Have you ever felt like you had two opposing desires living inside you? Like wanting to live near your family in Montana and wanting to live on the beach? Or wanting to be a commercial pilot and to be home for dinner every night?
I soooo get it.
Recently it’s been coming up for me, and my close girlfriends. And the result is often decision paralysis and annoyance when it comes time to plan your life or your year – because how in the world could you ever plan when planning for one of these outcomes feels like killing off the other.
For one of my friends it’s that she wants to be the perfect stay-at-home mom, baking bread and going to all the toddler sing-a-longs with her kiddos AND she also wants to be a badass business woman that creates massive impact for her tribe. (I can so relate to this one.)
For another of my friends she wants to take the year long sabbatical to rest and restore her body, mind, and soul AND she wants to start a new business venture right now, so she can build it and retire early.
In my case, the two things that keep pulling at my soul are traveling the world to photograph nature for a book on the five elements Peter is writing while teaching also teaching our kids about the elements and (maybe) creating a documentary about it (so fun right?!) The other things is that I have a great desire to have chickens and a greenhouse and move our family closer to living off of the land and modern homesteading. Our kids would connect to the animals and learn to grow food, and we’d put more roots down here in Boulder (sounds amazing, right?!)
It’s literally impossible to have both of these things at the same time.
And after awhile, the thought of either of them started to feel less inspired and more stressful because the contrast was creating pain in me. I felt like I had to decide. And I couldn’t decide. And yet I wanted to get out of the place of not knowing so badly so I could start planning and create the vision!
This opposing desires phenomena happens in big life decisions and in small daily decisions. And we can get so hung up on choosing “right,” that sometimes we just end up not choosing at all and we let all our dreams slip through our fingers or lives be directed by someone else.
Let’s not do that, okay?
Here are five things I’ve learned to do for myself when facing this dilemma:
- Get really present.
Your life now is already a beautiful experience, if you are present for it. Expressing gratitude for what you have and noticing all the amazing little miracles that surround you each and every day allow for the ideal unfolding of your life.
If while you’re dreaming of these future options you don’t degrade the life you’ve already created, you’re more likely to experience nudges from the universe that will create more magic.
For me, I’ve been really appreciating our house and life and family situation so much, even if neither of these two desires came true – I would be super happy regardless.
- Dig into the feelings.
Ask yourself what are the feeling you want to experience with each of these opposing options? See if you can surpass the top level obvious answer for this, and go a little deeper into what is underneath the desire.
For me what I found was that under the desire to root down and modern homestead was a craving for strong community connection, feeling tapped into the earth and provided for from this source, and the ease and joy of the nurturing web of homelife.
What was under the desire for traveling the world and experiencing the five elements in all forms was a feeling of lightness and freedom that travel encourages, a feeling of connectedness to all of the people of the world, and the awakening of wonder and magic.
Once I was clear about the feelings I was wanting to experience, there was an openness created for me to see how to bring these feelings into my life in a multitude of ways, now and in the future.
- Tune into the seasons of your life.
We all have seasons of our lives, times when we’re in planting seed mode, creation mode, tending mode, harvest mode, and hibernation mode. And these modes, likely, are different for different parts of your life at any given time. In work you could be in tend mode, while in your family life you could be in planting seeds mode.
It’s useful to be aware of what season of life you’re in currently, and looking ahead to see what seasons may be coming up.
If you’ve just had a baby and bought a new house – you’re probably in a season of nesting and family, so expecting yourself to be in the season of work domination might be a bit much to put on your plate.
If you’re just starting your business and your working long hours to get it off the ground (while still, please, taking care of yourself 😉 ), you might find it hard to devote a lot of time to dating and finding Mr/s Right. And it’s okay. It’s just a season.
When you understand the season you’re in, and perhaps what the next season is going to be – you can see where these big dreams might fit into different seasons of your life and plan for them accordingly.
For me, with a two year old and a nine year old and some major business moves coming up in the next year I realized that the season of life I’m currently in is one of family, rhythms, and community and also business growth. Which means that taking off for a year or two around the world just doesn’t make sense. Maybe chickens do?
- Be okay in the discomfort.
I know, I know – not knowing doesn’t feel good. It’s completely uncomfortable. But, that doesn’t mean it’s something that needs to be pushed away or escaped. In fact, there is a lot to learn in the discomfort: we learn about ourselves, we learn to find real comfort in what matters most, and we learn to grow and evolve out of the discomfort by sitting in it and letting ourselves be. Just be.
It’s okay to not know.
And it’s okay to be uncomfortable.
The more you practice being in the discomfort, the less you will avoid it in all areas of your life – which creates so much freedom and endless possibilities that were not there before.
I still can’t say that I know for sure which of these two options I’ll choose, or if I’ll choose either one, but I’m okay with being in the discomfort of it. I can hang here.
You have an endless amount of wisdom inside of you. It’s powerful, it’s made just for you, and it’s truth. It’s always the truth.
But there is so much other noise: social media, bosses, parents, friends, advertising “experts”, etc that are telling you who to be and what to want loudly and tirelessly, so your inner wise voice gets drowned out.
But you can pause all the noise. You need to pause all the noise. Because when you do, you’ll start to hear the whisper. And the more you create time to listen to the whisper, the louder and bolder the whisper will get, until that little voice is the one running the show – guiding you, informing you, and loving you.
My inner wise voice has been telling me to just be and to pay attention to all the little nudges from the universe without resistance. So, that’s what I’m going to do.
When there is no “right” answer, but rather just a choice, it can be hard – but it’s also such a huge privilege that we have choices and that we get to choose our lives. I’m thankful for that every single day.
I’d love to hear from you about a big choice you’ve been contemplating and how it’s going for you.
Sending you tons of love,
I’m 72. Came to the city from my small seaside town 13 years ago to help my married daughter with my two wee grandchildren. I’ve missed my small town sooo much ever since but I love my grandchildren sooo much. The longing to return to my small town is ceaseless.. yet the thought of having distance between my family & I is hard to get around. I’d have to travel about 2 hours to visit them, which includes a 40 min ferry ride, a 15 min. bus. & an hour on a passenger train.. the other option would be to get my daughter or son-in-law meet the ferry (An hour plus driving for them) Thing is I hate fast-pace city lifestyle.. theres more pollutuon & higher crime rate.. i feel vulnerable on city buses & walking around, nervous & anxious around 150,000 people.. my little town has 9,000 clean air, low crime, slow pace, water views & the connection to nature I crave. It’s just hard to leave my grandkids who are 15 & almost 13
But if I stay here I’ll never stop wanting the small town lifestyle. I think the older I get the mire I need it. I’m tired of the rat race but I do love my grandkids that’s the only reason I’ve stayed.. I would never live here otherwise, never..
Can you offer any suggestions on how I can make a choice I won’t regret ..thankyou very much!