Letting Go of the Illusion of Control
I honestly did not think my morning bike ride would lead to any epiphanies or would be the topic of my next blog article. But here we are! My cycling around town today became a metaphor with how I am perceiving life in this 'new normal' (which does not feel normal!) that we are living through with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of my friends have expressed their frustration with the out of control feelings they are facing during this uncertain time. I have always felt that control was an illusion. We think we are in control, but honestly so much of life is beyond our ability to truly control. I am all for setting goals and working towards them, but there are certain things that are simply out of our control. Back in January 2020, as my husband and I were toasting and celebrating the New Year, he said, "This is going to be our year. So many things are coming together in such a huge way both with our work and with our children. 2020 is going to be the best year ever!" We just did not see the storm that was coming our way. No one did. We were optimistic, hopeful, and happy.
The disappointment for ‘the year that never was’ is something a lot of people have faced. Perhaps a wedding had to be cancelled. Or a graduation didn't take place. Grandparents were unable to hold their newborn grandchildren. A new internship or a job was terminated. A brand new business collapsed. Or far worse- the loss of life of a loved one devastated a family. There are a lot of events that never turned out the way that we had hoped and planned for. And we are collectively mourning all of the disappointments that have blindsided us.
In my bike ride today, I did something different. Ordinarily, I have a loop that I like to take as I ride my bike. It's predictable. I know exactly where each turn takes me, and I love it. It's safe. I tend to get lost, as I am missing the GPS chip in my brain, so safe is usually good! Today I decided to just ride and let my bike take me where it wants to go. Surrender. For someone with no sense of direction, that's a pretty big leap. I ended out loving the experience and the words, 'surrender to the unpredictable' (S.T.T.U.) came to me. Ah- this is such a metaphor for what we are all going through right now. There is an old Yiddish saying, 'We make plans, God laughs.' I get it now. Perhaps all of the plans we made will eventually manifest in a different way and in a different time frame than we planned. The outcome is unpredictable, and therein lies the stress for many people.
Surrendering to the Unpredictable (S.T.T.U) is going to be my new mantra for a while. Letting go of what I had hoped for, what I had prayed for, and what I had planned for, and just surrendering to what is. I know there will be a time in the near future for all of our big plans, our vacations, our promotions, and our celebrations. Though I can't see the timeline, I believe that it will happen. We will be more grateful and appreciative than ever when our plans come to fruition. My goal is to find the joy, the light, the happiness, and the love in each and every day. (And the humor- I need the humor!) I choose to begin each day with gratitude and the expression of this gratitude for all the gifts in my life. I am choosing not to see the restrictions and limitations. I am surrendering to the unpredictable. Will you join me in this journey?
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-Susan Ginsberg, Stop and Breathe