This is a blog about how damned bewildering knowing what you want can be. And about how you can choose to turn ‘must’s’ into options.
Some time ago, my youngest brother and I were updating the website, to be more specific: we were editing the description of our five day programme on Unencumbered Communication. The original description said that the first two days of this programme (about Attention and about Direction) are about ‘What do I want?’ and the three next days (about Power, about Thoroughness and about Assertiveness) are about ‘And do I really mean it?’. I read it, and all of a sudden something didn’t sound right anymore. Basically it is not about knowing what you want, it’s about actually making choices!
We are in the midst of the summer holidays. What I want to do during these holidays? I want to visit the 7th century monastery on the Irish island of Skellig Michael, I want to look for the alleged pyramid of the sun near Visoko in Bosnia, I want to go horseback riding in the Khan Khentii mountains in Mongolia, I want to go to the Sequoia National Park in California to see the giant sequoia General Sherman, I want to do panda bear spotting in the Wolong National Park in China, I want to go to Liguria in Italy to visit a dear friend, I want to go back to the Greek Island of Karpathos where I worked with the powerful stallion Poupito, I want to go to Mount Kailash in Tibet, I want to enjoy pleasant walks in the Belgian Ardennes, I want to have a drink and a good conversation on a café terrace in Ghent, I want to spend quality time with my horses, I want to paint the frames of my windows, I want to write about how I combine Solution Focus and working with horses. There are so many things I want to do!
Yes, it is important to know what you want. You can drown in it though, if you don’t make choices. Not making choices is like continuously driving on a roundabout. Over and over again you pass by the same options and every time you pass by, you may even see even more. All of these options are things you’d like to do, things that may bring something about, things that have been on your wish list for a long time, things that would make you happy. Partially, these things make you dream, and partially they push you into chaos: what can you do with such an abundance of options?
Everything has its consequences: should you keep on driving on a roundabout, you would just be emptying your fuel tank. After all, I’ve never seen any fuel station in the middle of a roundabout. The only way to get off a roundabout is by choosing a turning and hence finding out whether or not you can do something with this option. If yes, you keep on driving; if no, you choose another option. And you can choose only one option at a time.
That’s the difficult part: we often have the feeling that we are closing a lot of doors by choosing for something. We see choices as ‘must’s’, often prompted by fear. Such choices aren’t genuine choices, since in the background there is this little voice: ‘Suppose this is a wrong choice?’… Horses don’t live in indeciveness, nor in right or wrong choices. They go, they do, and everything that comes from that is information they will subsequently do something with. It is what it is, and what you make out of it. Horses show me that wrong choices don’t exist. There are choices, and consequences of choices.
What I’ve learnt from horses is that making choices is an act of exploration, and that exploring things is a way of finding possibilities. Options. Out of ‘must’s’ we’ll often question our choices. ‘Was it the right choice indeed?’. Basically, there are only two answers to that question: either yes or no. Both answers can bring about a lot of burden: a yes might make someone stick to a choice for reasons of principle; a no leads towards doubt, to dropping the choice, thus getting back on the roundabout. Out of an exploration of options we can ask ourselves – open – questions about choices instead of questioning our choices. Questions like: what difference will this choice make? For me? For others? This exploration helps to – at least in this moment – genuinely say yes to a choice. Everything that comes forth out of this choice, is information you can subsequently do something with, turning choosing into a never ending exploration journey that will always bring you somewhere. In Ireland, in Bosnia, in Mongolia, in California, in China, in Italy, in Greece, in Tibet, in the Belgian Ardennes, in Ghent or at home with my horses. Or anywhere else. Every choice is all right.
Right and wrong originate when you see your truth as the truth. ‘Right’ is then what ties in with how you see things, ‘wrong’ is what is different from your view. When ‘right or wrong’ becomes ‘different’, differences suddenly become enriching, and everything turns into information: an endless pallet of options, out of which you can co-create your reality by making choices. Every time you choose, you push the start button of creation. Every choice is the start of new options, ánd the start of dreams coming true: only real choices can bring about accomplishments…
When you are driving on the roundabout of indeciveness, looking at all the options, then know that it’s not the options that are passing by. The options are there, and you choose: will you keep on driving in circles? Or will you put on your direction indicator, give your steering wheel a turn and start a new exploration journey?…
Out of my former enumeration of things I want to do during the summer holidays I’ve made a choice. You are reading a consequence of that choice right now. Other consequences of that choice are that my windows and my horses have to wait, just like the café terrace in Ghent, the hike in the Belgian Ardennes and all the other things I also want. After all, I can make only one choice at a time, and that is all right. By choosing to write this blog I’ve started a new journey, I’m curious to find out what options this will bring.