Wonder: The two choices we have in every moment

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” ~Abraham Maslow

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately. It seems that the older I get, the more often I have to make this choice. I’m about to enter my fearless 40s so there will be nothing but stepping forward for me. I’m sure this is going to make my life more challenging, and I’m also convinced that it’s going to make it more exciting and more rewarding in every way. No turning back now.


Wonder: Bitter or better

Next week I turn 40, and this is my greatest lesson in life so far: if something doesn’t go my way, I’ve got two choices – I can choose to let it make me bitter or make me better. In my life, most things haven’t gone my way. They went the way they had to go to turn me into the person I am. And no, that’s not necessarily fair. Sometimes it’s downright unfair, but those are the times I learn the most – about myself, about others, and about the world. And yes, that learning can be painful and disappointing, but I’m grateful, in hindsight, for every ounce of it.

On the cusp of 40, I’ve made a decision – from here on out, I’m only getting better. I don’t have time for bitter.


Wonder: Choose the battles that matter

Choices“If I gave in to silly then, I’d be giving into silly forever.” ~Norman Lear on an early stand he took with the network to defend the language in All in the Family on its very first episode

You’ve got to pick your battles, and they aren’t always the big ones. You’ve got to pick the battles that matter in meaning. Meaning correlates with significance. Every time I face a battle I have to step back and look at how it plays in the larger landscape.

I ask a lot of questions to determine significance. If I do or don’t fight, am I setting a precedent? What is actually at stake, even if it’s not immediately apparent on the surface? Who am I fighting, and why? If I do or don’t fight, will I have to compromise my personal principles and ethics? Will the outcome have a longterm impact, and if so, what is that impact? Do I care enough to fight? Am I protecting someone else who needs my protection? And let’s be honest – we can only fight so many battles with the limited amount of time we have. So for every battle I do fight, it means I have to give up fighting for something else.

This is not an easy negotiation to make. The decisions are sometimes painful and I often have to be prepared for a variety of outcomes. As I get older, the process goes faster and my choices are always better informed by the choices that have come before. No matter what the outcome of my choices, I do take time to reflect on how they went and I get down the learning from each of them. Experience is always the reward. We are our choices.


Wonder: It’s time to be planted

Be planted
Be planted

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” ~Christine Caine

Some of my friends are in a tough spot right now. They’re having a tough time seeing a way forward. They feel knocked down and dragged out into situations that they didn’t see coming and wouldn’t have chosen for themselves. This is a tough place to be. It’s uncomfortable. It feels hopeless. It’s disappointing.

In moments like this, I find that this quote by Christine Caine is most powerful. Take what you can learn from these awful experiences, even if they are lessons you had no interest in learning. Let them strengthen your resolve, refine your talents, and sharpen your skills of observation. Watch for actions and outcomes. Step back and clearly identify what you would do differently, and why, and how that might change things.

This is your time of incubation. This is a time of growth and evolution that can lead you to a personal revolution if you take the opportunity as it comes. Be planted so that when the light returns, you can shine.


This just in: Peace in the confusion


Sometimes we face circumstances that don’t make any sense. That happened to me yesterday and I took a few steps to get a better perspective. First, I had to physically distance myself from the situation. Sometimes when we are so close to a problem, it’s tough to see a way through it. The distance helps.

Second, I distracted myself with a fun activity that had nothing to do with the circumstances of my problem. This gave my brain a break and elevated my mood.

Finally, I made the decision to accept that I know what I know and that I don’t know what I don’t know. I know I’m going to have to remedy this problem by eventually walking away from it. Now is not the time to do that for a multitude of reasons, but that day will come and when it does I’ll be ready to make the leap. And, the universe works in mysterious ways. We don’t always immediately know why something’s happening or how it’s going to turn out in the long run. What we can do is trust that eventually it will all make sense and we’ll understand why things had to unfold the way that they did.

And in all that action, there is peace.