Are you more likely to be in control, or out of control? Do you have things under control, or are you someone who likes to lose control?
I grew up in a household where everything had its place and things always appeared to be in order. It’s no surprise that in subsequent years, control had positive connotations for me. I remember that ahhhhhh feeling at the end of the day when the bills were paid and all the housework was up-to-date. I had confused being organised with being in control.
The illusion of having control died when my dad did. I was in my mid-thirties and his illness exposed my complacency. I hadn’t realised how helpless I was because up until then, things had gone according to plan. The reality was, I just hadn’t lived long enough for things to go wrong.
I made friends with relinquishing my power even though it was challenging. My husband helped me by constantly nudging me beyond my comfort zone. We’ve travelled to places I said I’d never go, I’ve participated in sports that I would have considered too risky and I’ve done things on the spur of the moment instead of insisting on meticulous planning. Bit by bit, I became more resilient and adaptable.
A decade has passed and I am mostly accepting of the up’s and the down’s, but every so often I struggle. I regress when I become fearful. Old patterns re-emerge when I am triggered (my inbuilt protection mechanism). I was just getting over bronchitis when COVID-19 hit which left me vulnerable.
After a few weeks I acclimatised. I admit that I enjoyed living in the lockdown ‘bubble’ but it also sent me backwards. I became ordered again. I snapped back into my old habits for the same reasons a child clutches onto their special toy.
Was COVID-19 an excuse for me? The perfect opportunity to slow down the overwhelm of my normally hectic lifestyle. A make-believe way to pretend I was back in control and didn’t have to face responsibilities. A chance to breathe while I became grounded again.
I knew the ‘bubble’ was temporary and as the country began to open up again, so did I. After my initial resistance, I remembered that not having control is exciting. It shakes everything up. Even though it can sometimes be frightening, it’s the times that we are forced into discomfort, that move us forward to the next phase of our life. The pain of my dad’s death was a turning point in my life that initiated massive personal growth. That’s when I stopped wasting time and started living the life I was destined to.
Controlling our life is like controlling the weather. It’s completely pointless. We feel freer when we let go of expectations. We do need to move in an intentional direction, as long as we know that we will go off course. When things don’t go as planned, say thank you, as the gems of our life tend to surface amongst the chaos.
There are always exceptions, and although we cannot control the death of a loved one or a world pandemic, these are the few things we can influence: -
1) BREATHING — Through meditation practice we can slow down or regulate our breath.
2) THOUGHTS — We can train our mind to cease negative self-talk and refrain from judgemental thinking. We can project positive energy to others, ourselves and the universe, and be grateful no matter what is going on around us.
3) BEHAVIOUR — The way we behave and treat other people is ALWAYS a choice. There are no excuses. Act from a place of oneness with each other and choose to be kind. We can also behave in the ways that nurture our mind and bodies.
The rest is out of our hands and at the mercy of higher powers. I believe that our plans are already mapped out. No matter how much we resist, we are going to be faced with whatever lessons are intended for us.
Those who seem to be in control may be pretending, or in denial. Thinking we know how the future will look, is setting ourselves up for failure. We can never predict what is in store for us. Accept that we cannot flip to the last page of our story until we have embodied every sentence from the rest of the book.
Can you recognise any areas in your own life where you create a false sense of control to make you feel safe?
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