opposed to a pancreatic cell as opposed to a skin cell when we are all simply and divinely cells of one beautiful body, and our individual work is what keeps the body alive.

We are a part of All that is. This is why there is no death. Even our physical bodies do return to the physical substance from which they came; that is not even dying, it is transforming into something greater than before. When our physical vehicle is no longer of use, we are re-incorporated into spirit. Until we choose to utilize a physical vehicle again.

If we go back to the theory of cells, we can understand that we have an ego, which in its highest sense, is the attachment to our individuality and the experiences we have had throughout our history of incarnation. The Aquarian Age is a time where we do not blend our individuality into the brotherhood of man. We add our individuality to aid the betterment of mankind. It is also about taking that individuality and bringing it into the perfect working of the whole. Just as a liver cell cannot forget it is a liver cell and start functioning as a pancreatic cell. Ideally it should realize that it is a liver cell of the same material and a part of the same whole as the pancreatic cell and without both there would be no body.

Individuality does not mean that we are floating unattached. Individuality means that we have our self, our gift, and our unique identity to contribute to the whole of which we are a part. We are a drop as well as the Ocean. We need each other because we are each other in the greater sense. We need God because we are God.

To say that we are children of God is beautiful and it conjures up a beautiful loving image. Yet it implies that we are separate from God so when we are then told to look within for God, we become confused trying to find something separate but within. My child comes from me, she loves me and I love her, however we are separate physical beings in life and that separateness is what impels her to perfect the gifts that are contributed by her being and knowing her whole self.

My cells and my organs, on the other hand, are a part of me; they bear the same connection to me as we bear to God. I may look at every part of me and say this me in this lifetime. The power and strength of each part of me is at my disposal. So we must incorporate the premise that we are not children of God but parts of the body of God. We do not have to look within to find God, we are God within and without. Not only are we parts of God, but so is everything that exists as far as we can see and as far as there is.

If we can understand this concept and break free of the belief that we are merely creations of God but not God, then we can understand that everything else is connected to and a part of each of us.

God created man in His own image. Perhaps what that is saying is the God created man from His own image, and a soul that is, His own image. Understanding that all that exists is God, as each cell within our bodies are connected to the other and dependent upon the other, and the body upon the whole of all if its cells, so too are we connected to every living organism and in some way, aware of it or not, we are dependent upon each. God is economical. There are no left-over or dispensable parts. Each species, each organism has a purpose, and if we remove one from existence, we will eventually feel the repercussions of its absence.

We cannot pollute the atmosphere without somehow polluting ourselves. We cannot weaken the immune system of the earth without having problems with our own immune systems and the immune systems of every living organism that exists on the planet. Not in just affecting from without, but mirroring the effect within our own organism. We must remember that as above, as below as within as without.
We cannot consider ourselves separate from God nor can we consider ourselves separate from another individual, even if that individual lives thousands of miles away worships in a different church, speaks a different language and has a different color skin. We are all connected by the atmosphere that we all share. We live under the same sky and breathe the same air. We are each connected by air. Everything on earth is made of atoms. How then can we not be connected?

To be a part of something larger than ourselves does not make us less in reality it makes us more. When we look at the night sky and see all of the stars and all of the universes, this should not make us feel small and insignificant; it should make us feel great and limitless. Only the belief that one is great can give one the courage and motivation to do great things.

It is the unseen possibility that turns a journey into an adventure

Whether we believe in a world of fate or a world of free will, we are living in a world of possibilities.It makes no different whether our future is preordained or happens by chance we still have no idea what life has waiting just around the corner.We can’t plan corners only straight paths.Yet sometimes, what we did today lies in wait while something new, something completely unexpected jumps out at us from a hidden space.

Life in the Bronx had settled into consistency.My neighborhood was safe thanks to my mother’s personality.I had friends I had known all of my life.I knew what to expect, the good and the bad.My grandmother came over every Friday and stayed until Sunday.I made it through the week from weekend to weekend.All of my friends were born around the same time and for seven years we grew together.Friendship was not chosen we were born into it.Even though I was not white it did not matter from what I saw in my very small world.My father was not around much so his presence was a cause for celebration, not fighting.For me, life had settled into being as good as it gets.

Along comes the Throgs Neck Bridge!!The State decided to build a bridge and the toll booth would be directly across the street from my house.Everyone I knew had to move – my neighborhood was to be destroyed.For the first of many times, life came out of my blind spot. When I was told that we were moving I felt my insides turn to ice, I could not breathe.I would lose everything I knew.My father wanted to move to Connecticut, but my mother wanted to move to New Jersey and buy a house with my grandmother.She won.

I moved to Orange, NJ.It was a beautiful large house with thirteen rooms.When we arrived the house smelled so wonderful and new.There were shiny new wood floors and a big back yard.My room was so light and airy with a big beautiful canopy bed.Best of all, my grandmother was right upstairs on the third floor.My little sister and I went outside and walked around the block.The children did not come up to us, they just looked at us, as if we were aliens.My mother and grandmother were the only ones seen when the house was purchased, no one was prepared for the little black entourage that would come in after them.We were not welcome.

This bridge erased my life.My father only came home on weekends because the commute was too much.I think that the idea of sharing a house with my grandmother was made the commute even more unbearable.We now lived in a neighborhood where we were not welcome.There were forty children in my neighborhood, none of whom could play with us.There were a few Black families in the neighborhood, but they were tolerated.I was different I was a mixed breed.I was called Zebra, oreo cookie and nigger; parents threw rocks at me.I retreated within myself.Everything pointed to my being defective.

I found ways to cope; I drew an imaginary world of happy people and happy families.Slowly a few children began to come over and play.Before the first summer, my parents felt so sorry for my sister and I that they put in a swimming pool, the only one in the neighborhood except for Dionne Warwick who lived quite a distance from us.Suddenly, most of the children began to come over; their parents gave in so that they could swim during the long hot summer.I learned that prejudice is not a condition it is an obstacle.

Life is unexpected, things jump out at us from the Universe, like bridges that change our lives.We cannot plan for them, we cannot prepare for all of the possibilities.All that we can do is seek the purpose of the new path that we have been placed upon.My life has not been built upon a well thought out plan, but upon a series of unexpected turns, roadblocks, and detours.It has been built on possibilities, those bugaboos that jump out at you from behind the bushes and around the corners that we cannot see.

At no moment have we been misguided, nowhere have mistakes been made, and nothing has ever caused us to be anywhere but where we were destined to be when we were destined to be there. The opportunity is ours to embrace each moment, each day with all of its possibilities.We need to believe that although now is forever, it is a container that holds ever changing ever evolving contents. In as little as five minutes, an entire road may be closed and a totally uncharted one opened.Good, bad, or just plain boring, this is still now and the possibilities are still endless.We may be at a point where we have stopped for a while but we are never at the end.We are always on the road to success.

If we are walking down the street and a wall appears to obstruct our paths, it would not benefit us to stand there and yell at it for appearing.It would only cause unnecessary pain to throw our bodies against it.We need to let go and welcome the visit from God and check to see what His new plan is for us.

Life is experience and symbolism at the same time.Each experience represents something which is a part of our growth.The lessons never change, only the classrooms.A new man or woman enters our lives different face, different body and different voice, yet in a short time we find, much to our amazement that we are in the same relationship that we have been in time and time before.Astrologically nothing in life happens that is not promised within our birth.Our lives are either their fulfillment; or our charts are the imagesof our journeythrough symbols.We should take this even further to the understandingthat when we come into each incarnationwe come with a vehicle.This vehicle is equipped with all that we need to travel and prosper on our journey. All of our possibilitiesare built in.

If we spend the time seeing the lessons, seeing the things that happen and the people that enter our lives we will findthat there are patterns.The archetypal hero has many different challenges to overcome, many labors to endure.By looking within, by examining the lives that we have lived we will see our hero’s journey.One of my lessons is to be like the Buddhic monks who spend hours upon hours creating the most beautiful works of art in sand, only to have them blown away.The lesson of non-attachment has pervaded my life since the day that I was born.I also know that I must work hard for anything that I want and hard work will not guarantee my reward.I have to do for the sake of doing. These are patterns – my patterns.This is a part of the plan of my life.I also know that my life brings me constantly to the edge.If I am to be saved it will be at the 11th hour and so close to the end that only a fool would count on being saved.This too is a pattern.Understanding the patterns in our lives brings us closer to understanding the lessons and therefore reaping the rewards in learning them.

We are born into a family with its beliefs and its accepted boundaries.As we seekour place within that family we utilize those aspects of ourselves that make our fitting in easier. Those aspects of ourselves that do not fit, we put away out of sight, even from ourselves.Each of those aspects is an untapped resource that we have. It is just awaiting the arena to unfold.It is part of a possibility that has not yet become apparent.To expose those hidden parts of ourselves would not permit us to fit within our family structure.Those aspects of ourselves and of our pathsthat we hide from the light surface as dreams, wishes, longings and even doubts. They wait to be awakened by the Universe to fulfill their place in our life plan. The road ahead may seem clear, or paved with obstacles, but that is only its appearance, behind the corners, lie a million possibilities that we cannot even imagine. Tomorrow may be just another day, or the day that changes our entire lives.We cannot see all of the possibilities that are around us.Yet they are the things that life is made up of. They are the building blocks of our moments.

When things go well we don’t care about possibilities, and they go wrong we don’t believe in them.Yet the possibilities are all around us, remaining unaffected by our beliefs.They guide our lives.No matter how carefully we planthe future; it is possibilities that create it.

The journeyof man from cave dweller to space traveler is a journey built on those possibilities. They fuel the adventure. It is not what we expect but what we do not expect that puts the life into living.

1979 was a very bad year for me.It was a year of seeing reality as I had never seen it before.I saw my place in the picture, and the responsibility that I had for being in that place.From where I sat I was living up to my mother’s expectations of failure.My life was not moving forward as were the lives of my friends.My daughter was six years old and I was not prepared for the responsibility.My ex-husband was fighting me over child support and in order to make my suffering greater he was refusing to see our child.I felt alone.Then one day, my boss went through my desk drawer and I felt so invaded that I quit.Honestly, I did not even know that I was going to do it until the words left my lips.Once done, I could not take it back although my boss gave me the opportunity.

I felt as though there were a brick wall in front of my life.I was not equipped to do the things that I needed to do for my daughter.I realized that I was not prepared to be the adult I was supposed to be.I was not prepared to be the mother and provider I was supposed to be.I felt so small and lost.Despair filled me, at 28 I had no options, no doors seemed open to me and a child depended on me for everything.I felt as though I were in quick sand I could neither pull myself out nor stop myself from sinking deeper.

My Grandmother pushed me to go and find a job, another any job.Feeling so frustrated that I had to punish myself; I went out on my birthday to make a fruitless attempt at getting a job fully prepared to come home having found nothing and prove once again my worthlessness.I walked by a Temp Agency and decided to walk in.After I filled out my application and failed the typing test the phone rang.An office in the building needed someone immediately, they needed a body and my poor typing skills were outweighed by their desperation.I had any job.This job changed my entire life.It led to my own business.This temp job allowed me to give my daughter everything that I wanted and to feel that I was not a failure.It was a twist in the road.Not visible from where I stood, a possibility that changed my life. This is how our possibilities I walked into a temporary agency looking for some work for a week or two and my entire life changed.Walking into that door brought me to a road that took me from rags to riches.This is how our possibilities work.”

My niece was a college professor in Iowa.The only person that she was comfortable relating to was her ex-husband.Although divorced, circumstances caused them to maintain their relationship.This environment, in which they both felt very out of place, left them dependent upon each other.She believed that this need for companionship was love.They had nothing in common; she had every reason to divorce him when she did.He finally met someone else and left her in a very deceitful manner, but because she was alone and feeling that there were no options left for happiness she wanted to get him back.Regardless of how I tried to remind her that he was not good for her, she just wanted him.

As the reality of a long summer alone in Iowa approached, she decided to do something that would take her to an environment where she did not feel his presence on every street.She decided to choose between spending a summer in Miami with me or going to Paris and learn French.I convinced her that summer in Florida was not a vacation, and Paris held such rich possibilities. So she applied for a grant and all of the pieces fell into place for her to leave for Paris. For the first few weeks her depression was upstaged by the beauty and excitement of Paris.But after a few weeks the pain returned.She began to feel the hopelessness of believing that her life would remain empty, and she would be a lonely old maid.Everywhere she looked she saw couples laughing, holding hands and filling themselves with the aura of romance that was the city.She became more and more resigned to a life that frankly, for her would not be worth living.

One night an old friend insisted that she come to a party he and his wife were giving.Although she was convinced that it would be another night of watching happy couples sharing what she would never again have, out of a sense of obligation and resignation, she accepted.Suddenly, she had a movie moment; a man appeared in front of her who was everything that she had ever dreamed the perfect man to be.The rest of the people in the room faded into the background and the two came together.It was love at first sight.Within six months she was married and living in Paris.It was a story that she herself would have never believed possible only a month before.She saw no way for anything in her life to change – but change it did.We do not see the steps that pave our destiny, we don’t plan them, we don’t work our plan – God’s plan works us.

Sometimes everything just seems lost, and sometimes we just get tired of looking.Perhaps we just need to rest; or we need to clear our eyes so that we may see what is coming.Whether it is a talent we didn’t know that we had, or an opportunitythat we never thought we could have had; anything is possible at any time.

This means that however hopeless things seem, we should never give up and no matter how good things are we should never get too comfortable.All that we can do is enjoy the ride.