Forks in the Road

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Trail-PosterDoing a review of our lives, there were forks in the road that determined where we are now. We chose a school or we chose a partner or we chose a city or we chose a job. We decided, one step at a time, the life we wanted. We are here, where we are, because of some of those choices.

When we put it that way, it may actually seem harsh, especially when we are stressed, confused, frustrated, angry, sad or disappointed. Of course there are circumstances, beyond our control; however, for the most part, we made choices along the way.

What if you could go back to a fork – pick one…. One day, in your past, there was a crossroad. “Do I do this or do I do that?` `Do I go here or do I go there?` `Do I say yes or do I say no?` We decided, or we allowed someone to decide for us, but generally, we still decided or agreed.

This is when the reality of accountability comes in. We can no longer blame others for where we ended up. We can also not give away the credit when we end up somewhere great. We were the main character in our life so far and we have played the lead role.

Are we on track or we are off track? Most people spend more time picking out a movie to watch, than consciously sitting down and reflecting on our life path. Perhaps it is time that we did.

Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed and find myself spewing toxic energy about the stress around me, I have to stop and remind myself that I made choices that lead me to be in the centre of the stress. Somehow, this gives me some of my power back.

When we give our power away, by blaming circumstances, people and situations that are out of our control, we have very little energy to accept responsibility for our part in the matter.

Unhappy in our marriage – we married the person… Unhappy in our job – we took the job…. Unhappy with our body – we ate the food or didn’t do the exercise, which determined the shape of our body…

I think I first heard the phrase, ‘We can’t change, what we don’t acknowledge’, from Dr. Phil. This phrase can lead to a powerful paradigm shift, when we acknowledge the facts.

If the facts are daunting and depressing, it is an indication that it might be time to make new decisions or shift the way we are thinking about our current circumstances. What are we going to do about it?

Are we focusing on what is wrong about the situation, and ignoring all of the good about it? Are we contributing to the situation by being more difficult than it needs to be? Are we set in our old patterns of thinking that are preventing us from moving forward? Are we repeating past mistakes because we have a knee jerk reaction when faced with challenging conversations?

We cannot change anyone else on this planet. We can only change how we deal with others on this planet. If what we have been doing is not working, to improve the quality of our lives or the day to day drama that we face, maybe it is time to focus on what we will do differently. What action will we take?

The greatest form of personal growth and maturity is accepting our own faults and working to improve them. That way, we are not always expecting someone else to do all the changing.

Are there things we can work on, to make us feel healthier inside? We just might be approaching a fork in the road. We might want to be ready, with some new inner strength.

If things aren`t quite falling into place, our life may be worth some quiet reflection. Either that, or we can continue to be miserable. That is a choice too. Since misery apparently loves company, we will attract plenty of people to join the party.

Do we want to repeat the same old story, or create a new reality? It starts by looking inside.

Over the years, I have found some great journaling questions, which have helped me to make better choices, when standing at stressful forks in the road: What is my part in this? Is there something I need to do differently, when confronted with a similar situation in the future?

What triggered this fork in the road? What is the good that is coming out of this? Am I thinking of taking one of the forks out of fear or avoidance? How can I honour my own personal peace, while contributing to a positive outcome? Am I taking all circumstances into consideration?

When you read the answers to some of these questions, your path or choice may reveal itself. If nothing else, it might help you to get to know yourself better… That, in and of itself, is a worthwhile endeavour.

‘The key to ultimate happiness and fulfillment lies within our own transformation.`Kristi Bowman