Dilemmas and choices - the mindful way

Sometimes life faces us with lots of small choices which are relatively easy to cope with. Some days though you are faced with big dilemmas, big choices, long term outcome effects on your life.

Yesterday I had a couple of those.

We are hoping to move house. It is not a happy move, more from necessity due to failing bodies. BUT we accept it must happen and got on with it all.

IN England it is a massive pallaver, I think one of the most stressful house — buying systems in the world. We are very lucky to be in a position to do this however and grateful for the lives we have lived thus far and those we will go on to live.

Yesterday we had a phonecall from our solicitor about a proposed development near to the house we have found that will suit us into old age. It is not a small development, it is a small estate of houses, apartment blocks, retirement homes and a doctors surgery. We went back to take a rethink about this property in light of what we’d discovered.

David took a long time to read through all the planning consents carefully and noted several objections. We decided if it had already been built we would not be worrying about it so the only bit left is ‘do we want to buy a house that will be right opposite a large scale building development with and the noise and dust this entails’, in the near future.

But it still leaves you with this gut feeling of uncertainty. And that is what we don’t like as humans. This sense that our decision might have repercussions that we had not anticipated; we might regret this later on if we do / don’t go ahead as planned.

This is a moment where mindfulness comes in very handy. When faced with uncertainty our body goes into a degree of alarm, anxiety or self-defensive arousal. It needs soothing down. Use the breath to do this, use a mantra alongside it if necessary. Focus on this moment and the knowledge that even if this had not come up now then it might have done so later when we had gone ahead and thus we would be in no different a situation. Or some version of this that pertains to your own situation.

Once you can calm your emotional body, you can start to look at the issues more clearly and clarify your mind alongside. Keep breathing, don’t allow thoughts of alarm or anxiety to develop or build. Instead turn to trust. That whichever choice you make, that one will work out just fine. Do not allow your mind to go into regrets about any decisions you make. Don’t look back, just take a plunge and go for it, whichever choice you want to make, whichever choice you decide upon. And know that in all probability the outcome would have been similar anyway; the grass is rarely actually greener, that there will be good and bad points to any dilemma and you have to roll with the flow of life and use your practise to get you through it all.

That is the beauty of mindfulness, it is there when you most need it.