Friday, June 13, 2014

Control and Decisions

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
~ Maya Angelou, New York Women in Communications

I've spent time in my life practicing being a control freak ~ wanting to be in charge of everything that was happening, resisting change, blaming others for creating that change. 

I'd like to say that's not my general modus operandi for most of my life. That's true. It's not. Yet for the moments when it is, it takes over ~ like the wind preceding a tornado. It sweeps through everything I am doing and knocks it all askew. My point of view shifts. I generally scream, NO! ~ though most often, not aloud. Like a two-year-old, I want my plans to go forward as I planned them to happen.

What I find is that if I relax during those moments, if I breathe through the scream, what's happening isn't so bad. The sooner I relax, the easier it is to flow with what's happening and enjoy the moment. Well, maybe 'enjoy' is not the optimal term. Once I'm in the flow of the change, it no longer has power over me. Funny how that works, when I let go of control, I am less out of control and I take the control of my life back from the change point.

Good luck following that.... Let me give an example:
I want to go to a movie. I have a plan in my head about going to the 1:30 movie at the local theater. When I get home at noon, I find my partner in the midst of a major yard clean-up. My partner demands that I help because the neighbors are coming over for a barbecue. My inner NO! explodes. This is a radical change to my plans! How dare someone do that to me! 
Outcome 1: I shout at my partner about the change in my plans. We both stop being productive to argue for the next 15 minutes. I stride into the house and slam the door. Going to my movie is either not happening or I'll be too pissy to enjoy it.
Outcome 2: I tell my partner I need a minute to absorb the news and go into the house. I breathe deeply and consider the options: the movie is playing later and even the next day. The invitation has already gone to the neighbors. So I join in the clean-up, and enjoy the time with the neighbors.
It's all in how I choose to respond.

How do you respond to change? How does being out of control feel to you? What do you want to change in your reaction?

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