A Matter of Choice

By Steve Clayton

squirrel-in-snowWinter has not officially arrived here in the Maritimes but the cold weather has. The ground is covered with snow while the temperatures range from a daytime high of +2 and a night time low of – 9. Love it or hate it winter is well on its way.

Watching people’s reactions to the change in the weather is very interesting. There are those who smile good naturedly and remark how spoiled we were with a lovely fall. There are those who are excited because they enjoy winter sports and activities. And, of course, there are those who are already complaining about winter weather. A fellow remarked, with a shudder, at work last Friday how long winter would be this year since it had started so early. I reminded him we had only had one week of winter-like weather until this point to which he replied “it seems longer.” ‘It seems longer’, the key word here being seems.

Seems is not a fact, not in the above example nor any where it is used. Seems usually denotes a feeling, either good or bad, which is in the mind of the speaker but which can be denied or affirmed by anyone who hears it. Seems is an ego judgment that often dissuades us or discourages us from enjoying the moment. Seems gives us an excuse not to commit to something or to at least hedge our bets.

I took our dog for a five kilometre hike in the woods earlier today. It was only +2 but the sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue, and the air crisp and invigorating. Where the trail ran alongside a small river the water glistened and gurgled merrily making it almost impossible not to feel merry too. When away from the water and in the woods, the snow laced trees looked majestic in their formal attire and brought a stately calm to their surroundings. Squirrels chattered, woodpeckers hammered, and birds chirped as they took full advantage of the day, a day that did not seem to them to be good or bad, but just was. Peace, beauty and serenity surrounded all of us on every side. Other hikers, when encountered, remarked on what a beautiful or grand day this was, proceeding on their way with a smile on their faces.

I am truly thankful I had an opportunity to enjoy the day with my dog. I could have stayed home and thought, ‘It seems too cold out’ or ‘it seems to me the trails might be tricky being snow covered’. Had I succumbed to those thoughts I would have missed a great day to be in the midst of Mother Nature. Instead I made a choice to enjoy the day and that is what I did. As I walked in the woods I realized everything we encounter in life boils down to a matter of choice; to the mindset we adopt when we are faced with life in all its facets. Do we choose to react positively or negatively? How we choose makes all the difference in the world.

One way to choose is to filter your options through your heart. Your heart will never waffle; it will never seem to be indecisive as your mind can be. You (your ego) may not always like the choices your heart makes but you can be certain it is acting in your best interest. You can make the choice to live in your heart and filter everything your senses encounter through your heart before they hit your mind.

Recently a friend of mine said ‘the eyes may see the Light but the mind only sees what seems to be.’ By living in our hearts we can take the pressure off our minds (and egos) thereby allowing us the gift of living in the moment rather than to miss out on it. It is a matter of choice.

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