Many times in our lives we reach a turning point, a fork in the road. The place where choices are made to stand still, make a U turn or explore the unmarked trail.

How do you know what decision is best?

It can be a very frightening place to be. Some decisions may be simpler, like choosing vanilla or crossroadchocolate which have a lower propensity for impact. But other times, the choices may have the potential to turn everything down side up.

We can be lulled into a non-choice by what-ifs; which in and of its self is a choice. For those that engage the analytical brain first, like me; it can be a challenge to break free from the tethers of possible outcomes.

Like standing on the beach as the tide rolls, remaining still can bring about variation. However, are these changes a never ending cycle of high and low tides as the sand shifts beneath our feet; anchoring us deeply or washing us out to sea?

The unmarked trail may look overwhelming; unpaved and a 500 foot drop on both sides.

The road is laden with rock slides from the emotional flash floods, narrow and seemingly impassable. No guide rails, no signs warning of the dangerous curves ahead and not another soul in sight.

How will you ever be able to navigate this terrain?

Then there is the infamous U turn.

Go back; the road ahead is too risky. Return to where you are familiar and you know what to expect. There is comfort in predictability even if it is painful. Continue going to the job each day because your reward is the safety of a paycheck. Keep eating the unhealthy food; at least you know it will provide a short term respite from the emotional turmoil.

Go back to where you came from – at least you know it well.

Most of my life I have employed the “try harder” approach as I would exert more energy from the same direction. You just need to push through this – suck it up and move on. Like those old canister vacuums, I just kept sucking it up while my bag filled with debris.

Under the cloak of persistence I would perpetuate this approach. I just need to try harder a little bit longer. Sometimes try harder is a valid approach – I am not suggesting that one simply give up when there is a challenge. I could “suck it up” with the best of them but; the moving on is another story.

The U turn comes into play for me when I am exhausted from trying harder and feeling that failure has occurred. I wheel my canister the whole way back to where I started with my ‘suck it up’ bag bursting at the seams and the hose clogged with potential.

Unable to suck up any more, I retract my cord and head to the closet, unable to function because I sucked it up too long.

The only moving I did was to and from the closet

frustratedThere has to be some balance, some rules or an instruction manual – Life Rules: How This Life Stuff Works. A flow chart with decision bubbles that clearly indicate to suck it up when this happens, return to start in this case or follow to the YES path if this condition exists.

I wonder, if the manual did exist, would I read it? I just want to be told how to navigate the tough choices in life, or do I? Would I listen to counsel? Would I be brave enough to trek the unmarked trail if the flow chart said to?

I think of the owl in the old commercials for tootsie pops – how many licks does it take to get to the center?

Like the over filled vacuum sitting helplessly in the closet, when I am exhausted and weary from trying harder and looping through the endless U turns; I am able to be still. I observe the tide rolling in and out, recognizing the sand shifting beneath my feet. In this space of bloated exhaustion; I find the courage to explore the option of walking the unmarked trail.

Who says my life has to follow the non-existing flow chart in the troubleshooting section of the mysteriously missing manual? I want the freedom to decide if I try harder or walk away. If someone did tell me what to do; it is very unlikely that I would follow through without a bag filled with blame and resentment.

We don’t have to do what society says – who are ‘they’ anyway?

I have also come to better understand that walking away can be done because you have tried as hard and long as you can. It does not have to come with bitterness or ill wishes. Walking away can be the most loving thing to do. In this space created while scaling the road less traveled, new journeys not yet imagined may flourish. Just a little space apart may encourage a part of peaceful bliss.

Breathe – Just Breathe.

FAT Grat (Faith, Acceptance, Trust, Gratitude) and Breathe some more.

Meditation, Reiki and self-hypnosis help me clear the filters and shed light on these trying times. Sometimes one minute is all I have in this crazy, over-committed whirlwind called life.

Work with what you have, explore what techniques are helpful and allow the universe to support you. This is not a one-size fits all kind of journey.

If you are unable to find joy and happiness in reasonable proportion to trying harder, then walking away may be the best option. It could be the choice that allows time to explore the unmarked trail or for you stand still ‘over there’. Maybe, just maybe, this space allows you time to empty your overstuffed bags, clear your clogged hoses and offer a fresh perspective.

What if a little space gives you the courage to try harder again with renewed energy?

How do you know when trying harder or walking away is the best choice?

Do you stand still while life unfolds?

What U turn patterns are in your life?

Whatever your choices, I wish you FAT Grat as you make your choices steeped in love instead of being frozen in fear.

Blessings for all the very best

~Beth