Kayaking is one of those sports where you can be one with the water, without actually being in it. It enables you the chance to observe what is happening around you, such as watching sea lions at play or tracing the intricate pattern of kelp as it trails into the nether regions of the depths. Yet it also requires vigilant focus and attention to the hazards and dangers that may be ever lurking; rip tides and being dashed against the rocks, or dodging sailboats in the shipping lanes.

As my husband Paul and I were kayaking this morning, we had just finished a long stretch of synchronized oaring to travel against the rising tide and wind, and were enjoying just floating along. We realized we were not alone when several seals came alongside us. Not wanting to disturb them, we watched silently as they kept surfacing ever closer, curious about this unknown thing in their environment. Because we were looking to our side, watching the two playing hide-and-seek with us, we almost ran right into a third seal directly in front of us. We noticed it at the very last moment, just before its nose disappeared under the waves, and of the plopping sound he made as he dove beneath the surface.

Those seals playing around us reminded me of the unlimited choices we have as rational human beings. The difficulty is recognizing those choices, and taking the initiative. We have the option of moving quickly through the water, ignoring what’s right before us, focused only on the next task ahead, project to complete, or email/message to send. But we also have the opportunity to lean back, gaze at life around us, and use all of our senses to see what’s happening right in front of us. Difficulty arises when we get caught up in a significant life transition. We get so focused on getting through, that we forget we have choices along the way. The time we spend examining those choices, selecting the best option for us and considering our desired future, creates a sense of possibility and underlies the recognition that we can be the masters of our own fates.

As you embark upon the change and transition in your life, refer to my Choice Gauge to remind yourself that you always have choices. The object is to sometimes slow down and look at what’s right before you to recognize those opportunities.