“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
– Carl Gustav Jung
By Shawn McAndrew
As the teachers tell us when we leave the Process, life will keep happening. We can’t change that. However, we each have a choice as to how we meet life, how we handle events and situations that cross our paths. The Left Road-Right Road Choice exercise, which you were taught in the Process, is a valuable tool that you can use at any time to make informed, intelligent choices.
The path we take when we are in patterns is the Left Road – the habitual ways of being that we learned in childhood. We don’t do things from choice, we do them because of “that’s the way I’ve always done it” thinking. This is not free will choice; it is the path of least resistance, of familiarity.
The Right Road is your new way of being – acting out of awareness, action, and will. This is the path of curiosity, responsibility, openness, and adventure. It is the path of choice: how you will live, and how you will act in your life in the face of adversity. You, not your childhood programming, are taking responsibility for your life.
But how do you get onto the Right Road? Life keeps throwing you lemons, and you can’t make lemonade fast enough. It is not the fact that there are lemons in life; it is how you face what you encounter that makes the distinction.
Let’s say, for example, that a loved one is facing a serious illness. If you are on the Left Road, what patterns might you slip into: panic, run away, denial, or become a super caretaker?
To get on the Right Road, connected to your own wisdom and spiritual self, check in with your emotional self and feel what it’s like to face this news: feel your feelings; ask for support; be scared, empathetic, compassionate, loving; make action choices, not patterned reactions.
There are two important things to keep in mind that will help you stay on the Right Road:
1) You are not your patterns.
2) Your life is your responsibility.
These two items will help you stay present, be empowered, and make appropriate choices to handle difficult situations. With practice, you become more resilient and go through life with more ease and loving kindness toward others and yourself. Having an authentic life does not mean a perfect life. But we do get to choose what we become.
Some helpful tips to make the Right Road Choice:
• Use the Left Road-Right Road practice
• Do a Left Road pattern worksheet
• Listen to any of the many relevant Audio Tools, particularly the Quadrinity Check-In