Got this from my friend and mentor Peter Koestenbaum the other day, and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend over dinner who is facing a particularly difficult life choice that affects his family.
“Where are you in this part of your journey of life, the part that discovers the enormity of your freedom, its blessings and its agonies?
Deep choices are not made logically, in a calculating way, but by the unconscious, the intuitive faculty. Nor can they be rushed to “closure.” If you are not ready to make a decision, then you just won’t make a decision, no matter how hard you try to make it. And if you do actually find the power to make one against your instincts, you will have made a serious error, similar to having a psychotic break. You have engaged in an “unnatural” act. Deep choices require dialogue. For as we think and talk and journal about choosing, the reality that surrounds us and in the context of which we must choose also changes.
Deep choices require the willingness to risk, which means to tolerate that anxiety and commit to the tenacity of improvising, of having the faith that we can make the decision succeed. We never have all the facts. And anyway the facts change, right as we choose. Making a decision is more a matter of displaying faith in ourselves.
…The soul first chooses and then it chooses to continue to choose in the same manner. Here is where a strong philosophy of freedom is of the essence.”
So, if you are facing a ‘deep choice’ where are you finding space and a trusted advisor/friend to engage in dialogue? Because, as the etymology of the word, dialogue indicates: it is ‘dia’-through and ‘logos’-meaning the exploration creates new opportunities and possibilities.
If your choice affects others, can you begin to engage in dialogue with them? This way you can create new solutions together. Dialogue is different from compromise. Compromise means each of you have to surrender something important. In dialogue, when we can both let go of our attachments, a completely new and creative solution can emerge. Also, because the choice we make is only the beginning, if we have shared in the co-creation of the idea, we can show the resilience and tenacity to keep choosing, even when the choice we made creates difficulty or problems.