Karen was in the other day for her regular visit. She shared with me that her medical doctor had called her the other day to schedule a colonoscopy. She felt hesitant about doing it.
Ironically, years ago she had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had gone through all of the testing and treatment, including wearing a colostomy bag, radiation and chemotherapy. And at that time she says that she just followed what her medical doctor was recommending. She didn’t question it.
This time around though has been different. She has conflicting thoughts and feelings about it. And along with that, she was feeling uncertainty. She acknowledged that she was sharing all of this with me, not because she was looking to me to tell her what to do, but that she needed to verbalize all of this so she could hear herself think. And I wasn’t about to tell her what to do because at this point, I feel that it would be more helpful to help her find her own answers.
Finding your own answers involves having the energy to witness your own conflicting thoughts and emotions. If you’re in fight/flight/survival, you’re more likely to feel powerless to choose. So I knew that Karen was in a place of growth solely because she was having this inner dialogue.
I realize that the choices that we are facing can seem insurmountable at times. For example, if Karen was to refuse the medical doctor’s request, what kind of backlash would that cause? How would her friends and family react if they knew? Making the unpopular choice takes courage. And when faced with that decision, it can sometimes cause us to shrink away. Conversely, what do you do when you have a strong feeling that you shouldn’t go through with something and yet everyone is expecting you to go through with it? And if you don’t go through with it, you’ll be judged as wrong, weak, stupid or just shunned? Or what if you decide not to go through with it and it turns out that the cancer has returned?
So my approach with her that day during the session was to let her be in the driver’s seat so she could feel what it’s like to be in charge of herself.
In my mind, Karen acknowledging this inner conflict was more important than what she actually ended up choosing. Too often we focus on “getting the right answer” rather than letting the answer come to us. How we choose is just as important if not more than what we end up choosing.
We can choose in fear or we can choose in courage. We can choose from a disconnected state or we can choose from a connected state. Referring back to a recent article I wrote about brain balance, we can choose from just one side of the brain or we can choose from an integrated state.
Before you jump to “finding the right answer” ask yourself, am I choosing out of fear or courage? Am I even aware of how I’m choosing in the moment? Karen did finally end up choosing and finding resolution. It all worked out in the end in a way that seemed to tell her she chose the best path for herself.
From where I stand, that seems to be the consistent case: when we’re able to choose from a place of courage and connection, we’re able to sail through the stormy waters of thoughts and feelings to a place where things just work out. We’re left with a feeling of accomplishment and wisdom.