I woke this morning to the sound of the rain through the trees and the birds trying to raise the sun with their song.

The first thought that crossed my mind was “When is the last time that has happened?” Indeed it seemed as though these two morning sounds, both soothing in their own right, often don’t go together. Its either the birds OR the rain.

Its so easy to get stuck in either/or. Indeed it is often a logical place to be. Being a grown-up means making choices. Either I stay up late catching up on the blogs or I slip off to bed early to catch up on my sleep. Either I go to the meeting or I stay in my office and finish the assignment that is due at the end of the day. Either I dig through the fridge and find something to make for dinner or I give up and take Max out to his favorite haunt to eat.

Indeed, we are told that we need to teach our children about choices, and making good ones to prepare them to grow up. When Max howls about not wanting to bathe, I pull out the two words “either or”. Either you can take a bubble bath or you can take a mist shower…but you need to get clean. Once when I put those two choices before him he looked at me intrigued…”Can I do both? Can I make a bubble bath and run the mist shower at the same time?”

Either/or…They are powerful words and they are often necessary. They help us frame the thousands of choices we need to make each day…Help us sort out consequences and act rightly. “Either I splurge and buy that fancy coffee on the way to the office or I bring in milk and make the best of the stinky work coffee but save $3 I desperately need for something else.” “Either I tell that consultant what I think of his childish behavior or I wait until I am less angry and can respond with maturity.”

But this morning it dawned on me that sometimes, just sometimes, either/or is nothing more than a habit. We set ourselves up into a series of false choices because we are so used to having to choose. We rush to the choice, not waiting to see if a third way emerges, a possibility that makes the choice unnecessary.

This morning the birds and the rain whispered a little message to me. See the third way where you can. Keep eyes open to the possibility. Sometimes there is no choice to be made. Sometimes the rain and the birds actually both can sing.

6 Responses to “Morning Meditation”

  1. Karen Says:

    I love this. And look: the song is yours.

  2. kat Says:

    i loved this today. thank you, i needed the reminder.

  3. maggie, dammit Says:

    I get so sucked in to all or nothing thinking, which is a mild, perhaps more obsessive, variation on what you’ve written about so beautifully here. I appreciate reminders like this one every time I see them. Thank you.

  4. Jena Says:

    Thank you for this.

  5. Jen Ballantyne Says:

    This is so uncanny considering what we ended up discussing on the phone after you had written this post. I love it sweetie and thanks for reminding us of it. Love you Jen xxx

  6. bella Says:

    yes, yes, YES!