Cage birds accept each other but flight is what they long for.
–Tennessee Williams, Camino Real, 1953
The power to choose how to act and react to the world around us creates our reality, because we have the freedom to control our own lives. It is the choice to turn left or right, to be happy or sad, and it is always with us even at those times when we do not feel free. Its power is enormous. It can be our greatest ally or it can become our greatest enemy. By making the right choices, we can open the doors to lead a balanced life.
Many of us like to think that we are the spokesperson for the universe, that we know all the answers to all the questions of the universe. In our more humble moments, we generally understand that each of us only can be our own spokesperson. However, when we accept the gift of freedom of choice, we must take responsibility and become accountable for everything in our lives.
We must truly and deeply understand that only we are responsible for the decisions we make and the results that manifest themselves in our lives. To be the caged bird or to fly like an eagle; freedom of choice lets us be the masters of our destiny or victims of our fate.
Choice is our only true power. The external world may throw at us the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune but we can choose what to do with those slings and arrows. No one and nothing can take away this power unless we allow it. We can be imprisoned, we may starve, we can be beaten and brutalized, but our spirit can only be touched if we allow it to be touched. Consider the following example:
Steve was a pleasant person. Life had been good to him. He had a good marriage. His children had survived their teenage years and Steve and his wife had also survived those years. Their daughter had just made them grandparents and their son was going to graduate college. Then one day Steve woke up and did not feel right. After a week or so he felt worse. The visits to the doctor began and became more frequent. The medical tests became more intensive, more debilitating and more expensive. Their lives moved from their hometown and local hospital to the big city and then to a different state. Finally, after weeks of poking and probing and conflicting opinions, Steve and his family received the correct diagnosis: Steve had a very rare cancer, a cancer that was 99.99% fatal. The clock was ticking, a tick of months not years.
Steve and the entire family went into a very deep funk. Then Steve and I started to work together using the principles of Power Living. Steve decided that he wanted to die living rather than to live dying. He mended his fences and said “I love you” a lot. He started to read stories about people who had beaten fatal cancers and other diseases. Steve understood that it was important for him to be seen as healthy, which meant he had to “Be” healthy.
Steve saw himself as living and healthy, not dying and incurably ill. The doctors did not understand why Steve was not dying, nor could they explain why he actually seemed to be getting better. One month after he was supposed to have “died,” Steve’s doctors received permission to try a just-approved experimental medication. Now Steve really began to heal rapidly. Months have passed, and Steve continues to be committed to his choice of life and health.
An At-Home Exercise in the Power of Choice
What choices have you made? Are you the caged bird or the soaring eagle? Are you willing to choose to be fully, totally, and completely responsible for the life you want to lead? What are you willing to do or not do in order to pursue and find your happiness? Write the answers to these questions now. Push yourself to go beyond the surface of the question. Probe deeper and deeper into your heart and mind to find your true happiness. If you give a simplistic answer, you are only fooling yourself. Choose to honor yourself by taking the time and energy to give yourself meaningful, honest answers, answers that will lead you to your happiness.
I___________________ this_____ day of__________ make these choices in order to live my life, my liberty and have my happiness:
Congratulations – You have just taken another step on the road to “Power Living!”
About the Author
Art and Anna Kleimer are certified professional coaches with an international practice, and authors of Power Living, Living Your Life, Liberty and Happiness. Visit their website at http://www.coachingtoyes.com