Releasing Control

Releasing Control: The Key to Happiness

In LISBA by lisbaLeave a Comment

Moving Sucks.

Or…Moving can be a great experience.

That choice is up to us.

A few years ago, I moved from Chicago to San Diego and for much of it I thought, felt, and shared that moving does indeed suck. That sentiment felt especially true moving out of state and having to put nearly everything I owned in one truck and it all not fitting. For most of the move process I was worried, frustrated, anxious, and even angry. Friends said, “Yeah, I can see that, moving is not fun for anyone” or “‘I feel for you, I had this and that problem when I moved, etc.”

Most of us can identify with how big a task it is to move your entire house — and all the associated issues and headaches that go along with it. 99 out of 100 days I am not worried, frustrated, anxious, and especially not angry about anything, but something about this entire experience triggered all those emotions and more. As usual, it was a great opportunity to learn from it and grow. 

A simple Google search will provide countless examples of people who had problems with moving companies and in that search, you’ll find that most of the posts claim that the moving companies took advantage of them, didn’t honor their claims, weren’t responding when needed, etc. If I were to write a review of the actual events that happened, my review would be about the same.

The last 24 hours of the move is when it all came to a head. After waiting 5 days in an empty house for a call from some random person that has 99% of my material life in his/her truck, I finally get a phone call at 7:00 pm on a Sunday night while having a great time at a friend’s birthday party. The driver said he would be at my house at 8:00 am the next morning and needed thousands of dollars in cash for the balance or he couldn’t unload my stuff and would have to turn away and put everything in storage. Having received a confirmation a month prior that I could use a credit card all along the way, this was the last thing I was expecting to hear. To say the least, I was livid because that wasn’t the deal I agreed to. Banks don’t open until 9:00 am and if anything is wrong or damaged with my stuff, I will have already paid the whole move in cash and there is no financial recourse. 

100% of this situation was completely out of my control.

After only 4 hours of sleep, I was up early and worried about this again. As soon as 8:00 am on the east coast hit, I was on the phone with ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Quality Assurance’. Neither one of them answered, so I kept calling until they did. They decided that the deal they agreed to would not be honored, and I owed cash or my belongings wouldn’t be delivered. That was the tipping point. My blood was boiling, the last 46 remaining hairs on my head were standing on end, and I had that angered puffing of the chest going on. I let them have it. Spit was flying everywhere, phones were being thrown across the empty house, and the walls may have been eyes as a viable alternative to a punching bag. I raised my voice, changed my tone, and let them know exactly what they were doing to me — they were holding my stuff ransom and I was backed into a corner with no way out. Ironically, just as I was on the phone with customer service, the song with the lyrics, “despite all the rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage” by the Smashing Pumpkins started playing in my head. We finally settled on allowing me to see the 2 motorcycles to make sure they weren’t damaged — and only then I would release the cash. That’s what it took. That represented a solution to what was eating me up the entire time…

Control. And lack thereof.

At that time, I became very aware of what was happening — actually, what was happening for the entire move process. I had no control over this, I had no control over my stuff, I had no control over them, and I didn’t feel safe. BAM. That was it. I didn’t feel safe and all the hardcore emotions that make our lives painful showed up, along with all the associated adverse health effects that go with inner stress being held in for 2 months. As soon as I realized that I actually DID have control over myself, I looked up at the light blue sky, took a deep breath and told myself to Let. It. Go. 

You know the rest of the story. Once I released control, everything fell into place. The bank opened 15 minutes early and I had a great time exchanging jokes and laughs with the teller. At 8:00 am it was raining too hard for a delivery, but by 9:30 when the movers arrived for the revised appointment, the blues skies were out again and the movers were friendly and went above and beyond to care for all the needs in the new house. All my stuff was accounted for and the motorcycles were completely fine.

Did this really need to happen? Did I need to ruin the last part of the exciting transition to the city I’ve wanted to get back to for 25 years? The answer is no and the solution to make sure this never happens again is to Release Control.

The reality of life is that we have little to no control over anything. Life happens and we are along for the ride. The Universe has been around for billions of years and will be long after we go. We can spend day after day trying to control everything that happens to us, but the truth is that all that effort we give only ends in disappointment or even more harmful emotions when things don’t work out the way we want. In an attempt to make us feel more secure, we spend our lives filling it up with things and creating false relationships with people that cannot make us feel more safe. We do this because, underneath it all, we know that we don’t have control. We have no idea what will happen one minute from now and we certainly have no idea when and how we are going to pass on from this Lyf. In Lyf — everything and everyone — is completely out of our control. And that’s scary.

This move reminded me — in a big way — that when we completely release the need to control external situations and people in our life we are happier and more peaceful. When we understand, accept, and implement that the only control we have is simply over our choice of how we respond to a situation, Lyf gets pretty wonderful. Most of the time when we let go of trying to control everything, things seem to work out. Maybe not exactly in the way we would things to be but often in a better way than we ever expected.

Thank you, moving process, for such a significant and profound wake-up call to Let It Go and focus on controlling our response instead.

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