All paths lead to the grave

“There are many pathways in this life and it doesn’t matter which one you take, for they all have a common destination, and that is the grave. But some paths give you energy and some take it away.” ~Cervantes

Several weeks ago in yoga class, we had a conversation about beliefs that we have that hold us back in making progress toward something we really want. I spent a lot of time the week before the conversation really digging into my beliefs and looking at the ones that hold me back (there were more of them than I like to admit), but there was one that for me was clearly the biggest culprit.

My belief that holds me back the most is the belief that there is a perfect choice out there for every decision I make. This belief manages to keep me from making any decisions because I am never sure how to know which option is really and truly the one perfect choice. So I analyze and ruminate and debate the pros and cons and ask for the opinions of others and journal about it and do a card reading on the subject and analyze things some more … but I never make any forward motion in any direction.

Even when life pushes me into a corner and forces me to make a decision, I still spend way too much time and effort re-visiting, re-analyzing, and re-considering whatever choice I made. I’m always looking for ways to keep my options open so that I can always change my mind if I discover that I didn’t make the perfect choice.

You know, I think I’ve finally decided that this belief is proving to not be so helpful to me. In fact, I’m pretty sure this belief is contributing to my self-sabotage by refusing to choose that I wrote about a few days ago.

The challenge (at least for me) in confronting a long-held belief is always figuring out what I can work on replacing that belief with. So often, the first thing I come up with is something that is either too big a leap for me to make or is just plain not believable. For example, when I’ve tried to tackle this belief before, I usually come up with something like “all choices are equal, so it doesn’t matter what I pick.” That just doesn’t work for me. My mind instinctively rejects that notion.

The Cervantes quote that opens this post gives me something that I can honestly accept. If I look at the big picture, each choice doesn’t matter because they will all lead to the grave no matter how I get there. Death is the one thing that is a given in this life. However, the fact that he goes on to point out that some options are better for us than others based on the energy they give or take from us balances that out for me. If I consider it from a life or death perspective, there is no perfect answer, so I can let go of the need to find that perfect one. But on a more practical level, I can just observe what each choice does to my energy to know which one seems best in this moment.

As so often happens, this quote reminds me to watch for balance—neither making too big a deal out of each decision (they all lead to the grave) nor acting like each choice is perfectly equal (some give energy, some take it away). Even better, it gives me a usable criterion by which to evaluate my choices in what seems to me to be the only area that really matters.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.