#confession: I can be a bit of a control freak. You might not notice it unless you know me well, but it’s there, partially eclipsed by an easy going front. For a long time the front was even fooling me. But then this shadowy feeling pops up. Sometimes it looks like outright manipulation of a situation (felt most acutely when my attempts to control are proving unsuccessful) and sometimes it’s more of a subtle rigidity that shuts out possibility instead of opening to it.
Life (aka my toddler) has been providing me with lots of opportunities to feel what it feels like to be utterly unable to control a situation. I do not enjoy this. So, there’s probably some learning there.
Also, trying to control everything is really tiring, and I suspect it’s robbing me of opportunities to be surprised and delighted by life.
Case in point: a couple of months ago my husband and I decided to book a trip to Hawaii. I’ve been trying to get more in flow, building a life out of the experiences I find myself dreaming to have. This trip was kind of just a delightful idea. And then I bought the flights.
A few days later I spent several frustrated hours looking for a place to stay that wasn’t a cheesy timeshare condo. One by one I scoured every airbnb listing on the island and came up with a handful of properties that were ok. Looking over them with my husband, we were both underwhelmed and kind of at a loss, so he started doing the same thing I had done – clicking through all the listings one by one.
It was only a few minutes of this before my inner micromanager was on fire: Why is he wasting time? I just told him this is exactly what I’ve already done! I looked at every listing on this Island and already gathered the best options! Does he think I’m incompetent or something?!?
Luckily, instead of voicing any of these complaints, I gathered up all the strength I could manage, bit my tongue, and chose to just sit with the drive to control the situation. Truth be told, I figured if he wanted to waste his time, fine, but I also wanted to see what a little space would allow for. #magic
We’ve just returned from two weeks of basking in the beauty of Kauai.
Upon our arrival we drove to a secluded bay on the North shore of the island, well off the beaten path, and were greeted by two of the most welcoming people I have encountered in all of our travels.
That search of my husband’s, the one I didn’t shut down or try to micromanage, had revealed a small collection of dwellings built to flow into the natural beauty of the island. Reclaimed wood, earthen walls and floors built of that very land, windows glowing with the hues of hundreds of recycled bottles, antique teak doors that opened an entire wall to overlook the ocean and bring the outdoors in…
Our son delighted in digging in the dirt, discovering delicious tropical fruits straight from the tree, playing in the waves, and was enthralled by the company of our hosts and their dog. He is still giving us ukulele concerts almost daily. Thanks to our lovely hosts/new Hawaii family, we were invited to pot lucks, a party with extraordinary live music, outings with local families and play dates with new friends.
There was little cell reception, and wifi only in one specific area, giving us an almost unheard of opportunity to unplug.
It couldn’t have been more in line with what we were searching for.
This is not the first time in my life where I’ve seen things unfold beautifully when I let go of attachments and stop trying to control everything, but it’s a very timely reminder for me.
This letting go feels like it might be the foundation for living a beautiful, on purpose kind of life.
When I remember to step out of control, I see so many opportunities to experience fulfillment, to be wrapped in wonder, and to feel the connection that we all share.
Life is full of beauty and possibilities, if only we allow space to see.