How to Get Your Life Together — 7 — Choosing a Path

  1. Wisdom — How to Get Your Life Together 1
  2. Flexibility — How to Get Your Life Together — 2
  3. Accepting Yourself — How to Get Your Life Together — 4
  4. Infinite Choice — How to Get Your Life Together — 6
  5. How to Get Your Life Together — 7 — Choosing a Path
  6. Changes of Behaviour — How to Get Your Life Together — 8

How to Get Your Life Together — 7 — Choosing a Path — you have to choose, and then walk the oft times difficult path


In This Moment

We’ve driven to our casita outside the town of Sarchi, in the Central Valley.


choosing a path
Often, the path we need is the path that hurts. Avoiding, checking out, denial, or good old-fashioned confusion simply mean we refuse to pick the hard path and stick to it.

Just before we left Canada this trip, I worked with a couple of clients. One in particular stands out: the talking was fun and easy, and the Bodywork was a struggle. As soon as she was on her back, she made herself uncomfortable — feeling vulnerable, exposed. Things hurt, and she wanted to run (like always, when she confronts pain.)

She stayed put, and learned about herself.

I’ve been going through old photos, and came upon a couple featuring my mom and dad. Before they died, each was in a retirement facility… and then a nursing home for mom.

My dad was in a quite nice retirement home, and Dar and I visited each weekend. The weird piece was the elevator. The thing had a mind of its own. We’d push the “up” button, and the chances were 50% 50% that it would go down.

And yes, I know how elevators work, thank you very much

One week, we climbed on, pushed “up,” and the elevator immediately went down a floor. Now, more often than not, no one was down there, which is why we were so often baffled. I was surprised, then, to see a little old lady totter on. She stopped, turned around, and stared at the closing doors.

Then, she looked at us, a trace of confusion playing across her face — as if the concept of other people on her elevator was new to her. As I was standing near the buttons, I asked her, “Where you going?”

She replied, “You know, I don’t have the slightest idea.” Silence. I looked at Dar, she at me. The doors closed. The old dear said, “Oh well, you might as well push 2. I might as well have a smoke.” I did. We stopped at 2, and off she went.

Dar looked at me and said, “Isn’t that like a lot of people. I don’t know where I’m going, so I’ll just get off on 2 and have a smoke.” We snickered all the way to 4.

Now, lets excuse the sweet little lady… likely she was forgetting other stuff too, and perhaps often wondered exactly why she’s getting on or off the elevator. It’s more of an issue for those of us who cannot blame senior moments.

You drift along, unsure, unclear and unfocussed — spending your life in endless confusion.

Not to beat the analogy to death, but when one gets on an elevator, one ought to have an idea where one is going. One ought to be prepared to do what is necessary to achieve what one is aiming for. No matter what the cost.

Expecting self-responsibility sometimes leads to cancelled sessions

in denial
Maybe if I hide, it will all sort itself out

I once did a counselling session with a mom whose 15-year-old daughter had been arrested for B & E. I’d heard mention of the daughter from some of my other clients. Into trouble, regularly.

Mom had connived with their Parole Officer to tell the daughter that she was ordered by the court to see me. This was untrue, and I chose not to play along. The daughter refused to come, and I wasn’t going to force her.

So, I had a session with the mom

The mom sagged and looked helpless. I suggested we talk a bit, and come up with a game plan. The mom blanched. “But, she never listens to me. All’s well if we let her do what she wants, but if we try to stop her, she makes our lives miserable. Our 15-year-old runs the house.”

Mom then told me that the kid was also into shoplifting. Every day. I asked the mom what happened when she took her daughter, and the stolen stuff back to the store.

Quizzical look. “But, if I did that they might call the police and then she’d get into trouble.”

It was my turn to wonder. “So how do you deal with the shoplifting?”

Mom: “I tell her not to.”

I had already figured out the game, but asked about her husband. “He’d agree with you. He wants to ground her, punish her. But I see to it that this doesn’t happen. I don’t want her to grow up not liking me.”

So,” I replied, “you want to farm the disciplining of your daughter off on the Parole Officer and me. You want us to do the tough stuff. That way, you’re off the hook, she thinks you’re “cool mom,” you don’t have to change, and we’re the bad guys. That pretty much cover it?”

Works for me.”

I sighed. “Well, here’s the deal. That’s not going to happen. You’re the mom — you need to take responsibility. So, before you come back next week, gather up all the stuff she stole this month, and march her back to the stores. If she won’t go, take the stuff back yourself, and tell the store owners what happened, or take the stuff to the Police Station. Your daughter needs to deal with the consequences of her actions. Otherwise, this isn’t going to work.”

Mom agreed, and booked another session.

Later that week, a voice mail: “This is (the mom). I’m calling to confirm that I’m cancelling our session.”

She must have been too busy having a smoke on the second floor.

We live in a world that believes in non-responsibility. Non-accountability. God forbid that it’s painful, hard, complicated. Life is “supposed to” be easy. Parenting is supposed to go smoothly. And again and again, the inmates are running the jails.

All of this links to what we’ve been talking about the past few weeks. The idea we promote here at The Pathless Path is the conscious structuring our lives — that we have both a plan and a purpose.

We teach lifelong self-actualization. And the key to that, as we say endlessly, is self-responsibility, self-knowing, learning to “drop the ego,” and developing a fuller sense of self.

We suggest endlessly pushing into the “dark territory” of the hard stuff. It becomes easier with practice, but this work requires getting your hands dirty. No looking for short cuts, no excuses, no blaming others or the situation.

Just straight talking, direct walking, and clear thinking.


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So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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