For love or money? Justice or mercy? Kindness or fairness? There are choices to be made, and I make them for myself every day, all sorts of choices large and small, significant and insignificant, major – and trivial. I’m not sure, though, that I am always quite clear on the difference between a choice that is trivial, and one that shapes my life. Part of the experience is simply making a choice in the first place, or choosing to coast on circumstances and the will of others. Yep. Even that is a choice.

I like to think that reason dictates the majority of my choices, but I am aware that what tends to be the case, in fact, is that emotions dictate many of my choices, and they make reason their bitch by insisting on solid rationalizations for why the choice “made sense”. Self-knowledge, and authenticity have rather firmly demanded that I understand the role of emotions in my decision-making with greater clarity, so I play a fun game with myself based on the underlying assumption that emotion is indeed the foundation on which my decision-making it built – then I go looking for the feeling at the heart of some particular choice. (Ideally before I make that decision in some firm way and back it up with actions. lol) In practical terms, I rarely make “important” decisions without a moment to reflect on it, often giving myself at least a day or two to think things over for major potentially life-altering choices.

Would you make all your decisions the same way if you knew with certainty going into it that you were not going to do so based on reason at all, but were quite likely to ‘react’ to circumstances and make your choices based solely on your emotions? Would you be able to make more skillful, wiser decisions that serve your needs more efficiently over time, and with greater life satisfaction, if you simply acknowledge the role emotion plays in your choices in the first place? Would you be more inclined to delay important decisions for moments that were in a specific emotional context to secure a specific (better or wiser) outcome?

“Mastering” my emotions has proven to be so much less about squashing them down, repressing them, controlling them, keeping them within some acceptable boundary defined by someone else, or denying them altogether than it is about embracing them, honoring them, making use of them to enhance my experience, and being more mindful of my needs over time, reflecting on what emotions say about my values and understanding of the world. Emotions are powerful, and they whisper things to me about what I value, and what I need; it’s worth finding the time to listen. It also appears to be a true thing that by giving myself some time to explore (and feel) my emotions, I reduce the likelihood that they will “explode all over the place” creating some sort of drama or messy bullshit emotional vortex that sucks the fun out of life and drags everyone around me into it.

Pro-tip: cultivate practices that limit or reduce your desire (or habit) of “venting” your emotions. Consistent with “we become what we practice” venting, as a practice, tends to make one very good at … venting. It sometimes feels like a relief (thus having the name “venting” as if to release pressure), but the longer term consequences are less than ideal. Practice venting your anger or frustration? You get good at venting anger or frustration – not dealing with it, not skillfully coping with your feelings, not understanding yourself or your experience, and for sure not communicating your emotions skillfully as an adult. Just saying. There are other potentially much more useful (and harmonious) ways of communicating emotions than “venting”. We are not pressure cookers, and likely ought not aspire to be such. lol

I am sipping my coffee on a quiet Tuesday. Payday tasks are handled, and the budget is updated. My Traveling Partner sends me an acknowledging reply. It feels good that all this feels so absolutely ordinary and routine. That reflects enormous progress from the profound anxiety I once felt any time I had to “deal with money”.

The future unfolds ahead of me, and I’m untroubled by my lack of view into events that are not yet. It’s a bit like walking a path through a dense forest that curves regularly; I’ll see what lies ahead a bit at a time, for a very short distance, and the view will change, and change again. That’s fine. There’s plenty to see and do and experience along the way, and it’s worthwhile to engage this moment and be present in it. Another choice that is mine to make. 🙂

…I think I’ll begin again. Perhaps with a second coffee?