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How to Find Clarity When You’re Confused About What to Do

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“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.” ~Cicero 

You know that state of confusion where you feel really unsure about what to do—you’re talking about it with all of your friends, making lists, weighing options, lying awake all night?

As truly confused and unsure as you may feel in those moments, you’re not. You have much more clarity than you think.

Re-read that last line again. You have a lot more clarity than you think. You see, clarity is what you are. It’s what you’re born with, it’s your true nature, and it’s what is always there underneath the mess of confusing thought that sometimes dances on the surface.

Confusing thought is there in spades. Being lost in your own personal thought is what produces the feeling of confusion.

But are “you” actually confused? Nope, not in the least.

If I Am Clarity, Why Do I Feel Confused?

The feeling you call confusion is a big to-do that’s created in your mind when you have all kinds of conflicting thoughts (for example, do it, don’t do it, take a chance, why fix what’s not broken?) and you seriously entertain each of those as if they are helpful or important.

You innocently treat those thoughts as if they are each deserving of consideration just because they happen to be there, forgetting that thoughts are just blips of energy—they don’t possess qualities like “deserving.”

When you’re in a big thought storm and you grab onto each disagreeing thought that wizzes by, it feels like serious brain muddle.

Real as it seems, the confusion is an illusion. You nearly always know what you want to do—but you have too much thinking about it all to just go with what you deep-down know.

For example, I have a ton of thinking about leaving my kids for a few days. I mean a ton.  My separation anxiety is unenlighted to epic proportions.

I can very easily rattle off a dozen or more reasons to not travel without them, even for very short trips. If I were to make a decision based on my emotions or on the availability of solid “reasons,” I would surely never go.

So when an opportunity for me to learn from some incredible people next month—for four and a half days, thousands of miles away (the kids will go to bed without me tucking them in for five nights; it literally makes me nauseous to type that)—I knew I couldn’t do it.

But just a tiny bit more than that, I knew I had to do it.

And so I told my husband about the opportunity. That was a huge step because, although it’s ultimately my choice, he rarely lets me bow out of things I truly want because of something as minor as insecure, wavering thinking.

I was right. As soon as I told him, he told me to stop being ridiculous and book the trip. Even though it means he’d be alone with two toddlers for four-and-a-half days, he said “It’s a no-brainer, book the trip.”

I can’t. I can. I can? Can I really? I couldn’t. I went on and on like that for the better part of an hour, while he lovingly said, “You’re a basket case; just book the trip already.”

That basket case state where you are honestly entertaining the flurry of competing thought and you’re completely unaware of the calm and clarity beneath the thought—that’s confusion.

Clarity

Although it still seems wrong on many levels, I booked the trip because something deeper and calmer tells me that the wrongness is narrow and subjective. Not just because my husband tells me it’s crazy, but because the wiser part of me sort of knew it was all along.

Why I feel conflicted couldn’t be less important.

I’m sure I felt abandoned as a kid and don’t want my kids to feel that way, or something along those lines. But it couldn’t matter less because what happened in the past is not the reason I feel the way I feel now. My current, in this moment thinking—and nothing else—is why I feel the way I feel now.

When I jump on the “Can I? I can’t. I can?” merry-go-round, I get whipped all over the place in a grand gesture of confusion and uncertainty.

But here’s the magical thing I found: when I stepped away from that merry-go-round, something else was there.

I want to be very clear about how that something else looked, felt, and sounded. It did not speak loudly—in fact, it was very easily drowned out by the “I can…I couldn’t” tug-of-war.

It was not an overwhelming feeling of conviction, and it certainly did not erase all my doubts and fears. The doubts and fears were—and are—still spinning.

Here’s the best way I can think to describe it:

If I were to pit the knowing voice that arose from the confusion against the confused voice, the knowing voice would be like me after eight hours of sleep and a good breakfast, and the confused voice would be like me with no sleep and a shot of tequila.

The former just feels a little more trustworthy, a little sounder, and a little more grounded. The latter is louder, more repetitive, and maybe even a little more passionate, but it lacks substance. I get the very clear sense that I might be better served by the former.

That’s how I know that the knowing voice was clarity.

Well, that and the fact that I know enough to recognize insecure, personal thinking by now. I recognize the merry-go-round. I’m quite familiar with the feeling of jumping on board with flip-flopping, fast-moving, fear-rooted thoughts. And I definitely recognize the fast-talking, passionate-sounding voice that feels like me with no sleep and a little mind-altering substance.

I’m familiar enough to remember that when I stay grounded and off the merry-go-round, the thoughts eventually die down. They sometimes come back and rev back up, but then they simply die down again.

And when they finally die down enough—which tends to happen faster the more I stand back and let them do their thing—that knowing voice is still there. That voice is constant while the others aren’t.

Yet another sign that it’s my always-there clarity.

Multiple Versions of Reality

Since I’ve committed to going on the trip, it’s been really fascinating.

There are ways I can think about it that make me break out in a rash. When my mind creates images of my kids feeling abandoned, or when it creates feelings of those four-and-a-half days being the slowest….days….ever, I suffer.

But those images and feelings always fade at some point and I stop suffering.

There are also moments when my mind creates totally different images and feelings, and I feel enthusiastic and eager to go on the trip.

What has become very clear is that there are multiple versions of reality available to me at any given time.

Luckily, I know that. I know that even in the middle of an anxiety-provoked rash, I’m only experiencing my own very biased perception of events, not events themselves. This is especially obvious when I consider that I haven’t even gone on the trip yet. I haven’t been away from my kids, and yet I’ve suffered over being away from them. How crazy is that?

So, knowing that my suffering is only due to my current-moment version of reality helps a lot. It also helps a lot to remember that nearly every time I’ve been totally positive something will be a horrible experience—yet that tiny knowing voice suggests I do it anyway—it ends up not being so bad.

You can remember these things too, because I’d bet anything they are also true for you.

The more you learn to recognize your own knowing voice and distinguish it from the loud, repetitive, flip-flopping doubts, the more you naturally cut through what looks like confusion and simply do what you already know to do.

Editor’s Note: Amy has generously offered to give away two copies of her new book Being Human: Essays on Thoughtmares, Bouncing Back, and Your True Nature. To enter to win a copy, leave a comment below. You can enter until midnight PST on Monday, February3rd at midnight PST. 

Photo by Aya Demeter

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Jessie_Sue

    <3

  • Reshy

    What you say resonates completely!!! My self created confusion, much like in your own case, has cost me my marriage! But I’ve learnt my lessons and am evolving…thank you for sharing!

  • Tim

    Thanks for the advice. I will listen for that knowing voice, as I am in the middle of a big decision that affects my whole family.

  • RawMilkmaid

    Such an inspiring article! I can absolutely relate to the “I can’t. Can I?” carousel. Recently, I decided that I wasn’t going to be a slave to it any longer, and have taken steps to begin intentionally living a wholehearted life. Your advice is fuel to the fire of my determination. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • Jessica

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. Wonderful article! Thank you so much.

  • BryJovi

    This article sums up a lot about what I have been going through in my life. I have what I like to call a VERY active imagination. That “Merry-go-round” of thoughts has spun itself into some crazy stories in my life, and I’ve let it, worse: I’ve believed them. I’m happy to read articles like this that really pinpont issues that are “real-life” and ways that they can be dealt with. Thanks for this read!

  • Anna

    Great point of view! Love the analogy of the drunken you vs the well rested you. Loved this as I have been battling back and forth in my own mind for a few months on where to decide to live in the coming year. Loved it!

  • Aleks

    This is wonderful and exactly what I needed this morning. Thanks!

  • photographise

    Something that I used to do quite often myself, and have recently started listening to overcome the confusion, but always nice to hear it with someone else’s words!

  • http://christyherself.net/ Christy

    Another great article with great advice. Thanks Amy! :)

  • KiWii KoneKo

    This was a beautiful article I simply loved the way you explained the carousel and the clarity. I am having a lot of trouble finding my inner voice and sense of peace this article and further reading can really help me shed some light on some ideas running through your mind. I would love to read your new book.

  • Brittany

    Truth. Thank you <3

  • Rachelle Groza Martinez

    I need to step off the merry-go -round, thank you.

  • rhuston

    I’m glad you are going on that trip! Years from now, your children may well remember that you left them for five nights but they probably also remember it as the time you came back with so many new ideas and energy and an even more powerful love for them.

  • disqus_JjVQ0DZAtX

    Your description of the two voices is spot on, I will have to remember that next time tequilla me tries to tell real me to live in fear.

  • http://www.AngelBabyProductions.com ryan angel

    This rang true for me as well. I’m always looking for that small still voice.

  • Amy

    Exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for this great article! ~ Amy

  • Talya Price

    “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.” That statement is completely true. You are wiser, no one else knows what is best for you. Thank you for this article.

  • Denise

    I want to Thank You for your article, thoughts, and suggests to break through the negative situations and thoughts that arise when we are trying to make a decision. I have been looking for a way to express these same thoughts and sentiments with my son who is trying to make decision about the course of his life. I plan to share your article with him. I believe your true to life example and your explanation about what is going on in all of our heads will help him to understand that everyone has this thought processes and his indecisiveness can reach a point of clarity if he will just get out of his head!!!

  • Natalie C

    Today my thoughts and objectives for the day were flailing and this article brought me some tools for the navigation towards clarity. Thanks! Great article!

  • Kay

    Great post! I really enjoyed and appreciated your thoughts.

  • http://projectsimplelife.com/ Mariel

    That’s really awesome! I tend to be the person that makes rash decisions even in the state of confusion thinking what I think I want is really what I want… All too often, I make mistakes and go down a road that isn’t exactly the “best” choice. I am learning to sit with a thought for some time since my rash decision making is not exactly working for me all the time. So your thoughts on knowing what you want even when your confused may actually not be the best choice or even the right one for you…. I guess we will never know unless you try right? Anyways, I’m glad to read your story on this!

  • Amy Johnson

    Exactly, Mariel. I love the idea of just waiting. When you’re confused, just wait rather than dive into action and that alone gives the confused thoughts time to fade, making room for something wiser to take over. Good for you!

  • Amy Johnson

    You’re so right–the trouble isn’t the presence of the thoughts, it’s believing them. I’m so glad this was helpful to you!

  • Amy Johnson

    Good for you! Glad you’re stepping off the carousel :)

  • Amy Johnson

    Remember that your inner voice and that peace is always there, it’s only ever covered up with a lot of thinking. When you wait and let the thinking settle, you often find the peace right underneath. So glad this was helpful!

  • Amy Johnson

    I really hope you are right!! Either way, I’m glad I’m going too (even though my head is still very ambivalent about it!). Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Amy Johnson

    I hope it helps him, Denise. Thank you for sharing it with him!

  • Gem Harris

    Just what I needed today, thank you Amy! That frustrating voice can get so loud sometimes… And the louder it gets, the more muddled I get! It’s so easy to get drowned in pointless thinking, I often find myself completely inert because my mind is so busy working overtime. Now it’s time to stop thinking and start doing! Thanks so much :)

  • Tove Ghent

    It was really helpful for me to read this and understand that “normal” people, with advanced degrees in psychology nonetheless, go through the kind of anxiety (in particular focused on my child) that someone like me, who suffers from a treatment resistant mood disorder, does. Great article, thanks!

  • Winnie

    Great article. What I needed today. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer

    This article has definitely put my mind at ease a little about a major decision I’ve made to move to Canada to get married and start a new life. The thing that is a huge cause for anxiety for me is the fact that I now have to share custody and visitation with my son in California. I wonder every day if I’ve made the right decision and have seriously considered just giving up and moving back to be closer to him and this has been the case for 4 months now. I feel in a constant state of confusion, anxiety, and even depression, as well as guilt. I will definitely listen to the voice of clarity when making my decision to stay or leave. Thank you!

  • d. spears

    Perfect for me right now as I just booked a 2-1/2 month trip that I’m a bit stressed about. And it hasn’t even happened yet! lol Excellent post; really made me think about it. Thank you!

  • Justin Nicola

    As always, great article. So much to learn.

  • Gracemountain

    Thank you! I’m experiencing “thoughtmares” at the moment, and this post was refreshing to remind me that I truly “know” what to do.

  • Angela Ward

    Serendipitous. This was exactly what I needed to hear at the precise moment I needed to hear it. I’m going to focus on this until it becomes a part of me.

  • Jennifer Hensley

    This article has helped me at a time when I am feeling confused about so many things. I get caught in thought traps too easily and too often.

  • nolbee

    Keep writing such great thoughts!! Good to know everything is already there. I just somehow forgot.

  • Mateo

    I often find that my thinking mind overrides my feeling mind and makes things less clear. When I trust my intuition I tend to do better

  • islandmom

    I’d like to win a copy of Amy’s book. Peace.

  • AmandaJade

    Thank you Amy – much needed read :)

  • Rikian319

    This was a great article. I look forward to reading more.

  • Brian Thornburg

    Where you focus is where you go. If you ARE clarity, then you are.

  • Amy Johnson

    Indeed, Mateo! :)

  • Amy Johnson

    Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m no more or less “normal” than you, Tove! From what I can tell, ALL humans do this to some extent at some points. So we’re in good company!

  • Katie Black

    Thank you for sharing this information. So many times i have gone into a situation dreading it. I work myself up to the point of making myself ill. But everytime, after all is said and done, the sitiuation was not bad at all. Recently, I have embraced positive thinking. Im working at dis-allowing fears and anxiety to get in the way of my success. I am attending Oregon School of Massage, many of the instructors begin classes with grounding exercises, meditation and self love and afformation. This, has given me clarity, confidence and comfort in my life choices.

  • buffos1

    ThisArticleWasVeryHelpfulToMe, ThankYou

  • Denise Copeland

    Great article! I’m learning to better trust my instincts and stop second guessing myself. I guess I’m learning to trust in my clarity! :-)

  • Mooinca

    Reality is what one makes it and focuses on.

  • Amy Johnson

    The thing that helps me in these situations, Jennifer, is remembering that you’re always being guided toward clarity, even in minor, every day ways. Although your decision to move may have felt like a one-time thing, no decision is permanent and things are always changing. As long as you trust that your wisdom is always with you and it’s subtly guiding you all the time, I bet you start to recognize it more and more. I hope you do!

  • Liz DSD

    Really helpful article

  • Joel Sutton

    Great article that really hits home right at this moment. My wife has been on that merry-go-round for the past week and after a couple of days of trying to please all those competing voices finally decided to listen to the voice of clarity. Her decision is probably what will work out best for all of us, but she is still struggling with it. I’m going to point her to this article and

  • ZC

    This resonates with me right now, and I’m trying to pay more attention to the quiet voice that already knows.

  • Anna

    Very relevant to my poor overthinky brain.

  • Patricia

    This sentence and the idea behind it really resonated with me: “I haven’t even gone on the trip yet. I haven’t been away from my kids, and yet I’ve suffered over being away from them.” I’m very prone to suffering over things that haven’t even happened, actions that I haven’t even taken, yet. This kind of preemptive suffering is really draining! Thanks for a great article!

  • Jackie

    I need to stop listening to that little voice. It is so hard but I am working on it every day.

  • Kate

    thank you for this wise advice. and I would so love a copy of your book!!

  • Colette

    Great article thank you! Xx

  • Saskia

    Nice. Just read it after doing some other research on synchronicity/meaningful coincidence. It’s true, we always do know what’s true (for us) deep down and meaningful coincidence can help shine a light on that. Thank you!

  • Caroline Fiebrandt

    Wonderful article!

  • George Argyropoulos

    Great article! When all those doubts arise i remind myself what FEAR really is: False Evidence Appearing Real!

  • jeoihon

    Thanks!

  • Tien Sydnor-Campbell

    Excellent topic. It’s easy to agree with information that is simple and easy to understand, the difficulty is in believing that it’s simple and easy. Wish me luck on implementing this today/tonight/this weekend!

  • Lara Caldwell

    This was the perfect thing to read today. Thank you so much for your insight. Enjoy and embrace your trip!

  • Colin cooper

    Shed obsessive negative thoughts that do anything but heal you. Instead invest 5 mins at the same time everyday to commit to self reflection in a gentle and progressive manner. This will have a fat greater impact than lost time destructively criticising thoughts. Don’t invest the limited life you have by committing to negative thoughts or choices.

  • Phil

    This post just came at the right time for me. I’m also in conflict with my thoughts right now whether to call this girl out or not.. Will she laugh at you, will the friendship be over or not the same as before? This is what I hear from my self doubt. But there is also this silent, calm voice which is telling me Do it! You have nothing to lose, only experiences to gain. Thanks to this post I pretty much made up my mind about what to do. Thank you :)

  • Artsy Lcee Art

    Awesome Read! I sent this to a friend who will surely and throughly enjoy this. Tahnk you Dr. Amy!

  • Sherran

    Thank you so much Amy, mirrors my current situation and I found it helpful and insightful :)

  • Andrea

    Easier said than done! But, I needed this reminder today. Thank you.

  • Becky Visco McKeirnan

    I always struggle with the “conflicting realities” & worry whether I’m making the best, the right choice. This is especially relevant to me now as I try to sort through the feelings & decisions of whether to continue as a stay at home mom to my toddler, return to my previous line of work, or try to discover a new path. It all comes with so many “can I’s, shoulds, & couldn’t’s”. Thank you for this small hint at hoped for clarity.

  • Alisha

    Thank you. I would love to read it!fingers crossed..

  • Patricia Ann

    I wanted to read this article with “I can see clearly now that the rain is gone” playing in the background. Also I am interest in Amy’s book.

  • Toni Greene

    I needed this today. Thank you for helping me reclaim my personal power

  • Cindy

    The “Can’ts”, The “Wouldn’ts”, The “Shouldn”ts”, The “Don’ts” all leave us a little ‘thinner’, a bit more distanced from the Fullness of Who we Are and (perhaps) were always Meant to BE. And yes, I certainly recognized myself here, after what seems a lifetime of mostly saying “No” and risking my own stake at opportunities, in exchange for some false sense of security. Through it all, I realize, my journey isn’t over…and so, as each new year approaches and every breath is seen as a benevolent light in which to garner strength and KNOWING…I move along…quietly trying….to Remember….<3

  • Michelle

    Thank you Amy! This is me a good deal of the time lately. I get so lost in my racing thoughts, fears, doubts that I fail to see that it is really all ok.

  • Mackenzie

    Very insightful description of how to tell clarity and confusion apart. Something definitely clicked when I read it:)

  • Stella

    I think that’s a really good way to decipher the situation, thank you for the idea. Recently I have been doing this flip- flop thing almost every day regarding a specific issue, so I will try this technique and see what happens =)

  • Jennifer

    What a truly wonderful article!!

  • Donn Scott Miller

    I have been learning a lot from these readings since I connected with you. Thoughtful ways to step back and see what is real and what is only perception has given me a better perspective on what drives those conflicting feelings. Thank you for adding a little more sanity to a blessed life. :-)

  • Julie

    Thank you — I needed this reminder!

  • tara2175

    Very useful great way of explaining difference between a wise voice in comparison to a niggling doubt

  • Diane Hughes

    Enjoyed the post and would like to be in the drawing for a copy of the book.

  • Sarah

    This is timely, thank you :)

  • Kristy

    Thank you, I really needed this although it is easier said than done. Been struggling with some decisions so I can definitely relate to everything you wrote.

  • Kristie C

    I can really relate to this, and have actually been struggling with it for years! I cannot make a decision on my passion in life. I’ve left, and re-entered college several times for several different things. I have to search deep inside of myself and stop remaking, and throwing away decision because of my inner conflicts and others’ opinions. I’ve come to that conclusion now in life, and I’m trying more and more everyday to connect with that clear inner voice.

  • Angela Williams-Dunford

    This is an ongoing issue for me as I attempt to find clarity on matters of my health. Seven years of trying different remedies, doctors, methods of healing, etc. Some work and some don’t. Its a process. That I realize. It gets hard to trust myself when so many paths I have taken have led to dead ends. I will take the advice in this article, and try and listen for the clearheaded voice rather than the most passionate one; I think there is definitely something to this.

  • Lauren

    I loved this article! Thank you!

  • Paz

    the timing couldn’t be more perfect!! love the article and would love to get her book!

  • maryclare

    This article couldn’t be more serendipitous. I struggle with this in relation to going on vacation (i.e. I can’t save enough money, I will lose money from not working etc.) to taking a leap of faith in a deeper, creative way (i.e. I don’t have time, I’m too tired from working, no one will really care etc.) Thank you for “clarifying” :)

  • RJ

    Thanks Amy for reminding me about my powers..I am the only one who knows what is right for me and I should trust on me.

  • JewelRaquel

    This article speaks to what I’m going through right now. Super confused and needing clarity… or at least a calming of the mind and heart. Thanks!

  • Jana

    Thank you, Dr. Johnson, for reminding me that I know me best. :)

  • LeeAnn

    This came along at the absolute best time ever. I have been on a merry-go-round from hell for the past 6 months in both my professional and personal life! Bless you … it is good to know I am not crazy after all!!

  • vicki

    The ‘current moment of reality’ is something I have been working to remember although I never thought of it exactly that way before. Keep thinking the worry is going to produce the outcome where as no worry would let the out come come as it may…

  • Sophia Naz

    I struggle with this so much, from social situations to figuring out if i should move abroad and live the life that plays only in the imaginative movies i create for myself. Its so difficult let go of doubt. This article really helped me especially where it says “It also helps a lot to remember that nearly every time I’ve been totally positive something will be a horrible experience—yet that tiny knowing voice suggests I do it anyway—it ends up not being so bad.” that resonated with me in a lot of the situations that I almost missed out on because my stomach was in knots just thinking about what could happen. Thank you!

  • Claire de Zoete

    Brilliant post! Thanks Amy, a wonderful reminder of that quiet, calm voice we all know and can tap into.

  • Onie

    Perfect. My partner moved overseas for work and we both knew we weren’t a ‘forever’ couple and I ‘know’ someone else is out there for me but try telling that to the pain. we’re having trouble letting each other go.

  • MeliMel

    Thanks for this! It can be hard to distinguish that knowing voice at times, though…

  • LeslieDawn

    Crazy how I needed this! Thank you so much…….

  • Beth Gallagher

    As usual, the post comes at the perfect time for me! Thank you, and I’d love to read your book. :)

  • Monica

    This is an article I will keep and review very very often. Thank you.

  • Anna Harrison Griessel

    Thank you Amy. Great post. What I like most “What has become very clear is that there are multiple versions of reality available to me at any given time.”

  • melaneecarmellapackard

    I not only enjoyed THIS post…but EVERY post you make! Thank you for helping my life get better and better!!

  • iamthisage

    I think of the calm as my neutral center amid the voices. I hold the center and listen, take what is relevant, and thank all my “selves” for sharing. The voice that tells you, for the safety of your children, not to go, that you simply cannot leave them is an important voice. It’s the part of you that knows you are responsible for your children’s love and care. And it will convince you that this is the only truth, but it’s only part of the truth because another part of you knows that you can both leave and care for your children. So, you listen to both voices, consider carefully, thank them for sharing, and make a decision. I try to remember to treat these other “selves” with respect because if they feel pushed aside, it only makes them scream louder! Great article! Thanks.

  • Maddy

    Very timely article…thanks! :D

  • Zepha Wright

    I have two minds about an issue that I have no clarity on. Is it possible to have 2 desires simultaneously or am I still somehow still denying what I really want. Enjoyed this article. Could use the extra assistance the book could provide. Tiny Buddha is such a wonderful site and has been a joy to find in my newsfeed each day.

  • j nelson

    Clarity can only happen in silence and getting rid of all the ‘noise’.

  • Alison Aitken

    I have trouble discerning between the two. I think I need the book

  • Jesse

    Definitely needed to hear this today/this week/this month!!

  • Joelene Mitchell

    Thank you so much for this article. My mind is very good at creating clutter and noise so that I second guess myself and the decisions I make.

    At the moment life is serving up several big shake ups at the same time and I am feeling completely overwhelmed. My mind is having a party bringing so much clutter from all of these areas into one place all at once. It’s clutter overload!!

    This article is very timely and I’m looking forward to gently finding clarity and listening to her gentle, trustworthy and balanced advice.

  • ReBecca Poulsen

    Boy this article could not have come at a better time. I need a 2nd vehicle, that is more reliable. I test drove bunches and picked one and then went through my usual anxiety about committing to such a purchase. Two weeks later I still haven’t made a commitment to what I know I need. Thanks for your words of wisdom and confirming that I’m not the only one who deals with this.

  • Cassie D.

    Having just recently left my husband, this is exactly how I feel. Though there are many conflicting thoughts on what I could do, should do, want to do, and have to do, I know that beyond all that clutter is the truth and clarity of my situation and I know exactly what i should be doing, what i want to do, and have to do to move on. It’s just mind bogglingly difficult to wade through all these messy thoughts cluttering my brain right now.

  • Carly

    “You innocently treat those thoughts as if they are each deserving of
    consideration just because they happen to be there, forgetting that
    thoughts are just blips of energy—they don’t possess qualities like
    “deserving.”” This was a powerful statement for me. I’ll be writing this down for when I need to come back to this..

  • Luna Azul

    Great Article. Thank you. <3

  • Shannon

    Wow, this is amazing. Exactly what I needed to hear. And you have been the first person to truly help me to understand the different voices. Your analogy is perfect and you have given me clarity where many others have not been able to.

  • Grace Richardson

    I love the reminder that suffering is based on an interpretation of reality. I’m trying really hard lately to remind myself to be present and ask myself how I feel in the moment instead of worrying about something that hasn’t even and maybe won’t happen. Thank you for the post!

  • Wildheart

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! This is so very much what I needed to hear right now! :)

  • Sarah

    What a wonderful post to read today! I thank you for dispelling the “confusing” thoughts that often come to mind often when I am looking forward. I look forward to reading more of your work. Thank you to Lori Deschene for recognizing your work here and sharing it with her readers!

  • Leah Silver Graves

    this is the perfect post for me today! I just made it to the 3rd step in the PhD application process. My interview is next week! Thank you for a great post.

  • Alison Harvey

    Thank you for your articles, very helpful :)

  • Leah Silver Graves

    No chance for a long distance relationship or even a good friendship?

  • Sylvia Roder

    I love your clarity on this! When I’m truly stuck in my confusion, I find coaching (coached or self-coached) is such a great tool to get to my reality (what my real self deeply knows is right for me). I love that coaches don’t ever give you answers or advice – that’s someone else’s reality – only questions to help you find your own inner clarity…and the amazing thing it IS in there, I find my own answers every time.

  • Andi

    I am in the midst of reinventing myself in the second half of my life. I didn’t plan on this… nobody ever does, but I have 3 kids that depend on me making the right choices. I struggle with clarity on making those choices every single day.

  • momofmunchkins

    This is great. Struggling with this right now about a major decision & how it will affect everyone in the family (especially the 3 kids). thanks for the post!

  • http://www.jesleephotos.com Jes Lee

    Thank you for this essay. It really hit home for me today, and I will be printing out a copy for my journal.

  • Andreea Dican

    It’s amazing how deep down we know what we truly want and yet give in to every thought that will stop us from getting it…

  • Kim

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder. When I struggled with a similar feeling while working on my PHD my husband said that my son would be proud of me someday for bettering myself. I felt so guilty being away from him while writing papers and such, but as my hubby said- you’re doing something good for you, you’re not selling crack! A good dose of rationality is always helpful when I am anxious! Remember the REASON you’ll be away is a good one.

  • C J Foornink

    Wow ….totally needed that right now. I call that little voice of reason my intuition or gut – it’s YOU trying to get your attention while those other crazy thoughts are running around in your head.

  • Marie Flanagan

    Literally just what I needed right now – I’m currently finishing my Undergraduate degree and have been listening to those confused voices for well over a year now concerning what my next step will be. I have two ideas of what to do and although the confused voices make plenty of logical reasons for one and against the other, the debate has been ongoing simply because of that little voice of clarity; a voice which assures me, that despite all the reasons against it, I just need to go the other direction. It’s hard to explain that voice but this article makes it so clear and helps a lot! Thanks :)

  • Reg

    You are right in so many levels regarding clarity. The article has also brought clarity to a recent decision regard a move real soon. Thanks for the clarity I already had.

  • kmac

    Good article. I need to get to my knowing voice!

  • muddypixie

    How enlightening…. I feel like I’ve read this just in time to deal with a lot of new transitions. Thank you for your wisdom.

  • Maarten

    maybe you dont want to leave yr kids because it reminds you on your own experiences as a kid. wich you still surpress, and light up in this particular situation with yr kids.

  • Maarten

    you dont want to happen this memories that you have to yr kids, and project it on them amy. you want to protect them from your own experience.

  • nikki

    This has really helped me in a few areas Thanks. I’m looking at dating again after my marriage ended 4+ yrs ago so many conflicting thoughts have held me back. Also I’m looking at starting my own business and again those bloody voices have delayed the process. This has really highlighted the benefits of meditation to get to the core of my knowing. Thankyou

  • Patricia

    Fantasic article! I’ve had nothing but constant change and difficult choices since 2011. One thing I have learned, is to let go of the inner chatter, listen to my “gut” and (most importantly) trust that the universe will provide what you need. Once you trust yourself, then the inner peace will come.

  • JJ

    This was a delightful read. It caused me to stop. Take a deep breath and sort of roll my eyeballs inward to take a peep inside where it was indeed a bit calmer. Whew. Yep, you are right. There appears to be a sane person hiding in there amidst the chatter. THANK YOU!

  • Erica Berrington

    Oh my – yes please.

  • CT

    Aaaaah, man! It is amazing how these blogs pop up in life at exactly the right moment. Completely absorbing me are my definitely sleep-deprived thoughts about a decision to take up an internship that will mean suppressing some of my true-nature, but is also an opportunity to create, lead and encourage other young people in a way that I didn’t think would be present for years, if ever. This is a prompt to chill out, I think. I’m looking forward to hearing my intuition.

  • Hollie

    Thank you for this! It’s just what I needed at this moment. I’ve emailed it to myself so I can go back and reread when I’m feeling the flip-flopping of thoughts. Interested in reading more in your book.

  • glitch

    That was very insightful, and yet sadly I know I will still torture myself over every little thing. Thank you.

  • Amy Johnson

    Have you heard people say that if you know you’re crazy you’re not too far gone? Hopefully that will apply here…if you know you’re only torturing yourself, it makes the torture a little more bearable. I hope :)

  • Amy Johnson

    Yes, chilling out is often an intuition invitation! Good luck, sounds like you can’t make a “wrong” choice either way.

  • Amy Johnson

    I hear you…the pain might be there. Somehow though, knowing that you’re doing the thing you “know” to do changes the pain a bit, in my experience. It still hurts, but it’s a calmer, wiser hurt. xoxo

  • Amy Johnson

    I’m sorry for all of that clutter, Cassie. Rather than wadding through it, I find it helpful to just hang out, not act on anything (unless you really feel compelled to) and wait for the clutter to clear out a bit on its own. It will, even thought it might not feel like it will. It always does. xoxo

  • lizacat29

    Your wonderful article just underscores what two other teachers I have been following for the past couple of years keep saying…Pema Chodron and Eckhart Tolle. Thoughts are not reality, truth lies underneath in a quiet place that we can access if we can quiet the clamor of our thoughts. And if we can step back for even a brief moment and observe them instead of whipping them into emotion and judgement..this is right, that is wrong..this is good, that is bad; we can access our own wisdom. It is really less energy draining to stop and wait, to be still and pay attention, but it is that strong lifetime habit of jumping into that whole craziness that keeps us suffering and unable to make a decision. Thanks for putting the lesson in new words for me to hear again.

  • Caroline D

    Amazing article and a great food of thought to clear my confusions during sad moments that creates anxiety and fill me with anger. Keeping these thoughts ONLY in mind it will definitely make me better and less tensed.

  • Desiree L.

    I really feel as if my world is just placing the puzzle peices in front of me lately…I REALLY needed to read this cause I have ALWAYS struggled with my mind and I’m currently going through many many life changes in only the course of the first month of this year. Im struggling with trying to get out of my own head as I find that I often am stuck in a battle of the mind with myself. Gaining clarity through oneself ability to relax, take a step back and LIVE is definitely one of the most dificutl things. Although I am just begining this journey, the small progress I have made is refreshing and I totally appreciate this article! THANK YOU TONS!

  • Willow Lucas

    this was just what I needed at the moment. Thanks.

  • Tabs

    This week has been a week of emotional melt downs for me. I am typically not the type of person to “allow” myself to feel so overwhelmed. I’ve been feeling defeated. I tried to explain to my husband that I’ve been feeling like I am treading water, and I’m just too exhausted to keep trying. Too many choices and decisions.
    Then I opened up this email.
    It’s just what my soul needed to hear.
    Thank you for that.

  • Tara P.

    I have been having the hardest time trying to decide which college to transfer to and what to major in. I’ve been so conflicted it wakes me up at night, tossing and turning, weighing all my options. Needless to say, this post couldn’t have come at a better time! Thank you for some much-needed clarity!

  • Tina U.

    This article was perfect timing for the week I’m having – I have been feeling so overwhelmed by what to do about a number of things going on in my life right now that I couldn’t even make a decision about what envelopes to buy at the store today because I feel so confused about my own ability to make good decisions. Thank you so much – this has helped me to realize that deep down I know what to do and I just need to listen :)

  • laurose

    I enjoyed reading this article, but I am still confused on how to find clarity. I am going through something right now where I am two very strong voices and I don’t know what to do and I just feel like maybe this article doesn’t apply to every situation. Maybe someone can explain it better :-/

  • Tanya

    Sounds exactly like my week. I am so grateful to have this article and comments like yours !

  • Drew

    Great article. Bravo.

  • Ciara

    Thx so much for writing this. It really helps knowing I’m not alone in this oh so confusing mind chatter merry-go-round.

  • Teri W

    Hi Amy. This was a timely article for me personally, as I am struggling with an important decision. At 53 years old and three years from retirement I’m considering going back to school for more classes so that I can become a CPA. This would also require a series of exams and working for a CPA for a year. The idea of a second career is exciting and I think I would love the work, but the idea of getting in the classroom again is holding me back. Your article helped articulate the swirling conversation in my mind. Thank you!

  • Onie

    We are very connected. To the point where I can actually feel what he is feeling. And we will definitely stay in each others lives but not as partners. Thank you Leah xo

  • Tammy St

    Confusion? Oh… I can probably relate. I am a divorced 50-year-old
    female who raised 2 children almost entirely alone. My last born moved
    away for college several months ago and though I have “empty nest
    syndrome” going on that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I am also dealing
    with, menopause, withdrawal from SSRIs, bankruptcy, foreclosure,
    finding a new place to live, an impending job change, AND I am in
    college to obtain an associates degree in nursing. Despite all of this, I
    have managed to maintain a 4.0 (this is my first time at college) but
    it has been a very difficult struggle and I have a lot ahead of me. I
    will be finding a new place to live within the next 3-4 months and I
    will be leaving my job of 8 years this fall because nursing school
    conflicts with the job schedule. This is rather scary. It’s hard not to
    let all of this weigh on me but I am working it a little at a time.
    There have been times when I become downright terrified and conflicting
    thoughts creep in such as, “do I really have what it takes at my age to
    be a nurse? What if I can’t get a handle on the emotions? How can I make
    ends meet while in school?” And those are just a few of the thoughts
    I’m plagued with…

    One thing that really has helped
    me is remembering that thoughts are not me. They are, as you say, little
    blips of energy that float through. I can choose to stand back and look
    at them without engaging an emotional response. Indeed, I find if I
    don’t act on a thought, more often than not, nothing bad happens. It’s
    when I engage them that things tend to fall apart.

    The
    other thing I work at doing is examine what the thought is telling me
    and understand it really is true or not. There might be a grain of truth
    in a thought but it’s my choice to let that grain turn into a giant
    choking vine of negativity.

    Thank you for sharing your story Dr. Amy. You remind us that a current-moment version of reality doesn’t dictate forever.

  • Onie

    That is true. And the pain causes us to grow spritually ( according to him ) :) Thank you Amy xo

  • http://bostonlovessanibel.blogspot.com/ smoochdog

    “What has become very clear is that there are multiple versions of reality available to me at any given time” — This is the part that I have a hard time with, which version is my clarity driven version. It is often the fact that I have two versions that is more troubling than either of the versions themselves. Learning to trust myself is the hardest part.

  • that.girl.next.door

    I have been booked in for gyno surgery to undergo a laparoscopy in about two weeks time. Fear is making me want to back out and this fear is based on similar gyno surgery, and further damage that might be caused to my cervix. Do I back out or not? I was due to have round three of IVF in two weeks time and now Im faced with which one to do. Fear is the factor impinging on my ability to have clarity. Thank-you for your article.

  • Allain

    Thanks Amy! I am having trouble sorting out my feelings with my wife. She is my best friend, love of my life, super beautiful, supportive, kind, loving and generous. The problem is that I don’t feel she feels the same about me. We have been having a rough patch where our perceived misunderstandings just lead to arguments about validation and lack thereof. We are so close that our arguments are actually identical, each of us demanding the same thing. It would be comical if it weren’t so heartbreaking. I want the best for her and if I am not right for her, as devastated as I would be, I wish she could find the person who would make her happy. The problem seems to be that she may not be happy with herself, thereby making it nearly impossible for me to give her what she “needs”. It is like I’m trying to fill a bottomless hole, I’m just not able to be everything she is asking. It seems that every time I do what she says she needs, I am suddenly lacking in whatever the opposite is (if that makes any sense). It is frustrating and I and a real blow to my self esteem to be constantly trying to make up for something she perceives is lacking in the way I am supporting her or the kids. I just want her to be happy but I can’t give her something she is unwilling to find on her own. It is within her, she just won’t look. Any thoughts?

  • DebbieK

    I am struggling with leaving my 25 year career in IT. It is wearing on me. The thoughts just keep spinning around me head on what to do next….i need them to stop so I can figure it out!

  • Overwhelmed

    Going through this exactly right now. Was good to read it for the knowing I’m not alone in the madness of it but I know the gut feeling in my mind is still unable to win in the long run. My actions are not in union with it yet.. But I will do my best :) thank you for writing this.

  • Shreya Sen

    This post really helped me to understand the confusion and clarity that I have been feeling for the last week over a personal matter. Thanks Amy. I hope to win a copy of your book!

  • Jennifer Clayback Bell

    The right words at the right time. Thank you for sharing!

  • Mary Francesca

    Thank you for this article! It really came at a very appropriate time. People always throw around the phrase “follow your heart” but since I was 17, I have always thought, “What if you don’t know what your heart is saying?”. I have always believed that the challenge in life is to get in touch with your inner voice/instincts because we have grown accustomed to silencing it… It requires practice,as you say, but drowning out the chaos is possible…

  • Beverley Anne

    My partner/ ex-partner/ friend (yes thats how confused we are!) are just in the throws of splitting up because he has no passion for life, living or me! The indignant me says I deserve better, where in reality he is amazing and treats me better than I have ever been treated before ( i have always been treated well by all past partners, but never truly princessed like I am now). I have everything with him but no reciprocate passion…. We have both just sat and read this, I hope it washes over both of us for a few days… In 2 weeks we will be on a cruise to fiji and I was planning to change our room set up to 2 single beds :-( i think I’ll wait a little longer now to decide. Thank you for this article xxx

  • Samuel Elijah Hartung

    Thank you for the offer on your book, Amy. I would enjoy reading it, especially as I feel very much able to relate to your thoughts here. I’ve gone through what has basically been hell for me. Many times throughout my life, and I know that I created this hell for myself, in my mind, and that it was never real. At this point in my life when I am just beginning to go out on my own and making some decisions about my future, it can be overwhelming. It didn’t help that for awhile I was lost and going in what I feel is now the wrong direction, and I still worry sometimes that maybe I was wrong to choose a different path in life. But your words have reassured me because you are correct, and I know that deep down this is the soundest decision for me, and one that I would choose again and again, because everything else was the confusion, and this is my clarity. Blessings ! ~Samuel

  • Lisa

    The clear way you explained that really makes it easy for me to transfer your ways to calm the mind to my own situation…….it is actually all my “overthinking”, and lack of belief in clear things I am told, that has led me to have insecurity in my relationship. My inner insecurity creates a whole lot of worrying about what may happen, making me difficult to communicate with, and has now caused even more insecurity as my partner sees all this thinking, talking and explaining about my many fears and “worries” as being self-obsessed and unsatisfiable and so he feels he is wrong for me…Ugh. I know that the less I “worry” about “what-ifs, the securer I will be able to feel, with my own decisions and actions and in my relationships…..

  • pandora

    Very helpful! I so needed to read this!! Great description of finding clarity- thank you! I see you spent an entire HOUR flip-flopping, yikes! I have spent 1 1/2 years paralyzed by indecision. Seriously, each day I flip flop over living in VT, where my 3-year-old daughter’s dad and half brother and sister are (whom she loves), or moving back to NY where my friends and family are. VT has way more positives, like quality state health care & financial security, closeness to her dad, but NY has the connection, the community, the emotional support that I’m lacking here in VT. I feel like I belong in NY, what am I doing being a single mom in a state where I have no one, but how will I make ends meet financially in NY? and how will this affect my girl that loves her Daddy and siblings? How will she handle being away from her mama for such long periods when visiting her daddy in summer? and only seeing her daddy in summer & school breaks? Are the fears the answer? the gut is underneath the fears? meaning NY! I don’t feel fear about living in VT, I feel it about NY! But, I THINK my gut says NY! Should I meditate on this? I had a revelation while hiking- NY is where I belong, I just have fears about how to make it as a single mama there! But since that revelation, I’ve gone back to flip-flopping. If I had a partner here, I would stay!

  • Liz

    I am going through a transition myself and have really been confused about directions to take. What helps me is to realize that no matter what choices I make they are the right ones for me at the time. There are no mistakes, only choices. Clarity comes when I let go of my attachment to outcomes and trust the process. Confusion comes when I am conflicted about what I want. Letting go and acceptance is my only way through to the truth, which is always within. It’s when I struggle with reality that the tug of war begins. I can choose differently or stay the same but ultimately clarity does surface.

  • Nathalie

    I asked my inner master to show me why It’s so difficult for me to make decisions about my life now, why I feel paralyzed. Then a few minutes later I checked Facebook, and found this article waiting for me. This was exactly what I needed to hear. Actually, my own knowing voice had been telling me to put aside all my plans, hopes and dreams, needs and wants and just listen. The committee in my head had to be fired. They were not a cohesive nor productive group. They loved making grandiose and lofty plans just because they sounded import. They were always at odds with each other and no one could make a clear decision about which path to take. Now I’m back in charge and the new mandate is just listening
    and recognizing my own knowing voice, and seeing where it leads me. Much gratitude. May the blessings be.

  • Ravi K.

    I have just changed careers after 7 years, which may not seem long to some but did to me! In the end, the decision to take up a new entry level role was difficult to make, but the tiny voice which you refer to managed to sneak though the overwhelming feelings of confusion!

  • @gmaiLaura

    Thoughtmares – the most perfect word.

  • Corey

    Wow.. this resonates with me on so many levels. Thank you for sharing PeaceC

  • Josh

    Great post!

    Im gonna post this quote up on my wall – “confusion is an illusion”. It’s funny how we edit ourselves, when sometimes the “clear answer” is often right in front of us!

    Josh
    http://www.heartcrack.com

  • snowbird

    Oh, but sleep-deprived, tequila girl is SO loud, SO insistent, SO all-over-the-place! It seems impossible to slow her down, much less stop her at times. Lately I fear this has become my “normal” state of being. I’ve begun a meditation practice. Attempting at least. Any other tips?

  • Ndrew

    Thank you, Amy. I really liked your statement “what happened in the past is not the reason I feel the way I feel now. My current, in this moment thinking—and nothing else—is why I feel the way I feel now.” Although I believe that current circumstances can trigger those feelings from our past, I also believe that we generally have the capacity to use our minds to moderate, if not completely override, those feelings. Enjoy the trip!

    Andrew

  • debsb

    Very helpful article. Thanks!!
    P.S. I NEED your book!! :-)

  • Jim

    It’s interesting that this message come to me now. Many, albeit them good, Tiny Buddha posts I don’t read. This one I did. I’m wavering between retiring and not retiring. I feel I haven’t given as much to recent couple years of students as I have in the past.

  • mdbiyani

    I congratulate u all for ur faith that clarity is there for me my faith is shaken because after the storm of thoughts what to do next remains unanswered and i can tell u it makes me wish death the place i do not know now for relief from this seemingly meaningless existence

  • Beth Sawickie

    Wow! That really spoke to me and helped me to let go of a long stalled project that I KNEW wasn’t working for me any longer. All the what ifs, shoulds and coulds kept popping up. Saving this article to refer back to often. Thank you for writing this!

  • Ram

    Excellent article! Just before reading this- I was in a similar position thinking about should I travel today or tomorrow or a nearby city and weighing the pros and cons several times in my head.

  • Linto V

    Thanks for the good article!!

  • Dorenda

    Man I needed to read this right now. I myself just jumped off a merry-round thought trip and I am exhausted!
    I love how you state to step back and listen for the clear voice. I’ll be holding on to that piece of advice.

  • Mariah

    Thank you for this, I really needed this! I suffer from very intense anxiety and catastrophic thinking patterns so most days my mind is really at war and I’m in the middle trying to make it better, I’m better at finding clarity nowadays but sometimes the thoughts just go on and on to the point of exhaustion and deppression.. I’m also very indecisive and am trying to find my True Self, this article really gave me motivation and ways to do that, thank you :)

  • Sean

    I have been at this crossroads for six months struggling between pain ,rejection, ego ,hurt,FairPlay,and I suppose just a lack of will and fear to let go, since first being told our 16year marriage was over.
    We have a small business attached to our family home and to be near our 14yr old daughter 4days a week is my honest excuse. The fear of that bungee jump leap of faith into the the unknown world of insecurity also plays it’s part .
    You mentioned or hinted that perhaps childhood experiences could also be responsible for the mental chatterbox driven daily battle and I would agree, abuse in childhood leaves many traumatic coping strategies most of which are probably insecurity based and not helpful, but I do hold on to something important that I understand to be true and I hope reinforces your point…

    Two guys sitting at the bar enjoying a drink after a days fishing and while pondering on life the first guy says to the other ..”.what’s it all about ? ..you know,..life..! ”
    Quick as a flash and without hesitation the second guy says ..”.that’s easy ..it’s about doing the right thing…,”!
    So without thinking the first guy then asks .. the second guy without hesitation replies ” that’s just it …. You always know”….

  • Janet Greenslade

    Having so many conflicting thoughts at the moment I really can relate to this. I’ve decided (kind of) to change jobs and follow something I love to do, it’s the first thing I think of and the last thing I think of, I think I even dream about it, but the voice of doubt and the “get a real job” echos loudly in my mind. I’m also trying to get back to the location I feel in my heart I belong, to return home, this will take money, but, with each day I know it’s time to go home.

    To everyone struggling, I hope we all hear the voice of calm and are blessed, be happy =)

  • Jenn P

    So very well timed in my own life – trying to decide on moving to another state. I think our clarity is saying go. The crazed, wild merry go round voice is LOUDLY telling us to stay put. Thanks for this helpful article.

  • andrea

    great article – working on finding the strong voice and following.

  • mandy

    Wow. I suffer with finding clarity all the time. I have literally paralyzed myself with fear and anxiety because of it. Having severe depression and anxiety, taking medications for 25 years including ETC, have made it even harder to think straight. Having made made bad decisions, and fighting through the consequences of those decisions, have made me doubt that there is any true clarity left in me. I’m afraid to do anything and afraid to do nothing. I liked your article, but still don’t understand how to get to that level of clarity. How do you DO it? Hope you enjoyed the trip!

  • Kim

    Wow. This has come at just the right time. Thank you for sharing

  • Nikki Jeske

    “What has become very clear is that there are multiple versions of reality available to me at any given time.” I relate sooo much to this post. Thank you for sharing it. I’ve been feeling incredibly lost lately and it’s words like these that help guide me back to who I am.

  • Lisa Marie

    I’m having the conflicting thoughts with changing jobs. I have only been at my current job for 7 months and a new opportunity came up that part if me feels I should take. The other part is feelings of guilt leaving my current job and boss in a bind to find a replacement. Also at my current job one of my employees is getting ready to go out on maternity leave and I feel bad that I would be leaving them with that as well. I’m rambling…..but this is how my thoughts are right now. I would lose some nice perks if I leave my current job but the new job would offer me to use my degree more and would provide me with a bigger salary. Confused about what to do because I think “don’t fix something that is not broken.” Is my current job broken? Is that part of my life broken?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ARCourtwright Aminda R Courtwright

    Hopefully what they will remember is the time they got to hang out with dad!!!!

  • Thea

    I like your description of the two voices…that makes so much sense, and gives some rather clear signs to look for.

  • Carole Feild Osvalds

    I have had to make and am still making multiple decisions recently due to the passing of my parents and my husband’s (29 years) decision to leave me. I have found all your writings helpful. This one particularly hits home. I struggled with whether or not to take on my parent’s beautiful house on the River. I had many fears and excuses; yes, nos; this went on for months. Once I decided to keep the house, I felt a sense of peace. My current version of reality is how much fun it will be to go there, to have a new project, and just to embrace what is coming, rather than obsess over it! I have learned and am still learning how to sit with things. It so makes a difference these days. Thanks!

  • J B

    I have always had the conversations in my head that make it difficult for me to commit to doing some things. Next time I will use this to look for the knowing voice. When I have gone ahead and committed, in the end, I’ve been very grateful that I did. Thanks for the insight

  • Frank

    This is coming to me at the perfect time in my 65 years. We are retiring and moving south after 42 years in our current home. This and closing my own business of 36 years have me doing all sorts of mental gymnastics. I have absolutely rejected the idea as there are fire ants there, and I could be bitten or even KILLED. What if we get hit by a tornado, flood, killer bees, etc. I realize this move is truly the best thing for me and all this stuff in my head is so much insecurity but the “stepping back” mindset is a good way to calm my mind and realize it is the right decision for me at this time in my and my wife’s life. Thanks for the unrelated but pertinent essay. Frank.

  • Kyomi Dana

    I love the idea of clarity. I feel like this article was personally written for me. I struggle with the idea of clarity and listening to that inner voice that tells me everything will be okay. It is a daily struggle but it was comforting to read this article and know that I am not alone.

  • Daria B.

    I have the bigger question of whether to move forward with the break up from my partner that I initiated (while he is staying elsewhere and asking me to reconsider) or stick to my intuition that it’s not right. Then, the smaller but for some reason soooo stressful in this moment, decision of whether to go to a dinner I was invited to tonight while I’m processing my decision. Do I stay home with myself and let everything “cook” a little or do I go out to see what it feels like to be single and having new experiences? Which one will be more helpful? I don’t know. But I will take your advice and try to make room for the clarity underneath all the back and forth.

  • Sean B

    Sorry guys , I did answer this post earlier but in order to get my point across and with a sense of eureka i made a error in leaving out the important most informative part at the end ,,now I feel that strongly in agreement that I hope you allow the second and completed draft to appear .

    I have been at this crossroads for six months struggling between pain ,rejection, ego ,hurt,FairPlay,and I suppose just a lack of will and fear to let go, since first being told our 16year marriage was over.
    We have a small business attached to our family home and to be near our 14yr old daughter 4days a week is my honest excuse. The fear of that bungee jump leap of faith into the unknown world of insecurity also plays it’s part .
    You mentioned or hinted that perhaps childhood experiences could also be responsible for the mental chatterbox driven daily battle and I would agree, abuse in childhood leaves many traumatic coping strategies most of which are probably insecurity based and not helpful, but I do hold on to something important that I understand to be true and I hope reinforces your point…

    Two guys sitting at the bar enjoying a drink after a days fishing and while pondering on life the first guy says to the other ..”.what’s it all about ? ..you know,..life..! ”
    Quick as a flash and without hesitation the second guy says ..”.that’s easy ..it’s about doing the right thing…,”!
    So without thinking the first guy then asks .”yes but how do you know.if your doing the right thing..?”
    the second guy without hesitation replies ” that’s just it …. You always know”….
    So in the end wether it’s a thought ,action, or word you always know..

  • Dohnbi Kim

    I relate very much with this piece. Although my situation is many magnitudes smaller, I feel the dreadful merry-go-round spinning when I think about having to leave my dog at home alone for 10+ hours once I find a full time job outside of home. It’s a little embarrassing to say, but my dog has become a practice kid for me.

  • AEG

    Going through this tonight and having a good cry over some things. Desperately trying to just know the right thing to do. Unfortunately it isn’t clear just yet. Beautifully written. Much appreciated.

  • Jeralynn Leptich

    Definitely what I needed to hear. I’m trying to figure out what step to take next in life and education and with all the options out there my brain is muddled with all the ideas dancing around in my head. I will work on trying to recognize my my knowing voice! Hopefully I can figure out how to do that :) thanks for your insight, Amy!

  • Jayne

    I am in a very similar situation, I left almost 18 months ago. I have to admit the clarity has still not come to me. I know that I need to continue to dig through the clutter. My mind still spins back and forth. Is it time to move or, or could this relationship be repaired? Were I find myself stall is at “repaired” because is that enough? What isn’t answered in the clutter is “could we flourish and grow together to make each other the best selves possible” or is it just to fix the problem of a broken relationship. We have 2 lovely young daughters who need to know what is next. We are fortunate that we can get along and share parental responsibilities. I really needed this article, I plan to digest it and hope to listen to the solid voice within, once I can hear what she is saying.

  • Cathrine

    Its my birthday, 35 years old. I just broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job and went to visit my best friend in Zanibar. She sits in the next room chanting and a brieze goes through the room. I would love to win the book to better understand the path to fingind my true selv and my clarity. LOVE Cathrine

  • Darla Colter

    What a great topic and what great analogies to express how one is effected by anxiety. I find that I am like a police force negotiator when I am trying to come to a decision in my life. I take hostage all the emotions that cause anxiety and confusion and mix them the true answer just to see who comes out alive…your way seems much easier and much more peaceful. Thanks so much!

  • http://loveforsuccessfulwomen.com/ Janet Ong Zimmerman

    Great message, Amy. It is so true how our minds get in the way of knowing what to do. I’ve found that when I’m not sure what to do, to just be with things. In the process of just being, I’m able to better listen to how my body feels and decide from there. Have a great time on your trip!

  • Sarah

    Thank you what a lovely article :) X

  • Laurie Burns

    Hi and thanks for the chance. I am 30 years old, very bright and eager, but I JUST DON”T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Sometimes I feel like it is too late, or I will never find my “calling”. This causes me so much worry, that I wasting time or will never amount to anything.

  • Dian Vince

    it’s the desire for perfection and being right that cause the chaotic thinking and anxiety

  • Corina

    perfectly time article.. It came into my life today just when I needed it most. Thank you :)

  • Melissa File

    I love this. It seems like articles like this come to you when you need them the most. I am going on a little 2 week sabbatical this month, due to the confusion I have created for myself and having this book while traveling would be so perfect! Grab my iPod, book, and highlighter and let me be :)

  • Prabha

    God! This article of yours is like god sent for me :) i have been struggling since a long time in picking one of the choices always and it drives me crazy as i always cum up with these 2 voices competing with eachother with all pros n cons leaving me no help to pick one over other. I even reach to that state where i almost breakdown before i arrive at a decision. I even prayed hard that i may find something to help me over this problem. Thanks a ton to u. I dont think it is easy to decipher in words the process of mind that easily but u hav penned it down so clear n crisp. Thanks once again.

  • Lisa Mikus

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Guy Moran

    Enjoyed the article and future tripping (ie imagining the worst possible outcome) tends to create a state of confusion for me . . . . you know, because of anxiety it provokes. Then there is the “tyranny of choice” we all get to enjoy these days!

  • Katarina Valverde

    Hi reading this helped me a lot. My brain is a constant mess of thoughts. Feeling of guilt all the time and other emotions that don’t deserve to be there. I’m glad I’m not the only one trapped in my brain. I’d love to read your other books.

  • heatherms2k

    This has been on the the things that I have been working on the past 6-months or so, listening to my gut and not my thoughts. My thoughts have gotten me into a lot of trouble and unneeded stress, quieting those thoughts is a challenge, but one day at a time I will get there. Thanks for sharing your story and helping me know that I am not the only one!

  • g.c.

    This post really helped me gain some perspective. I’ve been thinking about my life and making some career and living situation changes and it seems more and more that my desire to do these things are compelled by the fear of just settling into my current life and allowing myself to love and accept it. I think about my own ability to decide between stressing about a choice I don’t even have to make, and just enjoying the blessings I do have. It’s nice to have some common reassurance!

  • JHH

    “[T]he knowing voice would be like me after eight hours of sleep and a good breakfast, and the confused voice would be like me with no sleep and a shot of tequila.” Perfect!

  • Leslie P

    Anxiety is not the truth. Sheesh, it sounds so simple, but I seem to forget a lot. Thanks for the reminder!

  • LindsayTS

    What do you do if you feel you weren’t blessed with any talents, what if no opportunities come your way?

  • http://exciramedia.com/ Shannon Steffen

    An absolutely brilliant post… and all this time I thought I was alone with these combating voices in my head.

    The thing that resonated most with me is the idea that you may or may not have felt abandoned as a child and this is why you may or may not have these feelings about leaving your own child. I know, for fact, that I felt abandoned as a child and have a problem leaving even my dogs (my fur children) when an opportunity to travel even 2 hours away hits. My anxiety plays into all the things that can go wrong while I’m away and I feel more secure knowing that I’m never that far away.

    The problem is that this stops me from living. My life is so intertwined with the lives of those I love that I’ve not only stifled the natural voice in my head but I’ve shoved it into a very deep well.

    It’s time to help the part of me come out from the deepest parts of my being and allow her to be free again. It will take baby steps but, with your help, I know it is possible. Thank you.

  • Melody

    Very insightful! Thank you for sharing this post!

  • Katie

    This couldn’t have been more timely for me. Your description of flip-flopping anguish is exactly what I’ve been going through for months to the point of heart palpitations. I happily remarried a native Englishman about 3 years ago.

  • http://www.meevolving.com/ Manish@MeEvolving.com

    Just my two cents- It is important to mentally let go of a situation in order to gain clarity. In my opinion this is the first step. If one continues to let conflicting thoughts create havoc in his mind, clarity will never arise. So the first thing would be to let go of the situation completely from your mind. Step 2 is to silently observe the situation. When one observes a situation totally (with full mindfulness), clarity arises (a clarity that is not influenced by past conditioning or prejudices). One must remember that in order to solve a problem, one must first rise above it (that comes from a quiet mind that is observing/watching). Remaining at the same level of the situation or worse still, below it, can never bring clarity.

  • elizabeth v

    How did you get through it ? And what made you leave ?

  • http://blog.coachcurran.com John Curran

    Thanks for your wise insights Amy. I am going through a lot of changes in my personal and professional life, and I have challenges about what to do next. One of the things that I’ve found helpful is to allow my mind to get quiet through meditation. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes of “hanging out” with the clutter before my mind settles and clarity emerges. I’ve discovered that the answers are within us, and found below the surface mind chatter and story that we tell ourselves.

  • Lane

    Onie, I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for 5 years. We also have such a strong bond that I know what she is feeling even though we are miles apart. It’s something that is felt within. She has recently decided she is not happy with herself and wants to be free with no worry. This is very tough for myself because how much we have built together. I am not sure where this is going to lead us but I love her and want to see her be where she wants to be. Xoxo

  • Adarsh

    Hi Amy,

    This post boasted confidence and character in me.
    I have been living in fear ..fear of failure. This failure however has helped me in a positive way , as I hardly failed in academics. Just to know what I have lost- the experience of a failure!

    We, humans tend to succeed and teach the same to the coming generation. It instilled in me a fear of the failure. However having a ‘well paying’ JOB and a career in IT, right after I graduated, seemed just perfect beginning.

    No sooner I realized the hell I was living in. Not going in further details of the job, I left it keeping my pride and honor. Self-Respect is what was on stake and I managed to save it! :)

    Now the ‘pit’ of thoughts. I left my job in march 2014 and now I am down to zero again. With no regrets of my past life, I look in the mirror. I see a bright light and dreams in eyes. I sleep late because I am constantly planning what the right career might be. I need your assistance on the same.

    I would be grateful to you if you can assist me in any possible manner.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thanks

  • Rita

    What a beautiful article..thank you

  • Scotty

    How true this is. Another boiled down version that helps you to remeber your well said essay is this: If you are confused about something, toss a coin in the air to decide. You will KNOW which side you WANT the coin to end up as BEFORE it hits the ground. I think that is your inner clairity at work. I can’t remeber who suggested this to me, but it works.

  • Anony

    I am at the same place.. I can totally relate..! Married for 7 months… and now on the verge of divorce which is initiated by me.. because I does not feel right and I feel my life would be better without him.. But I keep fighting with could have, should have, would have 24*7. Not sure if I should go back and give it a chance or follow my instinct to leave a rich handsome loving husband..

  • Ella

    Sounds like your wife is a perfectionist. Ask her Does she ever hear the voice in her head that says: “I don’t feel good enough”?

  • Ella

    I have a business and I am struggling on getting clear about my marketing message. It has been 6 years and I am not able to get clear on it. I am not able to put it into a sentence that is clear and when I try to say it it never resonates with me. I took numerous marketing experts and none is able to help me get clear on it. There are other issues business wise I can’t gain clarity and it prevents me from being successful. Why is it? What can I do about it?

  • Manvendra Singh

    I don’t know where to start but my life until now is a history/story of failures. And in those failures I cant find myself accounted for as they were like..
    ->Met with an accident when I started my company and had to shut it down
    ->Next time the partner cheated me for some amount of money(I’d have given him if he asked..No need for cheating)
    ->Second accident and I lost my job just after 5 days of joining
    I have completed my Masters in Computer Application and where ever I work I get praised for my knowledge and professionalism(not being proud of it but that’s what i got in my testimonials from clients) and recently I recovered from my last accident and joined a company.
    Then the big-bang happened. Guess what?..Company was gone after two months.
    Court cases etc will take place but I cant understand what is happening with me.
    After these incidents in last two years, I wish I had a restart button just like my PC.
    I am confused,working in a company which can not pay me properly and work is just nonsense(like u use a truck for your daily conveyance) and cant think what to do.
    No way I am out of the race and still trying to reshape the path but after two years of one step forth and two step back policy applied to my life…It seems a tougher and nearly impenetrable target to get a normal life
    So May I expect for some response on my situation.

  • Rachel

    love this post as always Amy

  • Rahul Kavar

    Thank you for your wonderful Article.
    Many a times i am really confused what to do, many a times i choose those thing which is not that important than other things ( like you said going on trip was important but your mind and thoughts are not allowing to do so).

    But your article made me realise what should do with so many thoughts.

    Thanks a ton.
    Regards
    Rahul

  • aomatani

    Hi Amy! Thanks so much for the article and the points about clarity.
    I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind.

    Apart from using time to clear the clutter bit by bit, are there other ways to actually clear away the confused voice and get to the knowing voice?

    How can you be sure that the knowing voice is, in fact, the knowing voice and not the confused voice trying to add more clutter?

    Thanks a bunch.

  • Mifta

    I really like this I have fallen in love with guy and lives miles away from me in fact he lives aboroad. I have met him few times but I am confused whether I should go to meet him abroad. I know that when I meet him I will completely change but my confusion builds up as I think about him more. When I looked at what you wrote here I am amaized as confusion starts when we think more negatively which I am doing all the time. i have decided that I will trust him and give him chance and meet him to forward our relationship further. Thank you for that I feel light and feel I should listen to my heart and am able to make decision.

  • Pradyumna Sahoo

    hey Amy what is spirituality to you. I want both your personal and professional stand on it. Please be specific in your answer (if you provide one) no metaphor. Would love to hear from you. As I am from India I am curious how westerners view these things.

  • Kimberly S

    Oh my, I thought I was all alone in this world of confusion! Thank you so much for writing this article. First it helps to know I’m not the only one and second to find there’s a strategy to get me out of this mind set that tends to distract me from life. Thank you and Amy, I will be checking out your book !

  • nubs

    You have no idea how this helps, finally some peace in my head and yeah clarity… thanks so much :)

  • wahab

    what if you fail..should we continue to work in both direction hoping we would get one goal or decide the goal first?

  • Liz

    whenever I decide on a goal, life shows me a different, better direction. Wayne Dyer often talks about surrendering goals and setting intentions instead. Broader intentions allow for bigger things to happen in my life.
    I don’t believe in “fail” – every experience teaches me something and every experience is part of the life lessons on my path.