A few months ago we were faced with an important decision: whether or not we would be staying in South Africa where we have built our lives over the course of the past 10 years, or whether we would leave the country.
A decision of this magnitude that pertains to uprooting your life and raises questions about your continued livelihood, tends to activate all sorts of fears and survival programming. As parents we make decisions on behalf of others all the time. Sometimes these are small decisions, sometimes they will forever change the course of not only our own lives, but that of others as well. When I found myself faced with this decision, one that did not only involve me, my children, my animals, but also the lives of others in the community we’ve been living in – I felt overcome by insecurity, doubt and worry. What took me by surprise the most was not the extent of the decision, or the plethora of factors and dimensions we needed to consider, the multitude of options we needed to explore and compute… it was ME: seeing that I didn’t have anything to stand on. It wasn’t so much the decision making itself that I feared, it was not knowing how to even approach such a decision and trust myself within it.
When my mind and me within it are in chaos, I turn to writing. Writing requires me to pace myself to the physical, I can only write one letter, one word at a time, and move breath by breath, point by point. From feeling like I am tumbling all over the place, jumping from looking at one point then switching to the next thought, the next imaginary projection, the next fear, the next hope, the next so and so – through writing I create a singular point of focus. I become like a spear in the storm, piercing through the noise, the flashes and the currents, to see what is in fact here, and what it is I need to do. So, that is what I did when I realized I had no foundation on which to stand and from which to approach this decision effectively. As I started writing I realized quickly that I had the ability to decide to either allow all my programs, fears, insecurities, doubts to drive this decision, or I could be the one to drive it, and I could decide HOW I would drive it.
I’ve typed over below what I wrote down in that moment months ago:
“To move or not to move and where to move to? Not just one question, tons of questions and answers to consider in every direction, but the hardest question of all that I have difficulty answering is: who am I within this? Am I just acting out of self-interest? Who am I thinking of? Who am I excluding? Who am I willing to compromise?
So, instead of allowing my mind to activate its survival programs and direct me towards the highest levels of inner and outer conflict, I will write down the parameters and principles within which to make this decision as well as participate in the discussion towards a decision:
- To identify a solution that supports us within our individual and collective creation points, including feeling safe in our enviornment so that we can focus on creation and as much as possible remove survival out of the equation.
- To ensure the outcome supports all people equally.
- To continue supporting our animals, as many as possible, for as long as possible, and identify the outcomes that are best for them.
- To consider both the short and long term pros and cons of different options to prevent ourselves from being compromised in both the short and long term.
- To flag fears, identify their origins and identify solutions to release the fears and make decisions based in fact.
- To prioritize the things we know over the things we don’t (eg: what may or might happen in this or that scenario vs. what we know is and will happen.)
- To ask questions and find answers to be able to effectively map out our options”
I didn’t memorize these points, nor did I read them every day to re-align myself to these parameters and principles. In fact I had completely forgotten that I had written this down. It was only when going through my notebook to see if there was any information in it that warranted me bringing the book with to Panama (yes, that’s what we decided to do in the end) that I found this writing and remembered having written it. And yet, looking back at all the decisions that were made in the overall decision process, I am satisfied that they all stood within the above parameters and principles.
When I wrote them out, I wasn’t just writing them, I was deciding on them absolutely, scripting them into myself – not only to consider them and have them as a reference, but to integrate and live them from here on out. So, I wrote it down and when I was done writing them, the decision stood absolute, and I trusted that it was integrated, done, and I let the writing go.
I wasn’t always able to make such absolute decisions in the moment of writing, but years of discipline in supporting myself with following-up on the decisions and commitments I would make in writing, has allowed me to come to this point of self-trust and absolute integration.
Of course, the actual decision of what to do – to move or not, and where to move to – took time. And it wasn’t a singular decision, but a process of making many decisions over a period of time – and that process was by no means easy or painless. Yet, knowing that my starting point was clear, the reason why I was making decisions in the first place and for what purpose, created a stability and confidence within me, to face what the day had to bring me, head on.