What’s your favourite chocolate?

Photo credit: Flickr

Photo credit: Flickr

Imagine someone has just opened a box of chocolates in front of you.  Is your mouth starting to water at just the thought of choosing? Are you tempted by the truffles, or a perfect praline?  Can you imagine biting into the chocolate ginger?

Are you the sort of person who loves to choose from a full box, or is that a teeny bit overwhelming?  Maybe you like it when there’s not so much choice – a whole box of chocolate ginger, maybe, or Maltesers?  Or you may prefer the surprise of not knowing what’s hiding under the perfect pale spiral on the top.

Notice how, when you were thinking about your favourite chocolate, your body responded.  Maybe your mouth started to water?  Maybe you could already begin to taste it?  Maybe a little smile came at the delightful anticipation?

Your body knows all about your choice in chocolate!

Change is about choices.  When we are contemplating change, there are at least two options – the possibility of change, and that of doing nothing.  One part of us wants to do something differently, and another says no, stay with what we know.  And sometimes, like the chocolates, there are lots to choose from.

And now and again it’s a choice to make a change, and at others the need to change is out of our control.

When change is a choice, there is a wanting and a not-wanting inside us.  Something in our life is not quite the way we want it to be – the not-wanting – and the wanting to alter it.

It’s helpful here to sit with the wanting and the not-wanting, and to sense the whole of the issue.  At first we may just go over what we’ve already been thinking about, and it might seem futile to go over it all again.  But there is value in waiting a while, and noticing what might come that is new and fresh. 

Credit: Andy Arthur - Flickr.com

Credit: Andy Arthur – Flickr.com

As an example let’s imagine that you are contemplating moving to a different town, and the options are to stay in the town you are living in, or move to the other one.

 

Credit: Sebastian Werner - Flickr.com

Credit: Sebastian Werner – Flickr.com

 

So first, let’s connect with the place you are living now.  Just for a little while, find yourself somewhere quiet to be, where you’ll not be interrupted for twenty minutes or so.  Turn off your phone, and shut the door.

As you sit or stand quietly, feel the support of what’s below you – the chair, the ground, the bed.  Connect with your breath, without altering it in any way – just notice it.  Take a couple of minutes to bring yourself into the present moment, just as you are. 

Then bring your attention to the town in which you currently live.  What is the feeling you get when you’re in the town (even if you’re not there now)?  Can you describe this feeling?  You might say something like, “It’s comfortable”, “I feel distant”, “It feels like a warm blanket”, “I feel cold”, or something completely different.

You might not know if this description is exactly right, but be patient.  Be curious.  Ask yourself what is it about this town in which I live that makes me feel … ?  It might feel like the right description, even if you don’t understand it.

Then wait again for a little while, wait for something new that is different from what you said about the town in the first place. 

Maybe this new thing comes as a surprise.  Maybe something came to you that you wouldn’t have thought to say before. 

Then have a little break – have a stretch, get a cup of tea – just a few minutes, and then try all of this with the place you’re considering moving to.  You may not know it very well, but that doesn’t matter.  You at least know it well enough to consider moving there. 

Don’t rush this exercise, but it neither need it take too long.  You can then take some time with the two new feelings about the places, which in my experience, can be a powerful tool in helping make the decision.

With many thanks to Bebe Simon for teaching me this exercise.

Click here to join me on the Introduction to Focusing in Canterbury on 4th February.  Or contact me for a 1:1 in person, by phone, or on Skype – or for more information.