When Choices are Nightmares

Tell me,Ghost Tree
have you ever walked
into a nightmare twice?
The second time
of your own choosing?
I intend to ask
not what you might think.
What I want to know is
Do you know
the deepest longings of your soul?
Do you walk life’s path
in intimate accord with your spirit?
Do you have intercourse with your spirit and soul?
When did you last converse and confess
make love with their fathomless yearnings
the ones that frighten you most?
Tell me
Do your roots know the moist fiery intimacy
of Life’s spiraling whirlwinds
life birthing death and death midwifing life
two entwined lovers, spark and flame
And who are you
and what was your question?
Have you been born again?
I mean, really!
And how many times might that be?
Have you yet learned to let go
of all that no longer serves you?
Do you still cling to your wounds
as though they define you?
Who might you be without them, anyway?
Have you not learned to fly,
to stretch your wings like arms opening to Life
exposing the nakedness of your chest and heart
vulnerability for all to see and know?
You care and love
beyond knowing how.
And yet you do not know
will this nightmare of surgery
repeated yet again
will this ride through the dark
painful hallways of fog and recovery
serve those last remaining hungers for
for a story worth living
or might it be time
to let such aspirations go
like blue birds on the wind
an azul fire of dancing wings
with nowhere else to go
embracing what-is at last
an endless invitation from Life
to own this dream in a partnership of co-creation
seeding it with lucidity and presence and awareness
as a life worth living
A resounding Yes to Life
choices be damned
because the question remains the same
Where is the flow
what calls forth
how is the Life Force within
awakened, nourished and vitaized?
“Your rotator cuff is completely ruptured, again. It’s like you never had the surgery,” the doctor announced over the phone to me. This news came just over four months into an incredibly painful recovery period; my heart and gut hit the floor.
“F**K!” I screamed aloud into the phone. “Yeah. It really sucks,” the Dr. said.
This nightmare of a torn rotator cuff began on a wilderness journey and after another three nights in, the surgery was an outcome following shortly upon access to skilled medical care.. Six weeks and twenty-four hours a day in a sling-and-pillow was but the start of a long and painful road to recovery. And now it is all in vain.
Worse than in vain! Repeat surgeries of this type have a lower success rate and a more prolonged and difficult recovery than the first time around. “You could also do nothing,” the doc says, “and live with it. Or you could get a shoulder replacement….” None of this was what I anticipated hearing, but the new MRI results do explain the continuing intensity of pain I experience.
The opening eco-poetic reflection of this post also followed an unexpected course of exploration and questioning. It surprises me yet with its ending, both in tone and statement: “Choices be damned.”
The satisfaction of such exploratory writing for me is in getting to watch where and how my mind and system are traveling. And in this case, a kind of deep earthy wisdom reveals itself.
Regardless of whether I choose to have a retry on a once failed surgery, starting from the beginning again on recovery, or to leave it alone or to go for a shoulder replacement (an easier recovery, apparently), there are deeper life-orienting questions my soul wants to point me toward.
No matter which difficult challenging path I choose, no matter the level of pain chosen to endure, no matter the anesthesia or narcotics applied to my living, my unconscious is suggesting Life’s fulfillment is something of its own to be attended to. No matter what.
Regardless of the game trails we follow in search of nourishment or comfort, regardless of the events we encounter along the way, our souls and spirits desire something from us.
A TED Radio Hour program on decision making, Decisions Decisions Decisions, provides an interesting reference here. The crux of difficult decision making, according to Ruth Chang, is to ‘commit’ to a choice. Let go of thinking there is a right or wrong choice. Seek instead for some hitching post of meaning you can tie your choice to and give it your all.
So yes, “choices be damned,” because it is too easy to become lost in the mundane and hypothesized differences a choice might make. Instead, focus on the creation and nourishment of meaning making. Focus on leaving a trail of beauty in whatever life story you choose to write.
Therein is the wild resiliency, this choice to be a conscious creator of meaning.

1 Comment

  1. Cheryl Slover-Linett

    03/22/2017 at 3:34 pm

    A wise post! We would drive ourselves crazy thinking about all the choices, when for the most part we can make any choice work. It’s what Sophie’s in right now with college choices…seems to be a big decision point, and indeed what she chooses will significantly impact her life…friends, careers, where she lives next, etc. But any of the choices is a fine one — she just needs to commit…as we all do!

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