Making Choices

In life, we are met with many paths to choose from. Each path provides a unique journey as no two paths are ever the same, even if they eventually lead to the same destination. The path you choose and how you follow it, influences your experience along the way and thus shapes everything about your being. In this way, there is no right or wrong path, each choice simply manifests a different path by creating the next menu of choices available to us. So even though we may know exactly where we are going, the way we choose to arrive, creates different outcomes. With this awareness, we understand how the smallest choice matters.

We are making decisions all the time. Which pair of shoes to wear, what time to leave, when to return an email or phone call, to go to a party or stay home, make our own dinner or get take out, etc. While each may be small by themselves, they still impact the greater tapestry of choices that follow. Choosing to leave just five minutes later than originally planned, can shift everything about your travel route. The available experiences on the first path dissolved the moment you chose to leave at a later time, creating new possibilities to experience in the later departure.

Woven into making the choice itself, such as what time to leave, is also how we leave. Are you leaving rushed and hurried or at ease with a relaxed pace? Driving in the slow lane or fast? Are you eating and drinking while driving? Listening to music? Are the windows rolled up or down? Every single choice influences the next option available to us.

Just recently I had quite a profound moment reminding me of this. My daughter Sierra and I were making our way down Carmel Beach to see the sand castle contest. We had parked a few blocks away, I was hurried, my eyes laser focused on the large number of people gathering where the event was being held. I was anxious to see everyone’s magnificent creations. I just wanted to “get there”! Sierra however kept pausing along the way, noticing every little thing around her.
“Look mom, a feather!”
“Aw, isn’t that dog so cute?”
“Mom, I just found a sea shell!”
And so on. In a moment of frustration that she kept stopping, I suddenly realized that my eagerness to see all the sand castles had overshadowed the journey of getting there. I knew where we were going so the walk to get there had become less important. I was missing the little things along the way, but Sierra was noticing them all. I started laughing at myself and in that instant, I made the choice to surrender and follow her lead. Yes, it took a little longer to get there, but I saw things that I wouldn’t have if I had instead hurried along.

Of course Sierra was excited about seeing the sand castles, the difference between her and I? We were both going the same destination, but making different choices on how we got there. She was present. What mattered most to her, was what was right in front of her. She chose to stop and visit with all that was presented to her, not wasting a single one, and that choice brought her (and me) what I would have missed. And in choosing to follow her lead, brought me to ponder more about the choices we make in every moment and how significant they truly are, whether we realize it or not.

This is our living practice, the “yoga off the mat”. Allowing the awareness we cultivate in moving through asana and sitting with our breath, to ripple out into our daily life. This awareness illuminates everything, including the smallest of things. The more you bring consciousness to your choices, the more you are directly participating with life itself. You become a co-creator with the universe in the greater tapestry of your experience and existence in this world.

With love and light,
Laura McKinnon

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