Tag Archives: hope

I am not in control

I am not in control. That may not come as a surprise to you, but somehow it’s always shocking to me. Even as much as I know that nearly everything is out of my control, at times I think and act like I’m in charge of everything.

Or at least like I should be.

I don’t really think I know better than everyone else, but sometimes I think I do. Or I think I do for a few moments before I realize how crazy that is. I don’t really think I always have to run the show, but sometimes I think I do.

Sometimes that immediate response kicks in – and into high gear – without me realizing it. At least for a few minutes. Sometimes I’m acting as if I’m still geared for saving the world – and everyone in it – whether or not it wants, or needs, to be saved.

The truth is that I’m not in control. I’m not in control of you. I’m not in control of the outcomes. I’m not in control of what happens. I’m often not fully in control of myself.

I get triggered, and my emotions surge. I can’t always (ever?) control that. My emotions surge, and I lash out (or run away). I can’t always control that yet either. I’m trying to, but I’m not all the way there yet. I lash out or run away, and I notice it and apologize or step back into the moment and/or the relationship. That one I’m – a bit – more in control of.

I’m not in control of whether or not a yellow bird graces my day. I’d like to think I am, but I’m not. I’m not in control of whether or not Danny (my dad) decides to let me move him to a nursing home closer to me to make my – and hopefully his – life easier. I’m not in control of how well my book sells or doesn’t. I’m not in control of how happy the people I care about are. I’m not in control of how you feel or how you act or what you do. I’m barely mustering control over how I act and how I feel and what I do. That is my responsibility though (unlike the others), so I’m working on it.

But the rest of it? I’m not in control. And there is something freeing in realizing that. There is something freeing in letting go of responsibilities that we never really mine to begin with.

I’m letting go of my sense of control and of my sense of needing to control. I’m slowly but surely prying my fingers off of whatever it is that they were clasped so tightly around. My false sense of control probably soothed my soul – and maybe, at some points, saved my life – all those years ago. But I don’t need it now.

And I don’t have it anyway. I don’t have control. I’m not in control.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I distract myself

The other day a dear friend asked me what I did when I was upset at something, or someone. When my anger or sadness was taking over every minute. How did I handle it to stay calm and okay?

I paused before answering. (Did I mention we were running, and I always have to pause to get enough breath to answer?) “I look at what’s good,” I told her.

“Oh,” she replied. “Do you mean you look to see all you have, and how many awful things could be true for you that aren’t, and you realize you should be grateful rather than upset?”

“No,” I answered (again after trying to catch my breath). “I look for things that feel good right now. I distract myself like I would a toddler.” Another pause.

“I notice the trees against the sky.” (As I’ve written here often.) “The sound of seagulls.” (I was just in Portland, Maine.) “I hug my kid.” (Or anyone who will let me.)

I distract myself.

I no longer believe in covering up or denying my feelings, and I certainly no longer believe in beating myself up because I’m sad or angry or struggling. I’ve learned to allow those feelings to be – and to be part of me. (The anger was the hardest one to accept. I had learned real well not to get angry.)

But I’ve also learned that “I’m more than my feelings,” and “Feelings, not facts.” I’ve learned that I don’t have to stay in my anger or hurt or pain any longer than I want to. And I’ve learned that the best way to lighten my load is to lighten my load. 🙂 To look for situations or experiences or sensations that will ease my heart or relax my body.

To distract myself.

I’ve learned that if I look up – literally and metaphorically – I can usually find something to smile about. I’ve learned (and I teach) that when I smile, my brain somehow thinks I’m happy. I wouldn’t be smiling if I wasn’t happy – I’m not that crazy – so I must be happy. I use this to my greatest advantage.

It’s not that I have no right to complain because other people have it worse than me. My pain still hurts. It’s not that I shouldn’t feel pain, and I need to shut it down right away. Sometimes feeling – and leaning into – my pain and suffering is what I really need. It’s not that I need to be stronger, or better, or more resilient. I am (quite) strong enough, good enough, and resilient enough. And sometimes things just hurt. Or suck.

But I can lift myself out of my pain and suffering when I’m ready to be lifted out of my pain and suffering. And sometimes it’s as easy as just distracting myself.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I’m going to have a good day

I woke up this morning with a justifiable reason not to have a good day. But I’m going to have a good day.

I woke up this morning with a justifiable reason to be frustrated and disheartened. But I’m going to be heartened and hopeful instead.

I don’t know if I always was a “glass half-full” kind of person. I know that I work hard to be one now. I don’t want to ignore or negate the awful things in the world or the challenging aspects of my life, but I do want to choose to see the upside and potential. I’ve learned that a positive outlook literally broadens our peripheral vision and allows us to see more opportunities. Opportunities we might miss if we’re hunkered down in the negative.

I believe (finally) in all my feelings. After years of not having – or at least not admitting or allowing – any sadness or anger, I know how life-affirming it is (for me at least) to admit and allow the full range of my emotions. The “good” and the “bad.”

But, I don’t want to be anchored in the anger or sadness. I no longer want to be mired in or defined by my pain. I want to look for reasons – and create reasons when necessary – to have a good day.

I can notice the sunshine and the leaves blowing in the wind. I can breathe deep and feel my mind and soul ease. I can think of the people I love and the friendship and joy I have in my life.

And I can have a good day.

Have a good day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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