My father built airplanes in our garage. These skeletal husks, unloaded from a huge truck and deposited onto our front lawn, would gawk like gigantic insects missing their innards. Composed only of frame and sheathing, they were frightening. I imagined them as contemptible bugs that would eat me, once their brains were inserted.
My father would grin, ear to ear, before grabbing a few neighborhood men, who would start chatting about ribs and wires, airspeed and instruments. Attaching a few ropes, they would haul the airplane into the garage, where it would cocoon for months, before it was time to connect the wings. This would be done in the backyard, for the entire world to see, as our house backed up on a highway.
Consequently, I grew up being called the girl with the airplane in her yard. I imagine I could have cashed this statement in like a stock amongst boys, who are universally predisposed toward all things mechanical, but I didn’t know how to capitalize on my reputation. I only knew it made me weird, and different wasn’t a commodity in my hometown. So I ignored the airplanes and my father, when he was indulging in his project, until much later in my life.
Little did I know airplanes would become the underlying cause of a crossing point, or life changing decision.
The Nature of Each Choice Point
A crossing point or choice point is like a crosswalk. We all look back to the junctions that made a concrete difference in our lives. We remember the thrill, but also the hardship involved, in turning a 90-degree corner or taking the truly extraordinary path. We might not have known the exact outcome — and we most certainly wouldn’t have predicted, nor wanted to have seen, all the twists and turns. But we can pinpoint much of our life goodness to the successful negotiating of these crossing points.
In my work, I often have to help clients determine the nature of a choice point and support them in making the highest decision. But I also assess the exact nature of the presenting causeway. Is it really a choice point, or is it “Memorex?”
What we consider a crosswalk might be a call to look backward instead of forward. A “ backward crosswalk” calls us to evaluate our current situation and first change it, before moving on. As well, not everything that pulls is meant for us. Some junctures aren’t ours at all. We’ve stumbled— or been coerced — into someone else’s meanderings and we’d best serve others and ourselves by leaping off, not staying on, the road. We can’t map a choice point unless it’s a really a choice point.
The true choice point is a summoning to grow our soul. It stops us in our tracks, not for the obvious or surface reasons, such as to decide between chemotherapy and natural health care, or to go the store or remain “couched” at home, but to invite a shift in our point-of-view. These conflicts ultimately invite a change in perspective. If we switch the lens through which we see life, we make different — and potentially healthier — decisions in every area of our life, not only in the presenting circumstance.
We assume that crossing points are always gigantic in appearance, but this isn’t always the case. They can cloak themselves in major or minor life presentations or anything in-between. On a spiritual basis, there’s no difference between big and small. A tiny ripple in a lake can produce as huge a result, as a magnificent wave in the ocean. True crossing points knock on our heart, ultimately opening the door to more love. The goal is to recognize these choice points, select love, and walk the road that creates the highest form of love.
The “Memorex” or backward crosswalks are those that ask us to retrace our path and rethink an old decision. There are times we all yearn for a brand new and shiny future, but it’s not time. Still and yet, we might create a crossroad just to escape the journey way that we are on.
The most obvious example of the Memorex situation is a bad marriage. We might start an affair, thinking it the ideal solution to annulling the negativity of the marriage, but only find ourselves in more agony. This is because our issues travel with us, bags in hand. If we haven’t shifted our perspective and our heart, we haven’t moved off the old boulevard onto a new one at all. We’re the same old self, with a little more wear and tear. Sometimes we’re better off dealing with the situation at hand than moving forward, only to create a new but equally painful predicament.
False Choice Points
False crossing points are those that grip our minds and emotions, but aren’t usually about us. Instead, we find we’ve wandered into someone else’s life drama and have been asked to play a part we’re uncomfortable with. We feel confused, mainly because our souls have been “ fused with” another person’s and we can’t separate from the other.
I was recently involved in a false crossing point when my partner’s mother suddenly died — and on my birthday, at that. I had not met her, but I felt a inexplicable kinship with her. An argument arose if I should attend the funeral or not. I wanted to. The truth was, however, that the drama was not about me, nor was I the central character. I wasn’t at a choice point; rather, the key decision-makers were my partner and his father. When I figured out this wasn’t my crosswalk at all, I could sit by the roadside and grieve in my own way.
There are a few ways to discern a true crossing point from a Memorex moment or a false crossing point.
A true crosswalk lies in the heart. It calls for a change in perspective, a higher and more loving way to look at self, the Divine, and other. In fact, we won’t even be able to make the related decision until we enter our heart chamber and see through the eyes of the Divine. The right decision will bring peace and harmony within, though not always outside of us. Change not only requires change; it also produces change.
When confronted by a backward or Memorex moment, we’ll feel like we “have to” forge ahead. The compelling sense of crisis is unpleasant, and can leave us feeling dizzy, perturbed, terrified, and rushed. When I force a future that’s not ready, I often feel dizzy and get a headache.
At such a crosswalk, we can’t hear or sense the presence of guidance. A spiritual guide or the Divine only speaks when there is something to say. If we’re not supposed to move forward, we won’t be told to walk onward. I’ve found that I must be open to waiting — and then returning, reviewing, and remembering, when faced with these mock crosswalks.
The false crosswalk leaves me confused. I feel wrapped up in other’s dramas, needs, or emotions, and find it hard to get to my own. I become scared of hurting others, but seldom consider what is best for myself. I feel trapped and like the entirety of the world — someone else’s — lies on my shoulders. I’ve now learned that when these symptoms arise, I am taking on someone else’s decision. I need to release the other and be still within myself.
True Choice Points
A true crossing point is really a spiritual moment, a choice between being only human and becoming the spirit that we are. Such was the choice point involving an airplane.
My father had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He had just undergone surgery and radiation when I visited him in the hospital, one day, expecting to hear that the procedures had been successful. I had been given reason to believe that they were. Instead, he sat in the bed and stared at me, until we both heard the drone of an airplane outside the room.
“That’s an airplane, dad,” I remarked, not too intelligently. I was hoping he would light up; describe it as a Cessna or Piper, a two- or four-seater. Instead he asked me to close the drapes. That’s when I knew that he was dying.
That moment presented me with a life altering decision. My teacher was regret. I recognized how selfish I had previously been, to view his hobby only through my own viewfinder. Too late, I comprehended the real meaning of his love of flight. I saw that it represented his ideas about life, the desire for the skies, a hidden, free wheeling style, and a compelling drive to reach the horizon. I saw the death of hope in his acceptance of mortality. And I vowed to let my own soul fly as long as I was alive, for truly, we are only here to progress our soul.
After that day, I decided to fly more, in my own way. I stopped being afraid of the lessons life handed me and instead, ripped into them with my teeth and savored their juices.
I also recognized that in many ways, we are always at a crossing point — if we choose to be.
We constantly stand at the corner of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Where we are, there is our soul. Where our soul is, is Spirit. And there is the breeze of change that can fly us into life, carry us to the heavens, and fan us while we walk this earth. There, is hope.