buses in Guatemala

I am a list-maker!

Do you ever use lists for making decisions?

BusesHave you listed all the benefits of doing X on one side of a piece of paper, and those of Y on another side?  I used to make decisions this way.  One memorable example was when I was planning a trip of four months abroad volunteering.  I’d wanted a gap year all my adult life, but life conspired against me (or so it felt to me at the time.)  I’d waved off my children on their adventures to parts of the world I’d dreamed of going.  Then when they seemed settled, I thought I would take my turn.

For reasons better known to me at the time, I decided not to take a year, but four months (more of that in another blog post).  I researched and planned and was almost ready.  I had arranged for my cat to be looked after, my home to be looked after, where to leave the car, what to pack, how to access money, insurance – and a dozen other things.  However, I couldn’t quite decide where I wanted to go!

Through some easy decision-making, including what skills I could offer, what parts of the country I’d like to visit while I was there, climate, safety, … I’d narrowed it down to either Uganda or Central America.  Both were equally attractive, and I could offer some useful skills in each.

I wrote my lists of pros and cons, and whichever had the most ticks didn’t feel quite right.  Then I pondered.

I hadn’t learned Focusing skills at that time, however I now see that I was using Focusing to make my decision.  I had confused myself with the practicalities.  Once I quietened my mind, and listened to what ‘felt right’, my decision was clear.

I organised the trip in a very short time after that, and had a brilliant adventure – and even though I saw had some really sad days, when I found the conditions that some people live in, it is a trip that I still remember with great joy for a myriad of other reason.

If I had learned Focusing then, I could have made that decision much more quickly, and trusted myself more to know what was the best way for me to move forward.