In the Spring of 2014, I was at a precipice of making a huge decision.
I was feeling into the possibility of staying on in my apartment in Brooklyn, or moving elsewhere. I was pondering leaving America, but didn’t have a plan or any idea as to how I was going to live life from that point forward. I had just gone through an unexpected break-up, and everything was raw and sad and confusing.
It was an agonizing decision. For the first time in my life, I could afford fairly high NYC rent all by myself. I was really proud of that. And it was a gorgeous space—with hardwood floors, big windows, lots of light, a big kitchen and a sizable bathroom. We’re talking lottery-winner NYC real estate.
I did everything I was supposed to do when it came to making a decision. I asked my family. I asked my friends. I asked my mentor. I asked my psychic. I made a list of pros/cons. I assessed my budget. I assessed the nuts and bolts of daily living: commute time, neighborhood safety, proximity to friends, car park situation, etc.
I read books. I went to support groups.
I read my oracle cards. I went for long walks. I journaled about it.
And all of these things were great, and helpful. But they didn’t get me to where I needed to be, which was at an unequivocal YES or NO to staying at my apartment.
And then I got a great piece of advice from my father (via Deepak Chopra), which I will now impart to you. It might sound weird or woo-woo, but I encourage you: don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
To make a decision, ask your body.
Here’s how I did it.
I laid down and imagined Situation A (staying) and felt how it felt in my body.
And then, I imagined situation B (leaving), and did the same.
Situation A was staying in my apartment. I thought of the wood floor, the light through the windows, seeing GIRLS being filmed on my way to work via the East River Ferry.
And then, I felt the rise of pangs in my limbs—which had come out of nowhere, and which disappeared immediately. Then a dead kind of sick feeling in my tummy, which felt weighted and nauseous.
Yikes. I wasn’t expecting that. Situation B: Moving into the unknown, I imagined packing up my stuff, cleaning the apartment, and moving. I imagined an unknown road ahead of me. I imagined calling my parents and telling them that the move was complete. And the funniest thing happened: I felt lighter. More free. Which was shock, because I was really bent on staying in the known. The comforting, familiar known.
This was the final test, and it tipped me towards leaving. It was one of the most important and powerful decisions I’ve ever made.
Here’s the exercise for you, to help you make the decision that just might change your life for the better.
1. Lie down in a comfortable position, using pillows and blankets if needed. Take 10 very deep breaths. If you believe in something outside of yourself (like God/dess or Spirit Guides or Angels) call on them to be with you.
2. Allow your mind to relax and imagine the first situation in full detail. Do this without judgement or mind chatter: just see what there is to see about your situation.
3. Witness the changes your body goes through and make a note on how they feel. It might feel many different things: opening, closing, tightening, releasing, pain, pleasure, calm, nervous. Pay attention to where in your body you feel these things.
4. When you’re done imagining the first situation, take 10 more deep breaths.
5. Repeat the same process for the second situation. Breathe, imagine, witness.
6. After the process, if you still need confirmation (or still feel confused) try it again—only this time don’t imagine the situations in full detail. Just repeat one word that reflects the essence of those situations.
For example, if the question is “Should I move or stay in my apartment?” You’d go through the process repeating the word “Move” or “Stay” out loud (or not, whichever feels right), while focusing on the body with more intensity. See if the sensations that come up the second time mimic the first time you went through the process. Pay attention.
I oftentimes find this process to be metaphorical.
For example, I’ll get an unexpected pang in my shoulders (where there previously was none) when I’m imagining a situation that will or is (subconsciously) too much for me to handle (weight on the shoulders.) It helps, after this process to jot down your impressions or journal about what you’ve found.
If the decision has to made immediately, do so—but if you can wait 24 hours afterwards to sink into the experience you’ve just had, wait.
Be quiet and still within yourself, and then move forward. Sometimes the best way to make a decision is to step away from it and let the magic of life take over to help you.