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To Control or Not Control, IS that the Question or the Answer?

heart_water_handsA friend asked me to watch her kids while she was out-of-town and I was thrilled, it felt so good to provide that help that after my shift was up, my ego decided I should call her to highlight my greatness in carrying out this neighborly good deed. However, I did not completely follow her prescribed instructions on the commission of this kindly act. In my mind the end result was achieved, so the response I got…….well let’s just say I was bucked off my high horse. Read the rest of this entry

Is Your Control, Out of Control?

I’ve Got it Dad, I’m in Control!

One of the interesting side effects of the past two years of my life is that I learned in a “baptism by fire” kind of way that I am really not in control.  I have, through out my life, tended to be a controlling person.  I believed that bad things happened to people who just did not exert enough control over their own life. Actually as I am typing those words I realize how absurd that sounds but I truly believed it and lead my life with that motto in mind.  I approached each goal with precision and planning, and let me say here that some planning is certainly good, I would not advocate bouncing through life with no intention. 

However, occasionally things would come up that would shake my control but I could compensate in other areas.  So when work or school tended to be out of control (remember this is a flash back and my silly self believed I could control most things) that’s ok I would rigidly control things at home.  My closets, pantry and home office would be in ship-shape and organized.  Likewise if things were out of control at home everything at work would be organized and tidy.  So I could focus on the area that was in control and just sort of drink the kool aid and believe all is well.  My obsessus controlus mode could continue on in fine working order. This was working out well until both my personal and professional life collided in a series of events that rendered me literally out of control in both arenas.  Obsessus controlus tried desperately to snap one of them into shape with no luck at all.  At work I need to convince someone to completely change how they were being so I could function better, sounds easy and reasonable huh!?!?!? In my personal life cancer and strokes were ravaging four of my closest relatives, and I thought completely changing a person was difficult, take on cancer or brain damage you want to realize how little control you have cancer will give you a resounding lesson in lack of control. 

So I began to retreat, what do I do now?  It’s like being the coach of a team that has made it to the playoffs by following a well scripted game plan and the damn plan goes up in flames seconds before the game starts and no one remembers the game plan.  How do you approach the game with no plan?  My first response was flee, get the hell out of there.  I can’t there is a stadium of people sitting there waiting to watch a game and I made a commitment to play, my intention was to lead this team.  Crap, now what.  Frustration was my first, middle and last name during this episode of my life. 

After floundering in what felt like swimming in a pool of caramel, I realized the more I fought it, the more tired I became, the more frustrated and the less able I was to function.  So I began to really look at what I was doing.  I began sharing how I was feeling with trusted advisors, friends, my life coach and I put things out there understanding that once it was out there I could not attach to it or the result.  I found out very quickly I had to develop trust, trust in myself, trust in my creator and trust in the universe.  I had to trust my gut, I had to respect everyone else’s journey as much as I respected my own.  I have also learned that we can only control our mind really everything else is not in our control.  By controlling our thoughts we truly can change the world.

This did not happen over night and I still have to remind myself what I am up to when that old obessus controlus mode kicks in, some days I do better than others and that’s ok. There is a higher plan at work here and I have come to realize the more I try to control the less I am living.  I see people everyday who have that same obsessus controlus mode and because of the path I have travelled I can get caught up in it, it stirs up strong emotions inside me.  Almost like a post traumatic response, I have a physical reaction.  I have to remind myself they have the same right as I did to travel this path to find their way, it’s part of their journey.  The response I have to seeing others in this mode is very similar to how I feel when I see my kids making a choice that I wish they wouldn’t because I know from experience that something undesirable may happen.  However, I also know as long as it’s not life threatening the lessons best learned are through experience and not necessarily tutelage from someone else.

I do have great compassion for my obsessus controlus brethren like a sorority we are connected.  So if you think you are a fellow sorority sister or fraternity brother in Alpha Beta Obsessus Kai here are the top ten signs that you may be a member:

  1. When someone sends you a personal letter you feel obligated to point out the grammar and spelling mistakes.
  2. When someone shares an idea you feel the need to tell them how it could be better or give them an even better idea.
  3. When someone shares a traumatic experience you need to share your own that is slighty more traumatic than theirs.
  4. When someone is planning an event you feel the need to direct them as to exactly how to do it so the event is successful, if they do not follow your directions precisely, you know it could have been better if they would have.
  5. When someone does something completely different from the way you would have done it, you become agitated and irritable and tell them how you would have done it with a strong indication your way is better.
  6. Reject all ideas that do not occur to you as either folly or ideas you have attempted and they did not work.
  7. When things go bad immediately search for someone or something to blame, it cannot be you, you are in control.
  8. You frequently have thoughts that if everyone would just do their job right your life could be better.
  9. People let you down all the time due to their lack of intelligence or motivation, and wish they would model your hard work and aptitude.
  10. You honestly believe if everyone would just do things your way and live life the way you do, life would be a garden of Eden again.
To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.  – Buddha
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