decision-making with Plato

Dear Sugar Shells,

Swiss chard or spinach? Almonds or walnuts? Yellow nectarines or white? These teeny tiny decisions pepper my weekly farmers market experience, and by the time I've made them, I'm very, very tired. My little brain hurts! And it wants candy, then a nap.

So imagine what happens to my brain when the decision I need to make is actually consequential.

First, there's Avoidance: taking the awareness that a decision looms...and then flushing that awareness down the toilet. The awareness sits obediently in a sad subconscious corner all by itself, taking up space and energy in my brain while it waits for attention. This can take a long time. Like, years.

Then there's Agonizing. Why is this happening to me? This is so difficult! Can't someone else decide for me???! I throw exceptional pity parties, although usually I don't tell anyone about them. They're very, very exclusive - you know, invitation-only. Sometimes I bring my husband (lucky man!) and my cat but mostly these soirees take place in my little brain. So you'll have to trust me on this and just know that my pity parties are truly epic.

The Agonizing doesn't last forever, thank goodness, mostly because I get bored with looping the same sentences. So by default I move to the next phase, which is: (...drumroll...) Deciding!

For me, Deciding happens fairly quickly these days. Once I face up to the actual 3-D reality that a decision must be made, I sit down and it happens. That's it.

It usually involves a deep breath, solitude, and tuning in.

My decision-making process is not a glorious tribute to thinking. I don't engage my logical problem-solving brain. (That is reserved for crossword puzzles.) I don't take culturally appropriate action, like making a list of pros and cons, doing a cost-benefit analysis, or crafting a flow chart.

What I do is get quiet and receive my own knowledge. It often takes just a moment. I sit and accept what I already know - from the inside.

Because the Avoidance and the Agonizing are never about not knowing what to do.

I may tell myself over and over I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do, poor me, I don't know what to do!!! I may even tell my friends the same thing. But that's rarely true.

The Avoidance and Agonizing phases are nothing more than fun little brain tricks that keep me in a state of pretending: a dull masquerade where I sport the mask of not knowing what I know.

And when I'm ready to drop the mask and know, the decision reveals itself easily - it plops right into my brain, relaxes into the sofa, and kicks off its shoes to stay a while.

With an exhalation, Julie

P.S.  Answer key:  both, almonds, yellow.  :)