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.