We Have a Choice

Written and Photographs by: Nevin Elgendy
Thursday November 3, 2016

I am intrigued by how our brains operate to give us full control over how we feel. I’ve been going through a big transition in my life recently. I sold our house in Ottawa and decided to move to Toronto on temporary basis. The date to close on the house was set for the end of the month, which means the change became imminent and inevitable.


I spent a few days with the kids in Toronto last week to acquaint ourselves with the city, and it struck me how much I enjoyed the new urban life. I paused to reflect how I felt about what I left behind in Ottawa: a lush, green, peaceful neighborhood, lake McKay, breathtaking nature, and memories of the last five years of my life.  To my surprise, I felt no emotion!


I was so involved in the joy of what was happening in the now to think about my life in Ottawa.  I found it fascinating how everything was easily accessible in the big city; the deli, the cafés, the shops – everything.  We spontaneously decided to go to the movies one day and all we had to do was go downstairs, cross the street and walk right into the movie theater. We watched Bridget Jones Baby.


I anticipated that my emotions about leaving Ottawa will flow once I returned to finish packing my office, books, papers, a suitcase of clothes, and most importantly, my daughter’s art work.  My assumption was wrong once again. I arrived two days ago and since then, I have been bidding farewell to everyone I loved and everything I enjoyed for the last five years, yet I didn’t feel sad to leave it all behind me. I still love it all dearly, but the main idea here is that I am not attached!


Perhaps this is because when I move, I leave everything behind; a habit I’ve acquired along the years during the several moves I went through in my life. I left behind not just the house and the memories, but also the furniture and personal belongings for a fresh start. I decided to give all my belongings and furniture a second chance by sharing them with my beautiful friends.

Though I have to admit, I haven’t been productive with work since the move, which made me feel heavy and frustrated at the time.  As much as I wanted to, I could not push myself to work. As I woke up today, a new thought popped in my head.  There is so much happening in my life right now and its okay to slow down.  A chapter is closing in my life and my mind needs time to process that.

Coming to this realization didn’t change the situation. I am still not productive, but when the thought changed, so did the feeling.  Now I feel at peace!


Both of the thoughts are equally true, but one makes me feel low, while the other makes me feel peaceful. I’ve learned that we are in full charge of how we feel based on what story we tell ourselves about the facts in our life.

We have the power to choose our thoughts and emotions. We may not have control over certain situations, but we have full control over the choice of our thoughts that lead to how we feel.

In conclusion, loving life and everything it presents without attachment, is pure freedom.

Edited by: Maryam Meshal

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