Choices that can Change your Life | Caroline Myss | TEDxFindhornSalon

Translator: Rhonda Jacobs
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven As someone who has been
in the healing arts for many, many years – well, for some years – (Laughter) I am an observer. Those of us who are in the healing arts, we are observers of the patterns
that mystify us in what makes- Why do we become ill?
Why do we break down? What helps us to become better? I mean, we are great
mysteries to each other, and I find it so interesting that for all the years
that we continue to study us, that we are such mysteries. Which should tell us right off the bat that we continue
to open places within ourselves, that we ourselves,
as we are the observers, that we are continuing
to learn how to observe, and that we as human beings are continuing to find places to observe. Let us say that the world behind our eye is our new frontier. And that we have become
intrigued with ourselves in a way that other generations have not, that this is the new frontier;
we are the new frontier. And so observing, for example,
why we become ill, why we don’t heal,
has a different meaning than if that question were asked before World War II. The depth to which
we now look at ourselves, and the depth to which
we’re asking that question is a hologram compared
to how once upon a time they asked and they were
maybe looking for an infection. We are looking for a story, a narrative, reasons that are a complexity. When I’ve been working with people now
for three and a half decades, and as an observer of people, there are so many, many things
I could share with you, but I’ve narrowed them down,
for obvious reasons, to choice. I want to emphasize the power of choice. And perhaps there was a time
when we wouldn’t even talk about it, but we have to talk about that today. Because choice is a fundamental power
of the human experience. We need to put choice as an authority, as a power that is so huge that if I ran the world – this is where you should say,
“That’s a good idea” – (Laughter) if I ran the world, I would make studying the power of choice
part of every school curriculum. That everyone should learn
that the power of the choices you make have infinite consequences. From the littlest choice
to something that is great big, huge, and that – here’s the paradox – you have no idea what a little choice is or a big choice. What we are used to doing is believing that a big choice
is an obvious one: buying a house, getting married, getting divorced. In fact, those are your small choices. The choices that actually matter
when it comes to your health, when it comes to healing, when it comes to positioning yourself, empowering yourself, are the tiny ones that- are the choices, I should say,
that you think have the least power, that you make in the privacy
of your own company, that perhaps you think
are the most insignificant, I have found repeatedly, repeatedly, are the most powerful
choices of your life, the most powerful, that have the most powerful
impact on your biology, on your soul, on your sense of who you are, on your wellbeing, on your whole life map. And I’ll tell you something else that these are the types of statements
that are dicey to make because if someone said, “I want you to bring
proof of this in a basket,” I couldn’t do it. But if you listen
with your heart and your gut, and see if it doesn’t settle well there
like good chicken soup. So I’m going to take you through choices, the kind of choices
that if you came to me and said, “I don’t feel well. I don’t feel well. And I have chronic chronicness. (Laughter) And I go from one chronicness to another. I have chronic chronicnesses. I am always a curmudgeon. Nothing makes me happy. I am always complaining,
and I ache, and I’m exhausted. And I almost make
unexhaustion but I don’t. And I almost like my life
but I actually don’t. And I almost can love someone
but not really. I almost make it there,
where I actually feel love, but I don’t actually really feel it. I think I feel it, so I think-feel. I think-feel. And every now and again
I kind of get a love high, but it doesn’t last. I take two aspirins, it passes. (Laughter) But then I think maybe it is,
but then it’s not. But then it is,
but it almost is, but not quite. (Laughter) So I go to therapist: ‘Is this love?’ But if I try hard enough, but maybe,
so I find someone to blame.” Chronicness. There’s never been people like us
who have these issues. We’re extraordinary in our issues. As I go into this, here’s another thing
that is unique about us. And put this in your chicken soup belly. We are born knowing certain things; we’re wired for it. It’s in our instinct; it’s in our spiritual instincts,
it’s in our soul DNA. We are born knowing
that choice is powerful. Choice is the most powerful thing
we’ve got going for us, and we know it. And that’s the reason why
we’re terrified to make a choice. I’ll ask somebody,
“Where do you want to go for dinner?” “I don’t know.” “Pick a restaurant.” “No.” Can’t even pick a restaurant. People are terrified of making choices. Terrified of the consequence. “You choose.” Terrified of being held accountable
for a consequence. “Well, I don’t know what I want to do.
I’ll think about it.” The morning, the day – Your mind gets the day shift;
your heart gets the night shift. Your mind says, “Well, I think.”
Your heart says, “I feel.” And you don’t let the two of them
talk to each other. Because if they do
then you actually have to do something. Choice terrifies people. Most people will do anything
to postpone making choices. So I’m going to help you out. We’re going to go through
a list of choices that matter, that matter, that make a difference. The first choice is the decision
to actually live an integrous life. And when I say make a choice to do that,
this is the kind of thing I mean. I don’t mean, “Well, I live a good life.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I’m talking full-scale
‘I’m going to walk the way I talk.’ I’m actually going to do it. I’m going to live a life of integrity. Never mind this ‘speak my truth,’
I’m actually going to tell the truth. I’m going to live with integrity. I’m going to make my choices
according to what I say I believe, I’m going to live. And what this means
is that I’m not going to betray myself. I’m not going to compromise myself. I’m not going to put myself in a position,
or put myself in any circumstance, or if I’m in a circumstance,
I’m getting out. Or I won’t force another person, I won’t force another person, to be in a circumstance
in which I know they’re uncomfortable in order to please me. I won’t hold another person captive because that has no integrity. I will not do that. Now, let me tell you something. Liars don’t heal. Liars don’t heal. So you can eat
all the wheatgrass you want, and you can do all this stuff
with seeds and vegetables, (Laughter) but an honest person who eats cat food
will go further than you. (Laughter) Dishonest people, people who lie, people who have moral crises
and do not get it, people who blame others for things
that they do and they know it, people who make choices, and they know another person’s going
to pay for the consequence of that choice and they are conscious of it, they know for a fact that they’re
saying something that is not true, and they know another person’s
going to be hurt by that, people who deliberately
say things to hurt somebody, believe you me,
your body knows you did that. Your mind knows you did that. Your heart and soul know you did that. So don’t tell yourself,
under any circumstances, that the problem with your depression
comes from your childhood. Don’t go there; knock it off;
and make the decision. The decision to live an integrous life
means: get this act together. So it’s not as simple as saying,
“I’m a good person.” Knock it off. This is major league. Second: Are you taking notes? (Laughter) You make a decision: I will not pass my suffering on,
but my wisdom. I make the decision
not to pass on my suffering, but my wisdom. So that from the years of your life,
you make the decision: The gifts that I have to pass on,
I either pass on the wisdom I’ve learned, or I will pass on
at this stage, the suffering. “Oh, my poor life. Ah, da da, da da, da da, da da.” Or go harvest the wisdom. What do you want to pass on? The sludge or the wisdom? That’s up to you. Everybody has a choice,
and everybody can pass on- but again, it’s the choice. It’s the choice; we all have that. And believe me, I am not saying
we don’t have grief, we don’t have pain. But if we look at life, there are certain things
that all spiritual- the great religious traditions, the great spiritual, holy traditions
have in common. One of the lessons of these traditions,
one of the great learnings is that life will never be that wonderful,
rich thing that we want it to be which is what we call ‘fair.’ It will never be that. It will never be
“Well, that’s why this happened.” I had someone tell me one time, “Well, if I only knew.
If I only knew why this happened to me.” And I said, “And what difference
would that make?” What if God sent an angel,
and the angel said, “What do you want? I mean, you’ve been
banging around down here. What do you want?” “I want to know why this happened,
and this happened, and this happened.” What if the angel said, “Because it did”? Now what? Now, here’s the thing: Some of the grief and injuries
that have happened to people are so horrible it’s unbelievable. And the truth is
nothing can make that go away, nothing can make that better. And the model of healing
that we have to have is a model that says healing
is not about ever forgetting those things. It’s not about forgetting. It’s about looking
at what has happened to us and saying, ‘This will never defeat me. It will never defeat me,
but I will not live in this. I have to somehow turn this into my source of wisdom, but I will not live in woe. I will not.’ And that becomes this choice. I have to choose: wisdom or woe. But I can’t make it go away,
and if you can’t make it go away then that is the choice: wisdom or woe. The third: the choice to take risks. Take risks in your life. Don’t wait for proof, take risks. And how does this factor into your health? Because what happens is, what happens when people become ill and they feel their
life force diminishing? They always hit regrets. You will alwys hit the regret stage. You will always hit
the ‘Oh, I should have done this, I should have done that,
I should have…’ You will always hit that place
as you begin to feel yourself weakening, even if you’re going to go right back up. You will hit the regret stage in which
you visit the life you wish you had lived. Even if you just have a cold. And one of the regrets that happens when all of us begin to diminish
in our strength and stamina is we review the life
we should have had, had we taken risks, had we not lived a life
in which the way we make our decisions was based on the fear of being humiliated. ‘What if I’m humiliated by this?’ ‘What if I can’t take
the consequences of it?’ ‘What if I’m too frightened?’ ‘What if I’m alone?’ ‘What if this costs me too much money?’ Well, what if? And to this I would say, go home and ask yourself ‘How many of my greatest
fears have actually really happened? How many have actually really happened? How many of my greatest fears
have really happened?’ and then, actually calculate, write down how many of the most wonderful things
that have happened to me did I actually have anything to do with? And probably… two. I’m giving you the benefit
of the doubt there. Because if you look, and add, most of the best things
that ever happened to you, you didn’t have anything to do with. And if you think, “How did this happen?” Probably through a lot of things
that you know nothing about that were actually very risky
and you didn’t even know that. Don’t take the safe path. Don’t tell yourself that because- When you are making decisions
about what to do, don’t look backwards for guidance, because there’s nothing ‘back there.’ The reason you are where you are
is because that part of your life is over. Don’t look for ‘over’ to chart ‘new.’ Don’t go there. When it’s time to make a decision
about ‘I don’t know what to do next,’ do not go to who you were, what you did, because it will pull you back, perhaps even to places
that don’t exist anymore, to images of yourself that are no more. You are not that person. And one of the ways to weaken you is that it causes you to long for things
that are no longer appropriate, and they’re not in the field yet to come. What builds vitality, what builds the desire
to live your life fully and be present is for you to say,
‘It’s time for something new.’ Be in the newness, not afraid of it. Be in that newness. Be there. Next: Choose new words. I love this. I love this one. When I was growing up-
I’m a wordsmith. I’m a writer, I’m a wordsmith, but I absolutely adore words. I actually went to bed
reading the dictionary. Because every word
is a universe unto itself, every single word,
and in my workshops, sometimes if it’s appropriate,
I tell people, “What I want you to do is come back tomorrow
with three words you’re going to give me – no, make it one – that you will never use again. Just one, I just want one word, and you will never use it again. Never. And I get to have everything
that comes with that word. Everything. And I don’t care if the word’s
two letters, three, four, I just want one word.” So imagine if you decided,
“Okay, I’ll give you the word ‘bug.'” “I’ll give you the word… ‘blue,'”
and you’ll never see ‘blue’ again. Now, I really, really want you
to go home sometime, in the next couple of days,
after you hear this talk, and think about if you really
had to yank a word out of your head, which meant you had
to take the whole world that went with that word out of your head, what would you give
that person, what word? Zebra? You’d never see a zebra again. You really want to give up
seeing that animal? Okay, and everything that went with that. Now, when someone says your thoughts
and your words are not powerful, go to that exercise
and come in through that door, and then construct the words
that you say to another person, word by word. And how powerful every single word is, not only that you say to another person,
but that you say to yourself. What are the words you say to yourself? Words that you should
never utter again to yourself. Words that you should never, ever use. Words that you should say,
‘What is that word doing in my head?’ When we finally do
quantum energy medicine, micro energy medicine, we will finally do energy analysis at a level that includes
the power of the vocabulary that we use. And we will be able to say to people:
Your vocabulary is so toxic, that the vibration of your neurology
includes thoughts, includes frequencies, that are so toxic,
that even if you do visualization, it is offset by a vocabulary that is organically so negative, I don’t care what your visualization is, your vocabulary is fundamentally hostile, it is hostile. If I had to rate your vocabulary, it is fundamentally a hostile one
toward everything you see, toward everyone, and toward yourself. You get up in the morning
and you are hostile. Your first thoughts are angry. You see your life as not enough. You see others as not enough. Your first reaction
to everything is critical. Your first reaction
is “This is not good enough.” “They’re not good enough.” And you hold as two words,
power words: blame and deserve. “I blame them.” “And I deserve this.” And you feel entitled. Three words that are lethal:
entitled, blame, and deserve. And if you could extricate
those three words from your head, you have no idea
how much better you would feel. If you never use those three words again, I will tell you right now
your depressions would be much less, because you’re not entitled to anything. Blaming others, blaming anything
will take you out of your present, and it will absolutely
put such toxic perceptions in you. And you realize all
you have to think about is who’s blaming you for something. And just picture
how many people are blaming you, and how would you like
to dwell in that thought. Because if you’re blaming others,
I assure you someone’s blaming you. Someone’s in therapy
because they know you. (Laughter) So stop looking at the world
through your eyes. Finally, make this choice. Choose to get up every day
and bless your day. Choose to get up every single day
and bless your day. And say, I have no idea what’s
going to be in my day but it is blessed. Why? Because I am alive. And don’t base your gratitude
for your life on what you have, or how you feel, but just because you are. Just because you are! Just because you are. And then hold in your heart this prayer: This day of my life will never come again. I will never see the people
I am looking at again. I will never see this sunrise again,
and I will never see that sunset. I will never see the person
having breakfast with me again just this way. No, nothing in my life like this
will ever come again. That alone, that choice alone should take out of your heart
every bitter taste there is. That it should shape the life around you
with such grace and such beauty, that it would make you
only want to see the present with great gratitude and love. Thank you everybody. (Applause)

About the author


  1. "Someone's in therapy because they know you" – audience reaction was laugh. Audience, what makes you better than anyone to be able to laugh at that statement?

  2. I think the fact that we have become so interested in the “world behind the eye” has a lot to do with Oprah. She has been a true pioneer in the quest to understanding us humans, why we do what we do, and how we can transform our minds. She has started the whole world into thinking in a new way.

  3. Your book changed my life many years ago and I contribute you as part of how my Lupus went into remission and I’ve been able to conquer chronic pain caused by length dependent small fiber neuropathy caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome……. all things that “cannot be fixed”. Well I believe otherwise and your work helped me discover that as well as lead me to answering my calling as a shaman. The shamanic path has not be an easy one, but it has been the greatest! Thank you and many blessings. 🕯

  4. Mysteries? I've been teaching for 30 years and what I see is a lot of really bad parenting and governments which don't respect the importance of children's education. Today's parenting (and schools): give the child a computer and ignore them. What we're seeing is the results of bad habits that parents have reinforced for 20 years. How about parents teach their kids to cook? How about schools have reliable fitness and music classes?

  5. Great speech. Thank you! I’ve created Life Podcast on my page to help uplift people also. It’s my way to help people heal and thrive! God bless you all ♥️

  6. Only thing I disagree with is "you are not entitled to ANYTHING. .." This statement contradicts much of what she says after…it's like calling yourself worthless and undeserving.

  7. My father-In law lived for 94yrs. He lived by dishonest nature. He didnt apologize until hes death bed. He left me with a mess of a grown man husband. Four generations of🙄 narcissist behavior. I have learned to be wise not wow 🤓

  8. This woman is legendary she has the exact thing that everyone needs to have in the world and we will be better technologically and as a species

  9. The reason we are on this fierce search for meaning now is because we don’t know ourselves. We try to find meaning in our jobs, in pleasure, in hobbies, but all meaning lies within. Find what’s in the way of your joy, and you’ll be set free. Nobody can figure it out but you.

  10. I first listened to this shortly after my father had passed away and I was teetering on depression.
    I must have watched this 30 times over the next several weeks. Her statements helped me turn my focus into something I could use to move forward.
    I can’t say enough about how much this helped me begin to heal. I still watch it once or twice a month for a refresher !

  11. I can honestly say that I sometimes have a hard time following Caroline's unique style but then as I listen until the end, I have these wonderful gems of wisdom for me to keep, apply and share. I am a fan of her since the 80's when she introduced the energy medicine and intuition. I feel connected.

  12. This dear lady is missing the point that the ppl lack integrity don't see it that way AT ALL, they trully believe that are good ppl.

  13. Bless you dear Caroline. ❤️You are and will always be my gardian angel 👼
    Love from Jean Riget ❤️

  14. Wow. One of the most powerful ted talks I’ve ever heard. Thank you for speaking to my soul. Sometimes we forget what we are wired to do, to be. One of my favorite lines that you said was when you spoke about the first choice, and not forcing another person to be in a circumstance in which we know they are uncomfortable. We need to improve in this.

  15. I was priviledged to participate in a Caroline Myss pilgrimage to Machu Picchu in 2002, after having read so much of her work. She was more than insightful, she was and continues to be, prophetic. I honor her wisdom, her experience, her gifts, her many talents and her continued use of 'just the right words' to convey that to the world. And yes, I enjoyed telling her jokes, as I always do…and particularly love her wit and humor. Thank you Caroline for this EVERGREEN message about our power (and responsibility) to choose and to choose wisely, for our health and that of our world. Continued blessings on you!

  16. I'm so grateful that Caroline is still sharing and teaching. Her decades of work are worth the time to investigate. Her style of teaching is powerful and very compassionate. For those that haven't followed her work, I highly recommend checking it out. Diverse and extraordinary how she can drive a point home.

  17. I have decided to be truthful at all costs. As a result, I gained my health back but lost most of my relationships especially family.

  18. So I should just keep taking my narcicisstic father's abuse till my ulcer bleeds? I forgive but should I keep on permitting abuse? That's not healthy either. Putting my foot down gets me more grief. Solution please. Guess at 56 I'm hitting my regret stage for tolerating so much bs from this man.

  19. It gets pretty good about 8 minutes in. Too much irrelevant philosophy at first.

  20. Sounds like a man, stands like a man, looks like a man, dresses like a man. A man called Caroline misrepresenting wombmen, acting in deception.

  21. Thank You so much Caroline! 💗 This is one of my favorite talks by you. Words are Powerful Energy and I’m so grateful I grew up with a strict Mother who impressed upon me the importance of the words I choose to speak. I Love words & all you’ve touched upon regarding the importance of integrity and not lying to yourself or others! Super important and powerful!

  22. I love her talk, but I'm sorry the example are everywhere in business and in politics … people who lie and people who manipulate others, and people who do not live with integrity get very, very far in life. They rule the world, in fact.

  23. Caroline is one of my top two favorite female speakers! Always deep. No doubt, she is one of the smartest women living in this world! Love to listen to her voice. My fav part ….the entire talk! Thank you. Thank you.Thank you. 🙏🏻

  24. Blame, Deserve, Entitled, eliminate the concepts, not just the word. The word is describing a state of being that exists as part of the ego, thus the need to eliminate those sensibilities.

  25. I wish I knew this information when my Mom and Dad were still alive!! 🙁 I hope everyone wakes up to this message… especially to appreciate your parents while they're still here!

  26. Amazing talk. It touched me so deeply. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and not your suffering!

  27. "How many of your greatest fears have come true?" I'm fairly practical and a planner, so I've always had a "worst case scenario" in my mind. The past 7 years have shown me that I WISH my greatest fears had come true. Because what happened was way worse than I knew was possible. No major crimes (well, ex husband commits felonies towards me regularly but no one cares, least of all the court). All this, and I've only made one decision that I knew was "wrong" at the time I was making it. I've paid for that one in many ways. The rest, I did the best I could and wouldn't change most of them if I could, very few regrets with how I've stood in my integrity. I stay in gratitude, learn lessons as best I know how, but each thing that happens is worse than the one before. I've always believed that living in my integrity was the way to go, but I'm going to need a sign ASAP or I won't last much longer.

  28. Brilliant. There are incredible insights on how to truly live life without suffering if we applied this WISDOM.

    ' This day in my life will NEVER come again'

    Thank you Caroline Myss ❤️✨❤️

  29. I must've listened to 100 TED and TEDx talks and this is definitely one of the better ones. I'd remove the word and the universe associated with the word "Tanya"

  30. Thank you so much Caroline, i feel iam blessed i stumbled upon this great content of yours full of wisdom

  31. 23:06 "Three words that are lethal… entitled, blame, and deserve. Blaming others… will put such toxic perceptions in you." In the US we have an entire political party dedicated to this toxic philosophy. At least half of our country has this diseased mindset. They are constantly triggered and offended and always blaming others. I wish they would hear this message, open their eyes, learn to enjoy their life, to make it better every day, and stop demanding other people do it for them.

  32. It is insane how much she speaks from my heart. But sometimes things and situations are flooding me with such negativity that I fail to stay in character and loose myself to depression. I then need to be strong and remember who I actually am and want to be. this TED Talk reminded me again and I am grateful! Thank you

  33. God sent this wonderful woman to send me a message; that I should decide to take risks and stop playing safe. Awesome message 🙏🏿

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