Hurricane Ida and Nora

Wasted Worry

I know this may seem insensitive to those who went through Hurricane Ida in the United States or Hurricane Nora on the mainland of Mexico, but I was upset we didn’t get a hurricane. Let me explain.

Early last week, Windy.com showed a possible wind formation for this past weekend. Last Thursday NOAA made it official that there would be a tropical storm or hurricane. For three days, I obsessively monitored that latest information about the storm. How big would it become? How would it affect my city? Would there be rain or wind or both?

Windy.com

Prepare for the Worst

After living in a hurricane path for six years, we have become accustomed to hurricane season. August and September, we stay on alert. We watch the sites for notifications of storms. We are fortunate to have scientific bodies who monitor potential storms, their possible direction and intensity. We prepare for potential storms. The first few storms, we really didn’t know what we were doing, but now we know what to expect, what to purchase, and how to prepare. Just like making sure there is an ice scraper in the car and that the snow blower is in working order before a blizzard, we are able to prepare for a possible hurricane. My husband and I are blessed to have the money and means to buy and store extra food, water, and gasoline for a generator.

Hope for the Best

We prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But do I really? I did prepare for the worst, but I think I found myself expecting, and dare I say, wanting the worst. I found myself obsessed with the hurricane path. Tropical storms are interesting creatures. As much as technology and science can alert us to a storm, it is not an exact science. The forecast fluctuates as many variables, like hitting land or moving over warm waters, can change the direction and intensity of a potential storm. I, stupidly, found myself becoming angry when the storm diminished in intensity and moved away from being a threat to my home. Why is that?

Accept the Situation

Accepting the situation was NOT what I was doing. I had invested so much time and worry into the storm’s path that when it was not going to hit, I could see how much worry I had wasted. I was being an obsessed drama queen. My expectations of where, when, and how the storm was going to hit were not met, and I was angry. I was trying to control the uncontrollable. Once again, I found myself planning, worrying, and expecting instead of just living. I was angry at myself for being obsessed about a storm that never arrived.

Keep Living

This is what I forgot to do. I was focused on controlling the uncontrollable or being so focused on worry that I put my life on hold. I waited on, anticipated, the storm. I didn’t go places. I didn’t do things. I told others that I may not be able to make commitments the following week because of the storm. I put a big pause button on my life waiting for something to happen, which never materialized. And I was kinda angry because of all the time and focus I wasted.

What in your life are you waiting to have happen or to be resolved before you move forward? How much time and effort are being spent focusing on things you can not control? What parts of your life are you putting on hold until something beyond your control is resolved?  Breathe. Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. Accept the current situation which may be one of uncertainty. And keep living.

trying to control the uncontrollable

When Control Is Out of Control

Margie was the best hostess. She greeted everyone at the door. She passed appetizers and offered drinks. Margie ensured that everyone had a good time and that absolutely everything was perfect. The problem was – this was not Margie’s party. She was a guest at the party like everyone else and yet she acted as if she owned the place. Margie is a control freak. She needs to be in charge. She needs to be in control. I used to be like Margie.

trying to control the uncontrollableWhen I was in the height of my Type-A days, I was a major control freak. I felt responsible for the feelings and actions of all those around me. I felt responsible for ensuring everything within my view went smoothly. My body ached due to the weight I put on my own shoulders. I was in a constant state of alert watching for something to be out of alignment for me to fix. My adrenals worked overtime as the stress I created never receded.

Finally on day while I was out with a friend, I finally realized how far my desire for control had gotten. As I talked to my friend, a stranger’s towel five feet away from me was picked up by the wind and almost fell in the water. I gasped and lunged in vain for the towel. My friend called me on it and I finally realized the extent my sense of responsibility had gotten. I was no longer living my life. I was living solely to care for everything and everyone around me. Realizing my desire for control and responsibility smothered my ability to enjoy life, I had to make a change.

Why do we feel we need to be in control all the time and in every situation?

For Margie, her intent was not to be rude to the actual hostess. The reason Margie took on the responsibilities of the hostess, and the reason many of us do it, is to feel safe. If she could ensure everyone was happy, no one would attack her. If nothing broke, she couldn’t be blamed. If nothing went wrong, there was nothing for her to feel guilty about. If she took care of everything, then she was safe and secure. Control is a security blanket in a scary uncertain world.

Did you know there is a better way to feel safe? Do you know there is a more relaxed way to be productive?

Instead of holding an iron first around everyone and everything around you, try letting go. Control binds us keeping us closed off and small. Releasing our feeling of responsibility and misbelief in the power of control, we can actually find real contentment.

If we turn to nature, we see that it does not fight to control. A maple tree does not feel responsible for its saplings; the tree naturally releases seeds trusting they will fare well. A stream does not try to direct its course; water simply flows the path of least resistance. A bird does not create an exact flight plan; taking flight the bird trusts its internal guidance system and adapts easily to new wind currents and obstacles.

Next time you catch yourself trying to control the uncontrollable, next time you feel tightness in your back as you strain to make something bend to your will, take a breath. Relax. Wait. Instead of forcing what you believe must happen, relax into the flow of what is emerging. We always have choice and action but instead of misbelieving we can create the outcome, relax into the truth of the situation and then like the river choose the path of least resistance. You will find that things happen for the better, with less effort, and in amazing ways you could not have imagined. And you fill find a love of life again.