Choices: Taking Control of Your Life and Making It Matter

Choices: Taking Control of Your Life and Making It Matter

by Melody Beattie

Paperback(First HarperCollins Paperback Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060507220
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/18/2010
Edition description: First HarperCollins Paperback Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 184,436
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Melody Beattie is the New York Times bestselling author of Codependent No More, Beyond Codependency, and The Lessons of Love.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 5

Karma with Feet

Sally was leaving church when Kevin pulled her aside. "Have you heard?" he asked. "Mark's back in town."

"Mark?" she said. She tried to act casual, but just hearing his name made her feel more alive. That man -- that angel, that monster, that karma with feet -- was the love of her life. They had been together several times over the years. Each time it was a disaster. But each time when she'd run into him again after a separation, a tiny voice in her head would chime, "Maybe this time we could make it work."

"What's he up to?" Sally asked, forcing herself to speak slowly. "Is he living here again or just in town visiting for a while?"

Sally bit her lip, praying she'd get the information she needed without having to ask any more. In a matter of seconds, it was like God himself answered her prayer. She had the hotel name and location where Mark was staying. While her friend was still chattering at her, Sally was already figuring out how she could run into Mark.

I could call him. Or I could go sit in the lobby and read magazines, waiting for him to leave. It wouldn't be stalking. More like strategically placing myself.Sally drove home, entered her apartment, and then paced the floor.

For some reason she didn't understand, it always felt like she had compelling unfinished business with Mark.

That's because you haven't let go, the quiet voice of reason said. You keep hoping and praying he'll be someone he's not. It's Darth Vader without the mask whispering, "I'm your father, Luke -- your father reincarnate" -- and you're trying to make him well. He's not.

Shut up, she whispered back to subdue this sane voice within. You don't understand. We've been doing this dance for so many years. It's true love. The real thing.

The length of time you've been doing the same stupid thing doesn't measure depth of love, the voice of reason replied. It just means it's taken you a long time to learn.

Sally stared at the phone. Stared at the car keys. Then instead of calling Mark or driving to his hotel, she sat down at her desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out a letter. It was one she had written to herself.

Dear Sally:

I'm writing this letter because I care about you, I really do. And every time you get involved with Mark, it hurts you and it hurts him.

Remember what happened last time? The fighting, the crying, the insanity that went on for weeks and months? I want you to really remember how it felt to be with him instead of walking down a selective vision memory lane.

What you experience when you think of Mark aren't your true memories. It's euphoric recall. It's not real.

I know if you're reading this you're probably feeling excited to see him again. Each time you think that if you do something better or different, you can make it work. You can't. Instead, each time the arguing and insanity gets worse. Chances are pretty good that if the same thing happens 100 times, it'll happen again on the 101st -- no matter how much time has elapsed.

Please take a moment before you see him. Feel what you really feel, instead of just feeling excited to see him again. He tells lies, but he tells them so well he believes them and so do you. He tortures you for your past. He plays with your mind. He makes you feel crazy and afraid.

You've worked hard to get where you are. Do you really want to trade your peace for another roller -- coaster ride with him?

It's okay to let go of your fantasies and really let go of the past.

He loved you the best that he could. Now it's time to pick up the slack. This time, please love yourself.

Whew, that was a close one, Sally thought later, looking back on that day. She felt good. It had taken a while, but she'd finally learned that she could change her future by catching herself right before that moment in time and choosing what she wanted to create.

I put the crock on the stove burner, turned the flame on low. Gee, I hope that pot doesn't crack, I thought. I simmered the meatballs and marinara sauce all afternoon while I worked. So far, so good, I thought toward the end of the day. Just a little longer. They'll be done. I can eat.

I frowned.

Hope that pot doesn't break, I thought again.

Half an hour later I was on the phone. I heard a big pop. The pot cracked. Split right in two.

"I knew that was going to happen," I said to my friend on the phone.

"No, you didn't know it," he said. "If you knew it, you wouldn't have had to learn."

It's not what others tell us we should know that matters. It's the lessons we get under our belts that count. When we don't have to go there anymore, we won't. Until then, it's not over yet.

Some people call that learning the hard way.

Cause -- effect, cause -- effect, cause -- effect. Wham. The lights come on. I get it. Life isn't torturing me. I created this myself.

Congratulations. You passed the class. Let's see what's next.

It's easy to slide by the little choices so fast we're not even aware that we choose. Slow down. Breathe. Take an extra moment.

Choose to stay present for each step.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Open Your Presentxi
Section IThe Great Law1
1.She Wanted a Baby9
2.A Sad Week in Coventry12
3.A Moment of Truth14
4.The Drive Wasn't What He Expected16
5.Karma with Feet20
6.She Had to Explain24
7.First Class27
8.He Hit the Wall31
Section IILiving in the Mystery35
1.She Found the Key43
2.An Angel Whispered to Him47
3.She Couldn't Decide50
4.He Saw the Light52
5.She Stopped Running56
6.She Saw a Monster in Her Bedroom60
7.She Liked It64
Section IIIAs the Wheel Turns69
1.Night Shift77
2.He Felt Spun82
3.Her Room Was a Mess85
4.She Found Herself in Nowhere88
5.He Had to Backtrack94
6.She Missed a Step, Too100
7.She Laughed Away the Gray104
8.He Was Sick of Being Sick106
9.She Rode the Wheel109
Section IVBringing Heaven to Earth113
1.She Made a Hard Call121
2.He Found Peace in a War Zone124
3.And Goodwill Toward Men127
4.He Got What He Paid For131
5.She Got a Tip133
Section VOpposites Attract139
1.She Found the Right Words147
2.Horse Sense150
3.She Turned the Tables152
4.He Knew How He Felt155
5.Let the Winds Blow158
6.She Got Swept off Her Feet160
7.Her Fantasy Became Real163
8.He Went to Extremes166
Section VIGo for the Gold169
1.She Called the Law177
2.She Blamed Herself179
3.He Got Even184
4.Mommy Dearest189
5.Her Halo Fell Off191
6.He Wanted to Make Amends194
Section VIIStaying on Track201
1.They Dug Deeper209
2.A Curious Table212
3.She Made a Good Call215
Section VIIIGoing Toward the Light221
1.He Ran Out of Hope229
2.She Couldn't Sit Still233
3.He Saw the Future235
4.She Learned Nonattachment237
5.He Found the Rainbow and the Pot of Gold239
Bibliography247
Acknowledgments251
Index253

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