Friday, March 16, 2012

Losing Control

Have you heard this phrase? "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

So true. Things never work out exactly as planned. And the more detailed the plan is - the more things won't go that way.  

(By the way, did you know that that quote was taken from a song that John Lennon wrote for his son, Sean called "Beautiful Boy"? I had no idea until I Googled it.) 

For an OCD planner like me, this truth really bugs me. How can I plan and therefore control my life if there are unseen forces working against me!?!

Take my wedding for example. I created a detailed, 15 page packet for each person in the wedding party containing checklists, floor maps, photos of how the decorations and tables should look (Drawn in excel, by me, including multiple strands of twinkly lights. I drew every single light bulb!), contact lists, even a wedding party task schedule broken down in half hour increments. I planned every last minute of that wedding, and did it turn out perfectly? Of course not.

I remember my coworker telling me a few days before my big day, not to worry because something always goes wrong at weddings. This did wonders for my stress level, let me tell you. Instead of relaxing and enjoying getting ready on the morning of the wedding, I was paralyzed with fear that something was going to happen to ruin my day. 

In reality, the list of things that went wrong were minor and not worth the added stress: The company hired to deliver and set up the chairs at the ceremony was late, the limo taking me and my bridal party to the ceremony had a broken trunk that wouldn't shut, the DJ set up his turntables in the dining area instead of on the dance floor, one of the keg pumps broke, and a few guests were no-shows. So no major disasters occurred, but I can still remember my barely controlled rage when Lily had to inform me that the DJ had set up in the wrong place and it was too late to switch it around so they were going to move some speakers outside instead. Obviously the DJ had not bothered to read his wedding packet. I managed to let it go though, and we all had a great time. (Though I can't imagine how much BETTER a time everyone would have had if the DJ had followed my instructions...but I'm trying not to dwell on it too much...I'll be married two years in October...I should be over it by my golden anniversary)

It has recently become apparent to me that no matter how much effort I've put into it, I just don't have the power to control the universe as it relates to my life. I'm still trying, but I'm definitely noticing more and more the futility in my attempts. 

So where does this leave me? A little shell-shocked, slightly pissed off, but more importantly - hopeful. 

I'm hopeful because if I don't have the power to control every detail of my life, if I don't have the power to predict or control the future, and if I don't have the power to change the past - then I can let it all go! 

Let those unforeseen forces have at it! I'm taking a well-deserved vacation! Let those chips fall wherever they damned well may...

Serious though, how do I let go? It sounds like a great idea in theory, but in practice? How do I not plan things?

My friend told me recently about a yoga class she had taken. At the end of the class the teacher had the students all lie on the floor in shavasina (dead man's pose). She instructed them to let go of their stresses and the thoughts running through their minds, and just concentrate on being in the moment.

I think I'll start with this moment right now.