You are the source of your pain.  Even when someone hurts you, you choose how to struggle, resist, deny and receive.

-Bryan McGill

I choose.  The choice is always mine.  I’ve been known to be quite the reactionary type of person.  I take some things personally, I tend to get pissed off, I choose to feed the fire that someone else has ignited.  This is something I’ve been trying to work on – it’s been a process, I’ll admit.  Through the process of this lesson I’ve learned (and still try to embrace the fact) that I cannot let others determine my happiness, my mood, my general disposition or my outlook on life or any other situation.  I cannot allow others to change my perception of the experience.

It’s come up in conversations with others at my Center that people oftentimes have problems with our philosophy because it encourages one to take responsibility for their own stuff:  for their own happiness, their own lives, for the choices they make and how they choose to perceive their circumstances or situation.  My friend, Nancy, says all the time – so cool, calm and collectively, “Choose again.”

I’m in the beginning stages of buying a house – my first home.  My boyfriend and I met with my realtor this morning to look at the house I will be buying in a few months.  I have been drooling over this house since I first stepped foot in it a few weeks ago.  I think of the house often, I envision myself in it, I think about all the things I will do there, how I will put the furniture.  He didn’t really like it.  He doesn’t like the layout much, said it needed some work, he told me it’s not something he’d pick.  I thought he would love it.  I wanted him to love it.  It’s my first home and he was supposed to be excited about it, he was supposed to love it just as much as I.  He was supposed to think it’s absolutely perfect.  But that’s okay.  I choose to allow him to have his opinion and I choose to keep mine.

The same goes for how I react to those around me, whether it’s at work with colleagues, my mom, my kids, other people I know.  It’s sometimes hard to be around someone so often – there is bound to be some type of conflict at some point.  Especially in high stress, high demand situations.  Sometimes I butt heads with people I work with, my kids are teenagers and are testing the freedom-of-speech-waters, sometimes my mom and I get into it; to be honest, most times I get outright pissed off with what others say and do.  I become hurt at their actions or words, I internalize what they’ve said and done.  I choose to carry the burden of the interaction, of the situation, of the circumstance.

It’s all in the practice of letting go, it’s all in the idea of choosing again.  How do I engage?  Do I come from a place of non-judgment and love, or do I become a part of the conflict?  Do I let the actions and words of others seep deep within me and carry that pain, or do I let it roll off?  What do I choose?  Do I participate and become a character in that given story?

We learn in A Course of Miracles that that which is not love is a call for love.  What do I bring to the table in any given situation?

Do I choose anger and pain and attack, or do I answer with love?  Only I have the choice.  In those difficult situations, I have to remind myself:  I choose joy over this.  I choose love over this.  I choose peace over this.  I have the choice to choose again.