Over the last few weeks I have made two decisions that have surprised me.
What they were isn’t that important – they weren’t what you’d call life changing (although both will have important ramifications.) What is of interest, however, is that they caught me unawares. They weren’t what I was expecting, and if you’d asked me what I thought a month or so ago, I would have told you the complete opposite to what I’d say today.
I always thought I was good . . .
at making decisions. I do it quickly and confidently and rarely do I have to go back and reconsider. And then that decision sets my course for the future. Because I have made it so confidently, I have often thought that going back to reevaluate was a kind of weakness on my part. If the decision was sound enough to start with, then changing my mind has always suggested to me that I’m giving up when the going gets tough. And that’s not what I do.
But when i hit fifty . . .
making decisions started to be a little more troublesome. God bless the menopause eh? It has so much to answer for! It has left some of the most incredibly dynamic women I know standing in front of an open fridge dithering about what to make for lunch as if world peace depended on the outcome. Things that we just took in our stride suddenly became an uphill struggle. Where previously I would have weighed the pros and cons of something in my head and simply jumped one way or the other, I suddenly wasn’t sure that I’d even got the pros and cons in the right columns.
For a while, I stopped making decisions altogether, not trusting myself to get them right. I even had to get my husband to click ‘BOOK’ for me because I didn’t feel competent to take that final, committing step.
I’m beyond that stage now . . .
thank goodness, so questioning my choices these days is coming from somewhere different. You’ve heard, I’m sure, about categorising decisions as coming from either the head or the heart – that idea often encourages you to use your intellect over your intuition to decide which way to go next. I’ve done that too. I’ve worked things out logically, predicted what I want to achieve, and often it’s the head that thinks it can get you there. It tells you to ignore the frivolous heart because chasing rainbows will lead you off down a side street.
But is that right?
now i approach decisions differently.
About five years ago, with four busy kids at home and me chasing my tail in a way that was totally unsustainable I stumbled across Vedic Meditation. I know that some people might say that the universe put it in my path. I struggle a bit with that kind of analysis, but however I found it, having a daily meditation practise turned out to be exactly what I needed at that point in my life and continues to be important to me now.
At some point, my wonderful meditation teacher explained the idea of ‘charm’ to me. I’m not very knowledgeable so please excuse my garbled attempt to explain it to you, but as I understand it instead of trying to think out your plan covering all possible eventualities (something that I had spent my entire life doing) you let the decision come to you. You are led down the path which calls to you, that is clearer, that is charming.
You know when you think you know what you ‘ought’ to do, but your gut tells you it’s wrong? It’s a bit like that. I’m not talking moral decisions here, but choosing which way to move forward. If one route charms you more than the others, then that’s probably the one you should head down, even if your head is screaming its logical objections.
Logically, the decisions i’ve made recently . . .
might not make much sense. Deciding to do the complete opposite would have had an obvious reasoning to it and no one would have questioned my motives if that was the way I had continued to go.
But it just wasn’t charming.
And so, the upshot is that I have rejected what I might have done for clear, practical reasons in favour of things that just feel right to me. Sounds a bit woo woo I know. But actually, I have enough confidence in myself and enough trust in the process to go with the charm rather than the logic and not question it.
And taken in that context, my ‘surprising’ decisions don’t seem that strange any more.
If you’re interested in mediation at all this is where I am learning. And I’m trying to remember that there’s always a different way of approaching things, even if if feels like you’re going against everything you thought you knew about life.