When you make choices day in and day out for your life, career, and business, what impact does it have on others? By others I don’t just mean the people around you and yourself (yes that’s important) but also the world at large? Everything has a ripple effect and an energy attached to it. The more you align your choices in a way that is compassionate and conscious not only do you make better choices but ironically they also get easier to make.
I was reminded of the power of choice when I visited Omega Institute for a workshop. Aside from the fact that every little detail is a conscious choice on that campus – from the food choices to eco-friendly buildings to the campus grounds, I was reminded of the impact of choices by a piece of artwork on the land.
The photo below is of that piece of artwork and it depicts the Native American seven generations rule. There is a practice within that community to ask in regard to choices you make: what is the effect of this choice on the seventh generation? You can see how quickly such an inquiry can shift your perspective compared to a fleeting choice made without regard to the impact it has on even this generation, right?
Surely we could get into long debates about all kinds of sustainability issues, food choices, and reliance on oil. That’s not my intention from this post. My intention is to open your mind to the possibility of making more conscious decisions in all you do and that doesn’t have to mean that it takes longer or is more difficult to make decisions. Quite the opposite in fact.
I regularly work with clients on taking the guilt, mind-churn, and “circling the roundabout” out of their decision making processes for business and personal decisions alike. I use a tool that people tell me works wonders for them. So again, it’s not about extending your decision making process for seven generations! It’s about becoming more aware of the impact of the choices you make on you, your long term goals, and the bigger picture.
One of my favorite Buddhist authors and teachers is Thich Nhat Hanh. In his book, No Death, No Fear he tells a great story about this impermanence and interconnectedness. A short excerpt of it is in the article “Long Life Impermanence”:
It’s like when you look at a sheet of paper and look deeply, you can see that the paper is made of trees and sunshine and earth and clouds, and even before the manifestation of the sheet of paper in this present form, you can only see the sheet of paper in the non-paper elements that existed before.
Whether we choose to see the interconnectedness or not, it is there. And, because it is there our choices have a ripple effect on it. Conversely, this interconnectedness also has a ripple effect on our ability to create what we want in our lives. We may not always see or feel it because it is slow and subtle (thus the seven generation rule, not the seven minute rule) but it is there and it is at work as we go about our lives seeking to achieve our goals.
This level of consciousness and mindfulness need not weigh you down… I know it can feel like an invitation to crawl into analysis paralysis and never make a move. As in all things you need to make a choice and move forward. Throughout life as you learn better, you choose better. This is an invitation to learn a little and be more conscious with your choices so you not only succeed on your own terms but also make a difference along the way.
What do you think? Would love to hear from you in the comments…