Are you in control?
It feels good to feel in control of our lives, when it seems life is going just as we want.
We work hard at relationships, at work and at life. And when things go to plan we congratulate ourselves and feel pride at our success. We are clever, hard working people and we deserve success and we deserve to get what we want when we want it. So we celebrate and start working on the next round of achievements and goals.
And when something doesn’t go to plan we may work harder to try, try again. Or we may get angry at ourselves for not trying hard enough in the first place. Sometimes we get angry at other people for thwarting our plans.
But whatever happens and whatever way we react, the underlying assumption is that we are in control of our lives.
Only it isn’t true.
I’ve learned over the past six months that feeling in control of your life is a grand and intoxicating illusion. An illusion that is bound to come crashing down at some point – as it did to me.
In January when I had a great new job and everything was going swimmingly – I did not expect or anticipate that by November I would have resigned, opened a business and be planning to move our family interstate. I am just gobsmacked really.
I can’t imagine I would ever have just planned those things under my own steam. I was happy with the way things were. As the saying goes – if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
No. What happened was forces bigger than me were at work on my life. Events and circumstances arranged themselves to push me into a certain direction – kicking and screaming. And so much has happened so quickly it really feels like my hands aren’t on the steering wheel of my life at all.
An AA saying says: “Let go and let God”. And that is exactly what I’ve had to do – otherwise none of it makes any sense whatsoever. Without this, it’s hard to take a breath and see the opportunity in the changes that are happening, rather than just the affront that they are happening without your consent or control.
And I can see this approach is going to become a constant in my life. After all the changes have only just started.
What I can see now is that letting go of control means I need to place faith and trust in something outside of myself and letting go of the idea that I know what’s best. Clearly I don’t. Letting go of control means I need to feel some humility when things go well. It means I need to feel gratitude when things go well – as well as pride.
Letting go of the idea that I am in control means I can be more open to the good that is in my life – and open to opportunities I may have never dreamed to create for myself.
So now it’s time to take a big breath and start getting on with it – with a fresher and calmer perspective.
I’ll keep you posted.
(Photo taken at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2013)