One of my Facebook friends posted this quote the other day. I’m sure she meant it as inspiration, but it struck me as a little holier than thou and judgmental. Seriously, we and we alone have sole control over EVERYTHING in our lives? Nothing is that simple.

While I agree that our choices greatly impact our lives, I question how much control we have over the place from which we make those choices.  For instance, can we really compare the choices of a person who grew up in a safe, stable, loving household to one who was the victim of chronic abuse?  I don’t think so.

So many things happen in life that are out of our control, that impact our psyches in ways we don’t understand, which in turn influence our choices, for better or worse. Our life experiences, from the moment we are born, our earliest role models, trauma, unconditional love, exposure to violence, exposure to art and culture, travel, isolation, quality and level of education, and so many other things impact our choices. Very often they do so unconsciously.

I’m hardly an expert in psychology, but I’ve lived long enough, and made enough bad choices – along with many good ones – to know that not EVERYTHING in my life is a reflection of them. Sometimes, stuff happens. Sometimes, other people make choices that impact our lives. Sometimes, we are faced with a choice we didn’t ask for and wish we didn’t have to make (I’m thinking of the recent American presidential election here). Sometimes, in good faith, we choose wrongly and don’t realize it until it’s too late.

As adults, we owe it to ourselves, when our lives aren’t going well, to engage in self-reflection (and maybe a little therapy) to get to the root of why, and our role in it. But when all else fails, and you’re left reeling from a bad choice, take heart from one of my new favorite quotes:



The Road Not Taken

jeremiahAs we embark on a new year, I am thinking about the road not taken. Of the decisions and choices we make along the way that alter the course of our lives, in ways we will never know. We may know what our lives are today, but we will never know what they might have been if we made different choices.

Sometimes I wish I could get a glimpse into that life. What does the road not taken look like? Would we want to see it if we could? Would doing so cause us to sigh with relief or break our heart?

Recently, I had lunch with a friend who is a professor of physics . He has spent his career studying time travel.  His belief in parallel universes,  to explain what is known as the grandfather paradox, is like the road not taken. In short, if you went back in time and killed your grandfather, which prevented your parents and, by extension, you from being born, how are you now alive to go back in time? One answer is that granddad is alive in a parallel universe. Likewise, according to this theory, there is another you living in a parallel universe, living out the choices you did not make.

Kind of mind blowing, when one considers the possibility.

Moving ahead to 2017, I want to make decisions and choices that lead me down a road that feels right in my body, heart, and soul. I haven’t been doing that much over the past 10 years, and the wrongness of it all is catching up with me in ways I can no longer ignore. My body feels achy and tired. My spirit is flat. My energy low. My mind won’t shut off. I can’t get a good night’s sleep. I feel afraid a lot, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why.

Change through choice is the only recourse, and I’ve identified ways I can begin this process. They include reigniting a daily yoga and meditation practice, dancing a lot, and taking regular walks through nature. Tapping into the source via the body and spiritual/natural  world greatly helps to clarify what changes and choices need to be made. Finding the courage to stand up for one’s life helps, too.

Yet, it also seems that sometimes whatever choices we make, there are forces at work leading us, and even dragging us kicking and screaming, in another direction. How much of our life is defined by our choices and how much by these forces? In the end, do our choices even matter or do God’s, or fate’s, plans for us prevail? If so, is surrendering to them our only option for peace?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and also what your plans are as you enter 2017. Happy New Year, my darling fellow bloggers! May peace and courage be yours.

P.S. If you want to learn more about time travel and parallel universes, check out this 17 minute Ted Talk by my friend, Professor Ron Mallett. The story of how he became interested in studying time travel, and his work, are fascinating. Enjoy!