We are faced with thousands of choices a day. When looking up choices and how many we make a day on the interwebs, modern studies claim that you make over 30,000 of them a day. Some are easy, some are excruciatingly hard. Some are instinct, impulse, and some are carefully weighed and measured beforehand. What I have learned, often the hard way, is that the hardest choices we make are those that we fear. We are afraid of the consequences of the choice, the uncertainty of the future, the reactions of our folk and family. And because of this fear, we often do one of two things: we fail to choose at all, or we choose the safest route possible, even at the cost of freedom, happiness, fulfillment, and forward movement.
The first, failure to choose, is the most dangerous of the two. The roads are littered with flattened squirrels who couldn’t make a decision. The poor thing panicked, darted left- then right- then left again… or it just simply ran down the road, unable to make the commitment to move one way or the other out of fear. Squish. Flat Squirrel. Failure to make a choice is often worse than the consequences of either option. Doing nothing, results in… nothing. I suppose sometimes that is easier, but it is not the noble path. The second, the easy path, the worn road, the safe street, while it may sometimes truly be the best option and make you and those around you happy, it is sometimes just our default… out of fear. I speak from the heart and from experience when I urge you to reconsider that unmapped trail that’s overgrown and hard to navigate. Failure to take the forward moving path, simply because the other is safer or easier, can often lead to regret and missed opportunities. Your best self and your best life, really could be down that hard road. “What might have been” can be so much more painful than “At least I tried”. The last grain of sand in the hourglass could surely fall to the bottom before the opportunity ever arises again.
Fear is one of the most crippling infections of our folk soul. We all have it, we all feel it. Working through the fear is what is important. There are conversations we dread, decisions we don’t want to make, choices with no positive outcomes, but face them. Face them nobly. Conquer the fear of the outcome. Too often we work ourselves into a frenzy about what MIGHT happen or what COULD go wrong, and it stops us from moving forward. Instead, be prepared for what MIGHT happen, and work around what DOES go wrong. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Don’t be a squished squirrel. It could also really be a lot easier than you anticipated and you worked yourself up for nothing:
“The unwise man is awake all night,
and ponders everything over;
when morning comes he is weary in mind,
and all is a burden as ever.”
Havamal 23, Bray translation
If it will make your life better, make that hard choice.
If it will improve your relationship, make that hard choice.
If it allows you to be the best version of yourself, make that hard choice.
If it brings you closer to your Gods, make that hard choice.
And remember that you are not alone in it. We are all with you. Cheering for you if you win. Offering a hand if you don’t.
Be courageous. Move forward. Choose. And choose well
Witan Brandy Callahan