Have you ever known you had to make a certain choice without knowing exactly why? Somewhere, somehow, in the middle of your stomach, you have a “gut” feeling that says you must act.

As we listen to this deeper voice, we are listening to what some call intuition. It is not a choice led strictly by information that fits on charts or graphs, but rather a deep knowing that we have to follow.

Julia Butterfly HillIn a conversation with Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, I was sharing about my choice not only to climb into an ancient redwood tree named Luna in order to save her, but also my choice to stay there for 738 days. I had a deep knowing that I had to climb Luna and stay; that to walk away from the injustice of industrial logging without at least trying to make a difference would be to perpetuate that injustice. In those moments I had the freedom to choose. I could have chosen to walk away or come down, but at the same time, my strong inner guidance would not allow me to do so.

In our conversation we recognized that such moments are the choice-less choice. Moments when we step into our courage and greatness even when it would be easier to just be silent, to walk away, or to stop in fear.

Instead, we are called so powerfully by our inner voice that we cannot help but act…like a parent running out into oncoming traffic to save a child from being hit by a car, the men and women who rushed into the burning Twin Towers to rescue people, Mahatma Gandhi risking his life over and over for the liberation of India from the British, or my own brother who dove into a slippery mud pool that others were too scared to dive into to rescue a boy who had drowned.

Living in the world today, it is easy to be overcome by the seemingly never-ending list of things to do. Where do we direct our focus, energy, passion, commitment and resources? By getting clear on who we are called to be, what our purpose is, and being willing to let go of our addiction to comfort and transform our fear, we are more able to listen to and trust that deep inner knowing and voice.

We find ourselves growing beyond who we have known ourselves to be as we answer the powerful callings of choice-less choice.