I’m finding myself fascinated with the idea of choice. Part of my mantra for the work I do is:
Develop your awareness
Expand your options
Expanding our options is about choice but so is developing our awareness. I only develop my awareness if I choose to open my mind and my heart to the possibility that there are other ways to look at the world and be in the world. My world is as limited as I am afraid and it is as open and full of possibilities as I allow. Hmm. One thing to say it and another to live it.
I have just sent myself back to school. That was a big choice and I knew it was. It’s a choice I make and remake each day when I get out of bed and decide what to do with the opportunity I have given myself. Will I learn something new today or will I reinforce what I already know? Can I do both? Do I choose to do both?
I do. I am.
Is it scary? You bet it is! It takes me out of my comfort zone. I don’t feel as competent. One thing I know about myself is that I like to feel competent, especially when I’m changing things. Learning something new is at once exhilarating and frightening. I’m trying to expand into the new and hold on tight to the old at the same time. I can fully appreciate that if I won’t allow myself to let go of the old, I can’t possibly pick up the new. And, let me not forget that much of the old is still useful and there to be built upon.
There is this emotional component to learning which is also there when we make choices.
It is so interesting to me that choosing not to choose is still a choice. Choosing not to learn something new, or not to practice what I have learned, is choosing to negate my investment in myself. I know it has been said many times but change used to be something that we had to find ways to get used to. It has now become so common as to be the norm. However, every norm will eventually be changed. Even constant change can become ‘normal’. Change is then whatever we choose to do that disturbs the waters of what went before it.
My choice to intensify my learning by taking this course has given me the opportunity to revisit how I learn in addition to what I learn. The last time I upgraded my credentials, I chose to learn by fully immersing myself in the experience of it and paying less attention to note-taking than I had at university. My fear: What if I didn’t remember what I needed to? What I discovered was that I retained more by experiencing, instead of just writing about what I saw.
That was 20 years ago. In the meantime, I have been self-taught. I read. I listened. I read some more. I experimented. It was fine for my purposes, as far as it went. Now I am choosing again. This time I have a belief that my cells will remember and I’m experimenting with this idea. My question this time, not so much my fear!: If I enter fully into the experience and use everything I know and feel to try things out, making some errors along the way, will I remember more on a holistic, experiential, cellular level? Will it be like riding a bicycle; you don’t forget how to do it once you have done it?
That begs a bicycle example! After not riding a bicycle for many years, I was at a conference where the hotel provided a rack of bicycles for the guests to borrow. I had some free time one morning and took one for a spin. I knew that I would still be able to ride but what I learned that morning was that I could suddenly ride hands-free. I had not previously been able to do this and I was so inordinately proud of myself that I came back to the conference with a silly grin all over my face! What had happened in the meantime? I certainly had not practiced!
Stretching is good for us
Something happens when we choose to try something that is a stretch, a risk, a different way. Something inside us may have been waiting for the chance to manifest in our lives, in our work. So, as my current course is developing my awareness, I am looking forward to expanding my options and empowering yet more of my ‘self’. Look Mom, no hands!