So I spent 5 months planning a 3-day city break to Sydney with the girls. Child and husband free, there was to be lots of shopping, eating, and general carefree living like you see in one of those tampon commercials. My friends travelled over the day before, and as I skipped into the airport at 6.30am on a Friday morning I was full of excitement and the occasional giggle. Nothing could get me down! But as it turned out, due to a series of comedy-film-esque errors by the airline – nothing could get me up! After 13 hours at the airport I found myself back home exhausted very annoyed and wondering what happened to Day 1 of my 3-day tampon commercial. And that begs the question, how can something so well planned and looked forward to, go so horribly wrong?
Cue part one of Post-Apocalyptic Life Lesson 2: the truth is we don’t control s***.
Yes, we tell ourselves that if we account for every variable, make lists, analyze and develop contingencies that everything will be tickety-boo. And sometimes it is, and it is important to plan – just as long as we remember that even after all the planning and the effort, we don’t control the outcome.
When we don’t remember this, we start to rely on these plans and feel that we are totally in control of our lives. The problem being that as things start falling apart, so can we! We find ourselves somewhat shell-shocked asking ‘How did that happen?’ - well I believe that’s what they call life just happening!
The idea that we aren’t controlling it all can be pretty scary but there is good news. Whilst we can’t control all elements of the world, there is one thing that we are the sole keepers of. In fact the only real thing we have a say in - ourselves.
Cue part two of Post-Apocalyptic Life Lesson 2: we don't control s***, except our own s***.
I’ll give you another example from my life. Getting a serious illness. I do a lot of things in an effort to prevent a recurrence of my very aggressive cancer. I have read all the research. I know the stats of the benefits of exercise, the ideal health promoting diet, how handling stress and emotions and environmental toxins can all have an impact. And I have made changes and taken necessary precautions in accordance with the research. And it’s sensible to do this. And sometimes I can convince myself that it guarantees I’ll live to be 110. But really, that is just my mind making itself feel better. Because the truth is, I can’t control all the variables, I can do what I can do, I can ask myself honestly every day if I am living the best way I can to give myself the best chance. But then I just have to surrender and let go. I can’t control everything. And shoot that is pretty scary to acknowledge. It’s so much easier to pretend that I can.
But the only real thing I can control is my response to what happens in life. And the only way to really do that is to work on being present and awake. Yes, it’s as cheesy as a Valentine’s Day greetings card. You hear it everywhere, but that’s because it’s so damn true!
Only when we are here, noticing what we are thinking, feeling, experiencing can we be aware enough to decide how we want to act, what our response will be to what happens in life (and of course, to be aware enough to actually enjoy ourselves when things are happening).
That’s where our real power lies. Not in trying to control every thing/person/event that occurs in our life (or in the lives of others!), but in creating ourselves using our experience as the putty. Yes, think of your everyday life as a big pile of putty or playdough. The question then becomes, what aspect of myself can I build out of this event? Who do I want to be in relation to this? That is what you control. That is what makes life pretty exciting.
Who shall I mould myself to be in relation to that rude obnoxious airhostess who couldn’t give a monkeys about my child-free 5-months in the planning 3-day weekend away that she is about to crap all over? Do I want to be rude, assertive, compliant, angry, patient, resolute?
There is no right or wrong answer, there is only reacting (because that is how I did last time), or responding (by experimenting, and using my senses and mind for good use). The first makes me feel like a crazy person, the second makes me feel powerful and creative. I know which I prefer!
In the end Sydney was all I hoped it would be, but with a big reminder along the way. That I don’t control s***, except my own s***
Lesson 2: You don’t control s***, except your own s***!
Click here to check out Post-Apocalyptic Life Lesson One!
As always I would love to hear what you think, so please comment below on your freaky control issues or if you think I am nuts?!
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Ready for change, but don't know how:
Health coach, Mindfulness teacher, Mother, Bee Pollen consumer. "You want health? Well, health costs, and right here is where you start paying in sweat" (tee hee - actually its really rather pleasurable and fun!)