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The truth about control

April 6, 2014

I am constantly reminded of powerlessness in my life.

Fortunately I take the cues that are provided and adjust whatever thinking I may be in to fit the reality of the situation.  That doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t fall back into behavior that is decidedly self-centered and slowly (sometimes quickly) taking me towards the next reminder of powerlessness.

As a child I created my own world.  I had my own country, my own movie studio, actors, actresses, music charts and all manner of award shows and rules.  In later years it would be pointed out to me that the need to create an environment comfortable for me may have indicated a discomfort with aspects of my real world as well as the beginnings of a solid need to control my environment.

Thus this control freak was born.

As a result of being who I am, I have often been conflicted with the difference between the need for control and the acceptance of powerlessness in my life.  To some degree there is a reason for making sure I am “in control” of the actions I take, or even the way I may think.  I don’t want to over-think the subject but it seems to me that I may want to be careful about exclaiming powerlessness over every aspect of my life.  But, at the same time, I feel it is important to remind myself about the importance of turning over the results.

In other words:  I am in control of my actions, what I have had to learn over time is that I am not in control over the results of the world around me.  Change is everywhere and constant.  I may always try to have a hand in what happens to and for me (as well as those around me) but in the grand scheme I am not able to see or determine the full picture of any situation.  If and when I do try that on for size I am in expectation and that, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to ever work out for me.

Take for example my drive to work on this past Friday morning.  My action is obvious, my expectation was the early arrival.  I go in to my work at 6-6:30AM in order to have some peace and quiet and catch up with my desk work (a place I don’t get to see a lot of in a meeting filled work day.)  I took the action of rising early and making sure that I was mentally and physically prepared for another work day.  I got in my car and drove the path I drive 5 days a week to get to the destination.  On this day, however, I was reminded that I am not in control of everything even when it would feel that I am.  On Friday morning a car went through a red light on National as I traveled though my green light going west on Venice.

My car was hit and spun around ending up on the SW corner sidewalk.  Fortunately for one and all  (including both drivers) there was nobody on that sidewalk and neither of us was hurt.  Both were shaken up but the world continued with the changes I saw in front of me.  My path took a slight shift that had me filing police reports, towing my car with AAA, handling the check in at a body shop, filing my insurance claim and picking up my rental car.  I still made it to work before most would arrive at 9, proving even when experiencing powerlessness there is always a stitch of control within me.

I walked away from this example knowing that I am blessed in understanding that the changes and unforeseen circumstances that will always be a part of our world are a part of my life’s tapestry.  I accept that sometimes the world does not go according to my plan.  In fact it rarely does.  I cherish my moments of powerlessness and each time they are revealed I am more experienced in letting go of the results.

Control is not a bad thing unless it is your only way of thinking.  Control is not an evil word unless you need it like a drug.  Actions taken for growth and education in this world are pieces of control…. the trick for me is to remember that the action is part of the goal and the result is simply not something I can accurately predict, manipulate or determine.  I am happy, at some point, with whatever result I am provided.

Stop.  Smile.  Breathe.

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