Last week, things took a scary turn in my family’s life when my beloved dog Taylor had a sudden medical crisis. We had to decide on the spot whether to go forward with an emergency surgery that would save her life.
Fortunately, we have pet insurance that we knew would cover most of the costs. So, in the moment, it was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. We went ahead with the surgery.
Thank goodness, it was successful, and Taylor pup is now on track to make a full recovery.
When the right path isn’t so clear
Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about decision-making. In that frightening moment at the vet, it was so clear and obvious what we needed to do.
But what about those decisions that are way less obvious? The big, important decisions that matter a lot, but you just can’t figure out what to do?
Clients often arrive struggling with decisions like that. Like whether to leave a job or a relationship that’s grown painfully difficult. Or whether to keep working toward something really important—a project, a dream—when it just doesn’t seem to be working.
At times like these, it can be really hard to decide what to do. There may be a lot at stake. You can’t know what the future will bring. And yet, you know it’s important to make a decision and move forward, one way or the other.
In those moments, a simple embodied practice I use with clients may help you gain clarity on what path really feels best for you.
How the practice works
Start by naming the decision you’re facing, and listing 2 or 3 possible options you have.
Then, wherever you are, choose a physical spot in the room to represent each option.
Now, move to the spot you’ve chosen to represent option 1, and sit or stand there. Remaining in that spot, begin to imagine that you’ve made the decision to go with option 1.
And now, staying focused on your option 1, ask yourself: What am I noticing about this option? What’s happening in my body? What thoughts and emotions are coming up? How comfortable am I with this option? What does my gut say?
Stay with this option as long as you want. Then, move to the next physical spot you chose, and repeat the process for your next option, and so on, until your experience of each option feels complete. And now ask yourself: What did you discover?
Clarity when you need it
It’s my hope for you that this simple process of imagining and embodying your options will bring you greater clarity when you most need it.
Of course, you may still have some work to do before you can move forward. Maybe you need to get more information, or discuss your decision with a loved one or colleague. But every decision is easier when your whole self gets to weigh in about what’s most important to you.