Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aligning Our Decisions with Inner Wisdom

Changes. Lately, we have heard a lot about change in our political and financial systems and whether we have seen any real change on these fronts. Well, regardless of our country as a whole, many of us have seen plenty of changes in our lives. This is especially true for my husband and me. 2010 will be a big year of change for us. Our youngest child graduates from high school in June, Pat retires after 29 years in the Navy on July 1, and hopefully both girls will be safely ensconced in their Florida colleges by August. We will have no outside pressures to dictate that we live in Northern Virginia. (One could argue that there never was any outside force telling us where to live, what with free will and all that…but that is the topic for another time.)

Trying to make all the decisions about where to live, what to do, whether to travel and trying to make these decisions consciously, without over powering the other person, was the main focus of our Columbus Day weekend trip to Luray, VA. Nestled in the beautiful fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we set out to try to determine our next steps.

Being a project manger in Corporate America, I jump started the weekend by making several lists of questions that I knew we were going to need to answer. I categorized them by topic: Finances, Job Issues for Pat, Job Issues for me, etc. But the first question that needed to be answered, in my estimation, was whether it was in the highest good for both of us to live in NOVA after our lease is up in May 2010. I believe that we needed to think about / meditate / pray / arm wrestle with this question before any of the other questions are considered. It is hard to plan possible vacations, retirement parties, college orientation visits, if we haven’t decided if our furniture will be in storage, in another state or to re-up the lease.

When I explained this to Pat, he agreed with the approach and said it was like a decision tree, that wonderful logical tool of every project manager.

While I like the usefulness of a decision tree, the limitation of the tool is that you usually need to know all the options up front in order to follow the logic of the binary paths. I believe we need to give up the binary approach of a well managed project decision tree and instead look at the decisions we have to make in life more like a well aligned spinal column.

I want to line up the Cervical 1 vertebra, the atlas, with the base of the skull, as perfectly as possible before worrying about the alignment of the C2 (question number two). And I want to get the C2 – C7 aligned way before I worry about the Thoracic spine, the lumbar region and definitely before I even consider the sacrum. I am not saying that I want to ignore the health of the lower back. All the other questions need to be answered and possibly aligning these questions may take more time than answering the first question. For instance, scheduling a moving truck in the summer in the Washington DC area will take some pre-planning and I have already “pre-investigated” a cruise to Alaska, but as real or as fun as thinking about those potential options are…until the C1 is aligned with the bottom of the skull, the date we leave for glacier bay really doesn’t matter.

Obviously, the tricky part here is how to align an individual vertebra with the vertebra above it. We all have different ways of seeking the inner wisdom: meditation, fishing at a quite pond, jogging, dancing, sitting near the Potomac watching the planes land at Reagan National, seeking a counselor or simply being still without music, TV or other people to influence the wisdom we know, but frequently deny, is within us.

Interestingly, once you have aligned each question in proper order, there maybe a whole host of different answers more joyful than just the binary answers you thought about in your two dimensional decision tree. That is the true freedom of using alignment with inner wisdom to make decisions instead of the “if / then/ else” statements.

I encourage you to still the mind, seek the heart, and I know you won’t fail. OK – maybe you will fail…but the effort won’t be for nothing. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

Focus on your alignment with your wisdom. Know once you have the C1, C2 and C3 aligned continue to align the rest of the vertebrae and the pain anticipated in the lumbar region, will go away, magically. I will remind myself this and to lift with my legs, when I am unpacking all those boxes!!