Mantra Monday: Space on the High Road

Though I have heard or read “You can’t control other people, you can only control your reactions to them” or the abbreviated version, “You can only control your actions and reactions,” hundreds of times, I was sure I had superpowers. I have spent my life trying to control people, outcomes and situations.

I was always the hard-headed, do it my way kid that had to touch the hot stove. Last week I finally got the message. I can’t keep the people I love from getting COVID. After four years of frustration I finally see that I can’t sway my boss not to touch his own hot stove. Everyone I have been frustrated by is an adult who is fully capable of making his or her own decisions and there is not one damn thing I can do about it. I can’t control anything nor am I responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Finally I did the only thing I could. I let go. I can’t protect or save anyone through sheer force of will. I can focus on the parts of my job that I enjoy the most. I can finally understand that my family members may listen to what I have to say, but they will make their decision.

Lately my meditation/prayer question has been, what is mine to create? The answer is space. Letting go of the mirage of control gives me space. Space to focus on my decisions which is leading me to create more ease and enjoyment. It is making me feel lighter and happier. I have fewer worries. It is making me nicer. I feel more pleasant and energized. A couple of coworkers noticed how well I handled situations that would normally set me off and I replied, “My horoscope told me to the high road for the next two weeks.” No, really, my horoscope told me that.

Control is at the forefront of everything right now. The Afghanistan situation is about control. The disagreements over masks and vaccines are about control. There are recommended safety protocols, but ultimately no one has any control over who gets COVID or if the case is asymptomatic, mild, bad or deadly. Control causes stress, anger, division and sheer exhaustion.

I’m still exploring the high road, but I suspect that I’ll fall in the mud that runs along side of it a time or two. The mirage will fool me again.

… I know you're tired
And you ain't sleeping well
And likely mad as hell
But wherever you are
I hope the high road leads you home again
To a world you want to live in
To a world you want to live in

Hope the High Road by Jason Isbell
Spotify or YouTube

18 thoughts on “Mantra Monday: Space on the High Road

  1. shoreacres says:

    I learned the important lessons thanks to two natural phenomena: the weather, and my cat. Since my work is weather dependent, I spent the first decade or so obsessing over it. The joke is that if you don’t like one forecast, change channels, and I was doing it on a regular basis: sometimes, every ten minutes. Eventually, I figured it out. Open the door, see what’s happening, and plan the next hour accordingly. Sometimes I get lucky and a whole day unfurls just as I thought it would, but if it doesn’t? There’s always laundry or grocery shopping.

    As for the cat? Once I figured out that I wasn’t going to be able to force her to be a lap kitty, things improved mightily.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kathy says:

    Oh my goodness, Sarah, this is such a tough one for many of us to learn. After all, our egos really think that control is the way to go. When in actuality to let go of the reins feels so good.


  3. Debbie says:

    Oh dear, Sarah, how I needed to read this today! Thank you. I, too, come from a long line of “control freaks.” I’m working to loosen the controlling bonds, but it sure isn’t easy. So much really is out of our hands, and that can be frustrating. I think that’s why we’re told to “Let go and let God.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bethany @ Happily Loco says:

    I had to check out this blog, because I discovered yoga after I randomly moved from Michigan to Texas! 😉 Very wise words. I have kind of ended up in a similar place. At the school where I teach, we always tell the kids (and each other) to focus on our circle of control. A lot of things are not in my circle right now. But in focusing on the things that are, I find myself feeling less rebellious and crabby about everything else going on right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin says:

    The interesting thing about letting go is that it’s a practice that has to be done over and over and over again. Your beautiful post reminded me of some of the silly ways I mentally try to control outcomes. Every day, lately, has been a lesson in letting go. More so as I grow older (because I think that’s part of the process of aging — unwinding and letting go).

    Liked by 1 person

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