I find that I have entered a period in my life when a lot of choices and opportunities are being presented to me. The challenge has been to not leap forward at each new thing but to stand back and choose with discernment, weighing carefully whether the choice seems to reflect who I am becoming or who I have been.
Some opportunities have appeared at face value to be quite golden, and I have had to wrestle with these contenders to determine whether they come with more trials than blessings. I am thinking that taking a leap of faith really means choosing from the soul and not from the ego. Soul choices bring us to the unknown light—ego choices keep us in the familiar shadows. Any choice will bring with it challenges and demands. Any choice will bring learning. But the question for me is: Am I wrestling with an angel I don’t know or a demon I do?
Wherever and whoever we are in life, we are the sum and total of the choices we have made along the way. Growth and empowerment require us to make different choices and break away from old patterns and outmoded ways. Of course this is the ongoing challenge of free will. Though it sometimes appears so, free will is not intended to be a “free for all.” We do our best in life when our choices are informed by spirit and deeper knowing.
Opportunities to choose differently and more wisely are always coming to us. I’m not sure I believe in the notion that we are being tested. I think it’s more the case that once we have worked to clear an old pattern, we are given an opportunity to seal the work and create something new by choosing in a different way.
Recently, I was on a journey for a client of mine, and I was given an image I rather liked. It was the image of two young girls scavenging a beach after a storm. The storm had blessed the beach with many treasures that the girls collected and brought to their shelter to save for a rainy day. This image spoke to me of the storms of life and the blessings they leave behind once calm is restored. What are we to do with the blessings given to us from source? Should we leave them to be washed away by the next storm or the next? Or do we take them up and use them to make the life we are living better?
When I think about those beached treasures left by the storm, I’m reminded of Mary Oliver’s poem “Hermit Crab,” which examines the life of a creature that finds its shelter on the beach and carries its away on its back. The poem ends this way: “…what a pearly rubble from which to choose a house—like a white flower—and what a rebellion to leap into it and hold on, connecting everything, the past to the future—which is of course the miracle—which is the only argument there is against the sea.”
We are not really meant to suffer through life, but we are meant to strive, to become more than we have been, to leap fearlessly into the light though we do not know what challenges it may hold for us.