Conscious Choice Making

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Conscious Choice Making

ChoiceWhether I realize it or not I’m making choices during each waking moment of every day. Mostly I’m not even conscious that I’m making a choice. Mostly I choose what is my habit to choose. It’s a habit to hold tension in my shoulders in downward facing dog. It’s a habit to look in the mirror and see flaws. It’s a habit to feel not good enough. These habits are so natural and spontaneous that they don’t feel like choices at all.

It’s pretty startling when I stop and take notice of my body tension and my thoughts. It makes me realize I am choosing to give energy to thoughts and tension that weaken me, that move me away from love and a sense of ease and worthiness and belonging.

There are, of course, challenging and upsetting events in life that cause me to feel and think negative thoughts and tense my body. I don’t expect to eliminate that. In fact those thoughts and feelings are important messengers for a call to action. What I’m trying to become more aware of is the habitual negative thoughts – those negative thoughts that aren’t necessarily caused by difficult external events. It’s these thoughts, these habits, that are causing an unnecessary leak of energy. And the point is that it’s all happening at an unconscious level. It’s like choosing to put food in my mouth but being completely unaware of what I’m feeding myself. Suddenly I notice the bag of chips is empty, and I don’t feel great.

The first step to more conscious choice making is simply becoming aware of what I’m thinking and how often I’m repeating that thought. Do I have to keep repeating it? With more awareness comes the realization of the possibility of choice. Why not choose a thought in this moment that moves me in the direction of more love? Why not let go of tension I’m holding in my body in this moment? Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing flaws, why not choose right now to see the miracle of creation, the beauty and interesting complexity of a human face, kindness and love in the eyes?

ChoiceWhile it feels unnatural at first to redirect my thoughts to a loving course, it’s a choice that builds momentum. The more loving my thoughts toward myself and others, the more lovingly the world reacts to me, leading me to feel more love toward myself and others. With more awareness of each thought – moment to moment – I have the opportunity to choose more love and peace and ease in my mind and body. Walking the path with more peace and joy is a choice I want to cultivate.

Questions To Ponder:

What thoughts do you keep thinking over and over that weaken you and leak energy? Have these negative thoughts become a habit?

Do you realize the power you have to make different choices about the thoughts you feed?

Are there places in your body where you habitually hold tension? What happens when you bring awareness to this tension? Are you able to release some tension, just by noticing it?

 

By | 2017-11-27T01:41:32+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Sue Hardman-Conklin, Walking the Path|2 Comments
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  1. Nadine April 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you Sue, this came just at the right time for me! I’ve been stuck once again in one of my old and very familiar thought patterns for the last days and your post just reminded me that I actually have some control over how I feel and that I can choose if I want to keep following these same thoughts or not…. Technically I already know that all my thoughts and habits are just conditioned and not who I really am, but still I often feel trapped in them and I don’t have the feeling that I actually have a choice! But of course we do, it might not always be easy and it requires a lot of awareness and mindfulness, but it’s possible to change and eventually re-pattern our thoughts and habits – and your post reminded me of that and I realized that it’s never too late to start, again and again and again! Thank you Sue!

    • Sue Hardman-Conklin April 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Nadine – I’m with you – needing reminders all the time as I suddenly realize I’ve been stuck in the same unhelpful thought loop for awhile. I love your reminder, “that it’s never too late to start, again and again and again.” Congratulations on realizing that you’ve recently been repeating a thought pattern that doesn’t serve you. The first step is awareness – and like you said – with that level of mindfulness you can choose to think thoughts that nurture you and invite your best self forward. Or you can choose thoughts that move you away from judgment and more towards an affirmation of your values. You’re right that breaking habits takes energy, but it’s worth it when the results lead you to a better habit – a habit of a more peaceful and loving inner life.

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