How to know it’s the right decision

If you’re anything like me, you have your share of struggles in knowing is it the right decision to do….? Or is it not….? What if xyz happens if I don’t do it? What if it does?

The mind gets soooo wrapped up in itself with fear it can be hard to see straight much less think straight and make the “right” decision.

When I left Montana in December with the intention of spending the winter in California, my mind was totally open to where I’d land (or so I thought).

I didn’t have clarity of where that spot was, I just knew I needed to go. So I made my way to California and down the coast after a week of silence at Spirit Rock meditation center near the Bay Area visiting friends and stopping to bike and run on my favorite trails.

I had in my mind I would most likely end up near the central coast, but again, I thought I was open to anything (heehee).

As I was driving down the coastline, my mom tells me over the phone she’s ready to sell her house and move.

She’s been thinking about this for many years, and for many years I’ve been watching her go through the process of decision making, not sure it would ever happen.

It was happening.

Oh, I said, after she’d ask me to help her. I wasn’t prepared for it to be now.

Yet, for the last several months my intention had been to surrender my personal will to God/Spirit/Divine will. To fully let go.

Funny that here was an opportunity planted firmly in front of me to actuate this intention and I wasn’t sure I could do it.

I mean I could do it practically, I have a business I can run from anywhere, and no family I’m responsible for. No pets. Seemed pretty easy on the surface.

So I drove down to the malls and freeways of So Cal and landed on my mom’s doorstep saying, “Yes, I can help you” only to find within one hour of being in her house arriving with some of the deepest peace I’d felt in months (from the silent retreat), I was wallowing in anxiety.

And not just a little bit, but like someone was standing on my chest and I could barely breathe.

Over that hour, I took a walk through the rooms and closets, the garage, and the 2 sheds filled with 51 years of stuff.

How could I help her with this? Where do we start? The project and process felt overwhelming and undoable (if I was feeling that way, imagine what she was feeling?!).

I made it through Christmas and took off a couple days later for San Diego to tango dance and then up to a friends in L.A.

I was trying to get space from it (aka “running away”) so I could make an objective decision instead of being caught in the frenzy of it.

For 3 weeks I hemmed and hawed. I told my mom I couldn’t help her in the way she wanted and I didn’t know WHAT it looked like.

Intuition kept saying to me, “Go to nature. Go to nature. Go to nature.” I needed space from the 51 years of stuff, the traffic and the noise to have clarity. I knew this.

I woke up on a Saturday crying to get out of the city. I felt like I was going to implode or explode  I wasn’t sure what would come first).

Catalina Island popped into my head. I’d never been there before. I checked on-line. It looked perfect. I was on a boat 3 hours later.

My whole body relaxed when I stepped onto the boat. All the anxiety fell away within 2 days of being on the island. The peace, the serenity, the ocean waves, the joy I felt in being there.

I kept asking each day…what is the right action to take? How can I help her when I can’t live in the city (or so I believed)?

I came back with the idea of going to Hawaii (I know, that’s not helping her 🙂 – I wanted tropics! Intuition, early one morning said, “Keep it simple.” Okay, so Hawaii wasn’t it.

I thought about doing a one month silent retreat. The timing was right – why not? Seemed like the perfect time! (I know, really funny. Can you see how much I was running from what was right in front of me?).

So I went back to Catalina Island 5 days after I had returned from my first trip there. I wasn’t done with nature and I needed her to come to a clear, and important, decision.

It was on day 4 of being on the island. I woke up and while I was thinking about what I wanted to make for breakfast, the words came, “Go help your mother.” Just like that. I NEVER use the word mother. It’s not in my vocabulary, so I knew it wasn’t coming from my ego self. It was coming from Higher Self/God/Divine.

The feeling in my body was one of rightness. A total alignment. A YES and not just a yes, but a hell yes. Like the pieces of the puzzle just fell into place.

There it is. I thought. The clarity I’d been searching for.

It was so interesting how having that made it feel completely doable to live in the city and go through 51 years of stuff, with the opportunity to help her and get rid of most of it.

My ego said something funny soon after, “Well, she created it, she needs to deal with it. Why should I have to?” and my higher self responded, “She is your mother. She birthed you and took care of you for the first 18 years of your life. You can easily give to her a few months of your time. And she needs help.”

Oh, I thought. Right.

The other ego (little i) thought running about sometimes is, “Aren’t I such a good daughter, helping out my mom like this.” Clearing ooking for attention. I’m totally on to her and telling little i to behave herself.

And of course, my logistical mind came in with saddles blazing wanting it to be as tidy and organzied as possible. So I said, “Let’s hire a company that comes in and sorts it all and you’ll be done in a matter of a couple weeks!”

Not only did my mom not like the idea, but my intuition gave me a big NO on that one. It said that she needs to go through each item, room by toom and remember the memories with it and then decide what to do with it. With no time frame. Okay, got it intuition.

So here we are, 3 months into sifting through her belongings. Going through boxes, closets, and shelves. Her sharing of old memories that help her to release what she’s letting go of (and having fun putting on our favorite pieces one last time – wigs included!).

We’ve had our share of tough conversations and down right arguments about stuff. Her holding on tight to something and me being insensitive to it. Or me seeing the practical side and her caught up in the emotional side.

It’s one of the deepest and most profound opportunities to grow as a person that I’ve experienced. I can be all peaceful and happy after meditation in the morning, walk out of the room, she says something that I get triggered by and all of a sudden I’m angry.

Now if that isn’t an opportunity to see where I still get triggered and learn how not to, then I don’t know what is.

It’s also really interesting to be in the same room that I grew up in, waking up to the crayon marks, the Bryan Adams poster, the hand prints on the wall, and the old pink carpeting.

I’m just finishing up painting this room. A sense of letting go of my past and starting anew for me too.

My mom has so much courage. Every day she picks up things to sort through and let go of. And some she decides to keep. She’s not ready to part with them yet.

I’ve greatly appreciated the notes I’ve received from my readers who say what a precious time this is we have together, and they’d give anything to have this time with their mom (with their mom having passed). Thank you so much for these words.

We’re reading a wonderful book together called, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter.

She’s held on to everything from the last 50 years, so it’s the perfect book. Filled with humor and grace, I highly recommend it for you or a loved one who’s going through the process.

How am I finding my peace in the city? I meditate and I get outside EVERY DAY. I don’t miss a day. I’ve found my corners of nature here where there are birds, flowers, frogs, squirrels, deer, bunnies, coyotes, and more. Nature IS here, it just takes a little more effort to get to.

I’ve found incredible tango dancing here as well, which is an incredible bonus and gives me total joy!

Also, every 3 weeks or so, I take a trip to Catalina Island to rejuvenate and renew. It’s super important for me to have this time. It’s become my second home. Intuition guides me when it’s time to go. And I listen.

How do you know when it’s the right decision? Because when the feeling of yes arises, the body will tell you. Close your eyes and let your intuition speak. It most likely won’t be heard in the busy-ness of life. By slowing down you’ll hear it. Even for just an hour in nature. There’s an opening in the heart. When it’s not the right decision, there will be a tightness in the chest.

Slow down. Sit still. Listen (instead of figuring it out). Let the answer come to you. It can make all the difference.

Categories: Health & Happiness, Heart Centered Living, Inner Wisdom & Intuition, Stress & Anxiety

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

6 comments to “How to know it’s the right decision

  1. Gail Wells

    Dearest Angela,
    I so can identify with the “letting go” of your Mom’s “stuff” and being there with her while she goes through this process. Yes! You are so very fortunate to have this time with your Mom and to have the retreat aspect of Catalina Island to renew and refresh and then go at it again. You will be so glad you allowed yourself the space to do this with your Mom. I didn’t have 3 months, my sister and I had just 5 weeks all together but it was so precious and I will never regret a minute of it (even though my now x-husband almost divorced me over it back then).

    So wonderful that you have the freedom and the space to do as your heart/intuition has told you. Live life well my friend. I admire you tremendously and so look forward to your e-zines and your stories. They lift me up and give me strength to keep moving forward.
    Gail Wells
    Jackson Hole, WY

    1. Angela Patnode

      Thank you so much for your kind words Gail, they touch my heart. I’m so glad you had the time with your mom as well. It’s so important and extremely precious. It’s a joy to hear from you and I’m grateful for your readership. Thank YOU!
      With love,

  2. Nancy Ruby

    Great story, Angela.
    I can agree that this IS a very special opportunity to share with your mom. Mine passed suddenly and I still wish I would have given her my full attention and support walking down memory lane. We were just beginning to breach those conversations. Soak it up.

    1. Angela Patnode

      Thank you so much for your honesty Nancy and sharing your experience. A message that many of us need reminding of – me included. It truly is a gift to have this time with her. I’m so grateful. It’s a joy to hear from you!
      With love,

  3. Robin Morris


    Treasure this time with your mom. I miss mine and my dad and brother every day and see their gifts to me in such surprising ways ~ like my continued sense of wonder instilled in me at such an early age by so many walks in the ravine below our home and family trips to an island in Canada, etc. Just this weekend, I witnessed the annual migration of 20,000 snow geese to Freezeout Lake near Choteau and it literally took my breath away. Watching wave after wave of geese swirl and dance in the lake and out in the fields to feed filled my heart so much that I sobbed at the sight and wished I could have shared that with my folks. They would have understood. So, yes, take this journey back in time with your mom and honor your time together while doing what you need to do in nature to recharge your batteries, which is sounds like you’re doing.
    I’m trying to sort out a different kind of message these days, seeking healing and the ultimate message of yet another shoulder dislocation – this time while in Choteau for the snow geese. I’m grateful for the kind, skilled folks at the ER there to put my shoulder back in, but I’m struggling with fear associated with any movement of my left arm now and wondering why this keeps happening (4th time this year…). I try to sit in silence and listen for answers and direction, but I’m feeling pretty lost. I’m trying to focus on blessings, though, and that helps. Anyway, treasure this time of discovery with your mom and relish the laughter as well as difficult conversations that ultimately will lead to greater understanding between the two of you.
    Keep shinin’ as you always do ~

    1. Angela Patnode

      Thanks for your kind note Robin. It’s wonderful to hear from you. I’m glad you had that quality time with your family, and you are moving through it with Grace. Sorry to hear about your shoulder, be patient. Take things slowly, and do what’s needed to heal. Your mind is a powerful healer, you can do it!
      With love,

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