As I was talking to my coach last week, I was telling her about a recurring behavior I’ve noticed in myself that drove me crazy. I complained about how disappointed I was in myself for being unable to stop it. After we talked for a while, just as I was about to get off the phone, she mentioned this idea of Choice Points and how sometimes we can take a moment and choose to do something differently. She didn’t talk about it at length, but I got it. At least I now have my own interpretation of it.
It’s about how life is a collection choices we make. Each time something happens, consciously or subconsciously, we make a choice about what to do next. And whether we realize it or not, we have the option to make a different choice. Which will likely result in a different outcome. The trick is realizing at that split second, you do actually have choice and you don’t have to react immediately and you don’t have to react in the same way you always have.
This is something Tara Brach talks about during her podcasts, too. The moment of choice. The split second that otherwise goes unnoticed. The sliver of time between action and reaction. Sometimes it’s not even a tiny amount of time but it’s stopping your thoughts long enough to realize there’s a moment of choice here. I had one of those last week. I have been worried about getting Nathaniel’s baby furniture out of his room for five months. He was still sleeping in his crib and I wasn’t sure if he would be ok moving to the big boy bed. The pieces in his room were huge and hard for me and Jake to move. We couldn’t donate them for several logistical reasons and I just kept worrying about finding the right solution. I worried about how we would get the furniture out of there, how we would move the queen sized bed to David’s room, etc. etc. Last week, I was lying in bed, worrying about all this once again when the answer dawned on me.
I realized I had a completely different option available to me. I could call a company to move all the furniture out, donate it on my behalf, and move the beds around for me. It would cost a little money but it would be done perfectly and super-fast. The next morning, I called them up, set up the appointment and two days later, all of my problems were solved in 34 minutes. They came, they fixed, and they left.
All because I was able to change the way I looked at the problem. All because I slowed down and realized I had options. I could make different choices.
This made me think about one of my favorite scenes in Dead Poet’s Society where the teacher makes the kids stand at the table and look at the room from that perspective and shows them how important it is to be able to have different points of view.
To me, the ability to change my point of view came from the moment of choice. Realizing that I had the option to make a different choice.
Now that I saw one, I see them all over the place. I am paying attention and it’s showing up everywhere. That, to me, is the key to life.
Paying attention so I can see the moments of choice.