A Story About a Recovering Control Freak

Hello, my name is Shannon, and I am addict.

I am addicted to being in control.

For much of my life, I had a deep, inexorable craving to control all areas and aspects of my life. From my physical body (its appearance and what I put into it), to my relationships (trying to control how other people behave, feel, and treat me), to the outcome of situations (wanting it to be MY way, 100% of the time) . . . I had lofty expectations for how life should unfold.

E X P E C T A T I O N <---- The seed of suffering.

S H O U L D <---- The prelude to pain.

Perhaps you can relate, and you tightly grip onto your expectations with white knuckles, wondering why you are often frustrated, irritated, and find yourself shaking your fist at the sky.

It doesn't have to be that way. But it starts with YOU having to make the change.

Over time, I grew tired of wallowing in my own BS, being my own worst enemy, and being the "victim" in my life. It was time to become the heroine of my story, and that required choosing something different for myself.

And that meant learning how to flow like water.

Let me share a story about being in flow.

Last Friday while I was on my way home, I received a text from the owner of an Airbnb rental in Portland for a trip I am taking next month (which I am SO excited about by the way - I haven't had a vacation in like .... over 2 years? Eeeeek). She unfortunately had to cancel my reservation, as she is moving before my trip.

Well SH*T.

My mind started to race - like a bat outta hell - towards the negative:

  • This apartment was in the perfect location in Portland ... nothing left will be as good.
  • Ugh, now I will have to rent a car. This trip is getting too expense. Should I cancel?
  • OMG, I don't have TIME for this.

Before the negative thoughts could tighten their tendrils around my mind, a loving voice inside whispered, "breathe in, breathe out, it's all good."

When I got home, I didn't rush to the computer to try to "fix it" (the old Shannon would have been all over it like a bee on honey...or more like a bee in a bonnet). Instead, I ate lunch and chilled for a bit. Then I checked some emails, paid some bills, checked in on social media land, and THEN casually started looking for a new place to stay in Portland.

Low and behold, new listings had popped up since my last search, in the same location and price range. I couldn't believe my eyes when I found the cutest, most rad TINY HOUSE that could be rotated in 360 degrees so it could face the sun (or not). Um, WHAT? Yes, please! I've always wanted to stay in a tiny house ... and now I will next month!

Moral of the story is - believe that the Universe has your back 100% of the time. When things fall apart - and they WILL - believe that just MAYBE space is being created for something MORE amazing to happen. Instead of resisting, flow like water and trust that it will all work out. Because it will. 

Over time, I have come to learn that:

THINGS DON'T HAPPEN TO YOU,
THEY HAPPEN FOR YOU.

Read that a couple of times and let it sink in. Rather than seeing unexpected events as an affront to the very fabric of your existence, consider that every obstacle placed in front of you is an opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve...and that you have a chance to let the flow of events bring you to exactly where you need to be. Recently, I heard Tony Robbins say "Problems need energy to live." If we fuel the fire of our challenges with negative thoughts and emotions, they explode in size and burn out of control. But it doesn't have to be that way.

The next time you are faced with a problem, TRY THIS: 

  1. B R E A T H E. Before anxiety takes over and you go into reaction mode, take 5 deep belly breaths. Aim for 5-7 seconds on the inhale, 5-7 seconds on the exhale.
  2. S A Y  Y E S. Welcome it in with an affirmation like "I see this as an opportunity to learn and grow. I am free, flexible, and in flow with the river of life. I trust the Universe has my back." You've got this. You've survived every other challenge in life so far, and this will be no different.
  3. Room to G R O W. If the situation allows, put some space and time between yourself and the issue so you can later approach it with fresh eyes, and an open mind and heart.
  4. B E L I E V E. Trust that even if the outcome is different than your original expectations, you are making space for something even more amazing to happen.

When I started to believe that things don't happen to me, they happen FOR me, my life began to change in the most beautiful way. While I am still a recovering control freak, this shift in perception has opened my heart to leveraging problems and obstacles to my advantage. As much as I am a strong swimmer, I'm learning to love the feeling of moving with the current, rather than fighting against it. Care to flow with me?