Navigating Dire Straits

A very good friend of mine going through a very rough time got in touch with me recently, asking me what I would do if I were faced with the same rather desperate choices seemingly facing him. His situation was pretty dire by anyone’s standards and there didn’t seem to be an option open to him that wasn’t bleak at best. Some of the possibilities he mentioned were pretty scary, and I honestly wasn’t sure what I would do if I were faced with the same set of apparently awful choices.

So I asked The Team, on his behalf and out of my own curiosity about what we can do when everywhere we look, we only see bad news. Do desperate times call for desperate measures?

It is understandable that when you find yourself in a set of circumstances in your life experience where there appear to be no real options for an outcome that pleases you, where every condition that you are observing feels oppressive or disheartening or desperate or painful, that you would begin to act out of your sense of desperation in order to bring your immediate fear or pain to as quick a conclusion as possible. We understand the rock and a hard place that you often feel when you are in the midst of the most terrifying or disturbing or difficult of your life experiences.

We also understand how you come to hold the perspective that there are no alternatives other than the sort of desperate actions that seem to be available to you. When you are looking at these kinds of conditions strictly from your limited, physical perspective, it can be extremely hard to find the broader view of things–that is, to see what is taking place in your life experience as something that you created, something that is temporary, something that you can always–ALWAYS–find your way out of as you begin to remember who You really are and the power that is available to you through your ability to control the direction of your thought.

But what we most want you to understand about this or any other condition that you are observing in your physical experience is that you are never without choices. You are never without options that can serve you and that can call you back to the fuller understanding of your true Self and the freedom that is yours when you choose to see it and to base your decisions upon it. No matter what your circumstances–circumstances, by the way, that are always a result of the vibration that you have been offering–you can begin to choose your perspective in a way that offers you relief.

You can begin to look at where you are and say, “I am where I am” and no matter how I got here and no matter how awful being here seems to me, I can move from here in the direction of where I want to be. I can begin from this place where I stand, to choose thoughts that feel better to me and as I begin to care more about how I feel than I care about any of the current circumstances of my life . . . as I begin to focus more on feeling better about myself and my life–regardless of the immediate conditions of my life . . . then I can begin to feel better about myself and as I feel better about myself I can begin to experience the incredible freedom that I always have to decide my point of view about anything I am observing. By choosing what I give my attention to, I can control the direction of my thoughts and by controlling the direction of my thoughts I can begin to influence what comes into my life experience . . . and I begin to create a life experience that is more pleasing and more aligned with my desires.

There is no ‘wrong’ choice to be made in this or any situation except those choices that do not match or align with what your heart desires. But you can take a limited view of your choices to the point where you do not see the real freedom and power you have to create your life experience in more and more pleasing ways–regardless of any circumstances that you might be facing where you stand. The choice is always yours: What will I look at here? What will I focus on?

You can decide to look only at the difficulty or struggle or challenge in front of you . . . or you can just as stubbornly choose to see things from your broader nonphysical perspective where you understand that no circumstance, no situation, no horror or setback or trauma is permanent. And in fact, you have a great deal of power over just how temporary any of those conditions can be.

You can begin right now, to decide that your life is not the conditions you are observing, that you are not the victim of circumstances or the victim of others’ decisions or actions. You can decide . . . “I did this somehow and I can just as easily undo it by beginning to choose to care more about how I feel than I care about anything going on in my current life experience.”

As you decide that feeling better is more important to you than being ‘right’ or being vindicated or being rescued. . . as you decide that you truly are free . . . even free to choose pain or bondage, then you can begin to exercise your freedom. . . which is the freedom to decide how you are going to feel at any point in time. That is power no one can take from you. That is freedom no one can deprive you of.

You get to choose who is in control of your life experience. You and only you decide who dictates to you the nature of that life experience. That freedom begins with your decision that you are the master of your perspective and you are the one deciding where
your focus will be–and therefore what will continue to come and to expand in your life experience.

Ask yourself what it is that calls to you. Ask yourself who you really are and what you really wants. Reach for the relief that is available to you when you choose the thoughts that feel better for you. Let your action–any action you take–be inspired by the deepest and most compelling desires of your heart. When you begin to see, again, who you really are, and to respond to your life experience from that place of knowing, then nothing is ever desperate or hopeless or insurmountable.

You are never at the mercy of anyone else or any set of conditions. You are free in ways that no one can interfere with or control. Let that freedom and its constant availability to you be the life giving force that flows through you and that carries you forward into the life of joy and satisfaction that is always–ALWAYS–available to you.


I’ve never felt as desperate as my friend was feeling when he asked what I would do if I were him. I realized, in fact, as I was contemplating his question that I could never really know what I would do if I were him, living his life from his point of view.

But I do remember times when I’ve felt that my life offered me no real options—no choice that felt like a happy or desirable one, no promise of freedom or joy that I could see. What is most interesting about that to me now, however, is the perspective that I have about it standing in my here and now, looking back. For what I see so clearly now is how the perspective that I held about my situation then is exactly what was perpetuating the misery I was experiencing. I can even remember some of the exact moments when my perspective changed enough for me to begin to let hope or the possibility of happiness back in.

I hope that my friend will find his way to a point of view where he can see more than the desperate feeling situation that he’s been looking at. I remember the sweet rush of relief, the recognition that the bleak landscape of my life that I had been convinced was my only view . . . was actually one of many.

There was a time in my life when I remember thinking that I had only two choices: life or death, and that the choice was entirely mine. In that respect, perhaps not much has changed, except my point of view. But it’s a point of view that offers a much brighter horizon, a much lovelier landscape that the one I remember thinking was my only option.

Knowing that at any time, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how deep the pit of pain I’ve managed to dig for myself . . . I can choose to see that well being really does abound . . . leaves me with more hope and more peace than I possibly begin to describe . . . and that leaves me feeling light years away from the bleak landscapes of the past—in a place and with a perspective that feels ever so much more complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on January 6, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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