There was a time in my life when I felt trapped, stuck, and without hope of knowing much else. In all honesty, there really was not much that could be done in the form of help from anyone else….not even through the miracles of prayer….not much that could be done until I DID MY PART, which was making hard choices. I had to do the things that I were deep in my heart, but I had to be the one who made the choice and did those things. No one could have ever done that for me. Practicing this over and over again (many times only because that was the only way left) has given me a skill that I hope to never ever take for granted again……the skill of REMEMBERING THAT I HAVE A CHOICE. I have a choice and you have a choice. We all ALWAYS have a choice, or two or three. You can argue, like I have at times in my life, that you don’t have any choices left because of things that have happened in your life….sometimes because of other choices that you’ve made (I have sure been there) and sometimes because of choices that other people made that affected you and your ability to choose certain things in your life. Sometimes tragedies, disasters and unexpected things happen that were no one’s choice, but that leave us with less or different choices. ALL OF THESE THINGS HAPPEN. And it is hard…..believe me, I know. BUT, we are NEVER NEVER NEVER left without ANY choices. We ALWAYS get to choose what is going on between our ears….what we will try to fill our minds with. We get to choose what comes out of our mouth and what is given from our hands. We get to choose what we believe and what we will stand up for. This does not mean that we do not live with the consequences of our choices…….but it DOES mean that we are not trapped, we are not stuck, we are not left without hope. IT IS HARD to get back up when we fall. It is hard to break free from things that are trapping us. It is hard to decide to get unstuck and then to do the work to get there…..but WE CAN DO IT. We just have to CHOOSE to do it. One little thing at a time.

photo of me by my friend, Jeanne Oliver, www.abushelandapeck.typepad.com

If you are in a place where you feel like your choices are diminished, please just decide that you will make ONE CHOICE today……a good choice that will bring some peace into your life. YOU get to choose what that choice is, but may I suggest that you seek out things that are beautiful and true and REALLY SEE THEM…or REALLY HEAR THEM? No matter what is going on in your life in this moment, no matter how bleak or overwhelming or even devastating, you can choose right now to put something beautiful into your mind and to start to heal your heart. It is a hard choice sometimes, I know. BUT ONLY YOU CAN DO IT. This is the part that is so important for us to remember…NO ONE CAN MAKE OUR CHOICES FOR US (or they are not our choices, are they?) We MUST take this beautiful gift of our free will and make it into our beautiful story. WE MUST. We must take hold of what is entering into our minds and hearts and choose to only let it be goodness and truth. We must take the steps forward that we know we  need to take, no matter how hard they may seem. We must stand up for what we know to be true. We must stand up for others in their weakness. We must CHOOSE the life we want to live…….or a life we never wanted will simply happen to us. We must be the captain of our own ship, and we must be the director of our own orchestra and we must be the gardener of our own garden. God gave us this beautiful gift of choice for our own happiness. WE GET TO CHOOSE. WE DO.

Let’s choose the best stuff we can find. Not just the good stuff….the best stuff. The beautiful, true and joyful stuff. The meaningful stuff. Sometimes the difficult stuff. JUST CHOOSE, okay?

And then tomorrow, choose again.

Then it will become a habit, and before you know it, things are not happening to you….YOU ARE HAPPENING.

Our ability to choose is one of the greatest miracles of all…….the greatest miracle we could imagine…freedom is beautiful.