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  • Writer's pictureLinda McLean

Choose That Road

Is all the corona virus news making your head spin? I am so right there with you.

It’s reminding me of a song I wrote years ago, “Choose That Road” a contemplation of those times in our life when many choices confront us, and we don’t know which way to turn, and aren’t sure what to choose or sometimes not choose.

These days I say, when a decision can go either way, intuition is always the deciding factor.

A few weeks ago, just before the worldwide lock-down, our youngest was living in London, in a nice flat in a leafy green neighbourhood. The UK hadn’t shut down yet but with grocery shop shelves being emptied and armoured vehicles spotted in Hackney, there was a growing sense of threat. I woke up one morning to the realization that every fibre in my body wanted my family close and safe. I shared my feelings and over the next day or so we discussed the reality of the circumstances, examined all the information at hand, expressed our thoughts – good, bad, and indifferent, laid out the options available and came to a decision.

In the end, we went with what felt right for us collectively. It came down to all of us reaching in and listening to our intuition, to our gut instinct. Maybe you have a different name for it. I’m not saying fear didn’t play a part, initially it did, but we didn’t let fear make our decision for us. And that, in a nutshell, is how I intend to move through this, what I call privately, wild world weirdness (www).

During this ‘lockdown’, in order to cope with my own experience of www, I’ve taken to a more disciplined practice of daily meditation, deep breathing and yoga. Not a big surprise but the truth is, I’m finding that these practices are deepening my relationship with my intuition. And this more consistent connection to my instinct is translating into my work. Writing and singing are coming through from a deeper, more heart-centred sic intuitive place.

Intuition. Or maybe you call it instinct? In my experience, intuition is the one thing we can trust when everything is in doubt. The hard part is turning in to listen to what our gut is telling us.

These days our nightly family dinner conversations often centre around the question, ‘what is actually going on?’ Our individual attempts to move through the fear-mongering and find verifiable factual information has led to many an argument. We challenge one another with our differing views and know the debates make us all stronger and wiser. We’re fortunate to have the time to watch and learn as history unfolds, as well as grateful for each other, that none of us are afraid to ask hard questions and adjust our understanding of world events as they unfold.

My husband Andy’s been tuning into the nightly White House corona virus updates. I don’t tend to watch or listen to The News, but we have family on the frontline in the US and it’s been one way of keeping in touch with what’s happening there. What I soon started to love about these ‘briefings’ was watching the press and Trump spar with one another. It’s became a kind of dinner-prep entertainment around here.

In my opinion all political parties and the media outlets that report for them have a bias and an agenda and turning a medical issue into a political one is making the whole situation worse. In order to figure out some semblance of what is actually going on with this virus I’m finding out more by looking at the statistics and being open to new scientific information as it comes along. And it’s beginning to look like the response to the corona virus is going to be more deadly than the virus itself. Sadly, to me, not many people seem to want to talk about the ramifications of a world wide lockdown on individual mental health and family violence and small businesses.

My intuition is telling me we need to start talking about it now.

To face reality means examining evidence, seeing as clearly as possible the state of things as they actually exist and not the way others need us to see things. Fear will force us into corners where our choices aren’t in anyone’s best interest. To make good choices for ourselves, which is the root of making good choices for our community, we have to face fear, walk through it, and move into a loving heart-centred and intuitive place.

What is helping me more than anything is the choice I make to breathe into my heart, recall a positive feeling, such as gratitude, and raise the frequency of my energetic vibration. When I centre my attention on my heart, on love, on appreciation for my friends and family, it’s not possible to sink into a morose or negativity-filled experience with imagined worse case scenarios.

I challenge myself, sometimes on an hourly basis, to move out of my mind and the spinning www thoughts, and admittedly the shift feels uncomfortable sometimes, to let go of the idea I can control anything and just remember the feeling of love.

Feelings are so much more powerful than thoughts. Thoughts can spin wildly round and round, but what’s much worse, other people can tell us what to think, and accuse us of being bad person for not thinking like they do. I laugh whenever someone tells me I should be very afraid. I know it’s their own fear talking, obviously, and I should have sympathy, but I can’t help but laugh.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. (Marie Curie)

We all have to face the responsibility of making a choice for ourselves. Even as part of a family we have to individually make a choice. Even as part of a community, we have to start with what’s in our own mind, and in our own heart.

I could choose to get scared because others are telling me to be scared, but when I tap into my feelings, being afraid feels like a waste of energy. That’s how I feel. You might feel differently. That’s your right.

Fear in the time of corona virus isn’t uncalled for, the fear of getting sick, fear of dying, fear of spreading the virus and endangering others, this is fear that comes from our ancient desire to survive. But when all of our choices are made from the place of this fear, and especially a fear that’s built on imagined threats, it can turn into a kind of mental delusion, and eventually an unwillingness or inability to choose. When we believe our only choice is to run, hide, stay out of danger, stay quiet, we believe we don’t have a choice. And that’s when we’ve given up our humanity.

If the conspiracy theorists are correct, and this corona virus lock-down is the dark lords last gasp to exert their control over humanity, then I’m glad I’m working my laughing muscles. And if this is just another historic event that Trump devised to win the next US presidential election, or a virus created by the military industrial complex to start a world war with China, then I’m still glad I’m working my laughing muscles. And if the statistics are true and domestic violence is going through the stratosphere and the global economy is going to wreck havoc on especially the poorest half on our planet, I’ll be especially grateful that my laughing muscles are strong. Because that’s when it will take all the strength of our collective positivity and heart and compassion to help lift the suffering.

And it won’t be by telling people how to survive their struggles, or by telling them what to think, but it might be by helping them understand that despite the world’s decision to heap more disaster on their already pitiable plight, they still have the freedom, and the ability, to choose how they feel. Reminding them they have the right to choose how they feel, that might help them know what they actually need.

No one can tell a person how to feel. No one can tell you how to feel. That’s a fact, whether you believe it, recognize it, or completely deny it. No one can tell you how to feel. It was hard for me to get that fact straight, to stop blaming others for feeling sad or hurt or rejected.

It’s hard to see it because it means taking full responsibility for our choices. Also, organizations and people who want to use us or control us, don’t want us to rise out of the victim perpetrator mindset that keeps us blaming others for our feelings.

It’s the one thing that those who wish to control us do not want us to know. And once we get it, it’s a good test of friendship – if someone tells you what to think they are being disrespectful, and if someone tells you what to feel, they are definitely not doing that for your highest good.

Choice is the theme of the first chapter in my book, The Importance of Being Important, and it’s also reflected in “Choose that Road”, a song I wrote for my first CD, Betty’s Room.

CHOOSE THAT ROAD “This is my home, I was born here, See, I carved my name in that chair.” (Complete song lyrics)

The image of a lonely 19th century poet living in the prairies of Canada was the first inspiration for the lyrics for “Choose that Road” a poor soul who finds herself in the middle of thousands of empty miles in every direction. She was born and raised here, on this edge of timelessness, in one of those prairie towns built between the Trans Canada highway and a Canadian Pacific Railway line. Not many of the original townspeople remain, but she has a purpose, to ‘sit and watch the sun rise every day, and remember all the ones who got away.’

As I wrote the song, I felt so deeply sad for this character and wished I could talk her out of staying so stuck. I wanted to ask her, “What are you so afraid of?” and knew she couldn’t hear, too frightened of change, and the fear had made her numb, and she’d shut down her ability to feel for so long that she no longer noticed she ever had the choice.

The song was telling me something then, and it’s speaking to me now, reminding me that the key to knowing I have choice is to know my feelings. The key is to move through the thoughts in my own head that spin around and around and spiral me out of my body, and to go into my feelings which are closest to my intuition and my gut and to know, I have a choice.

Have you ever felt like your life is being held by some principle or idea or rule that you agreed to long ago, that you’ve now outlived, and that no longer serves you?

Maybe, like me, it’s time to remind yourself it’s not your mission to be told how to feel, but your privilege as a human being to choose.

I choose to have feelings that are full of love and light and not fear. And if something comes along to challenge this choice to not be afraid, I’ll dig deep into my heart muscles and ask my intuition if that something is worth being afraid of. And if my intuition says yes, well, then I’ll think about it.

“Nothing Stays the Same”. (This is the title of Chapter One of draft 16 of The Importance of Being Important. To find out how to hear the audio of “Nothing Stays the Same” you can contact me and I’ll fill you in on when and how.)

And for your listening pleasure here’s a link to Choose That Road.


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