Monday, December 31, 2012
Life Is Full of Uncertainties.
Every day we are faced with the challenge of reacting to things that are outside of our control. The actions and behavior of others, the weather, illness, loss, the economy, wars, accidents... So many things that affect us deeply can seem so random and out of our hands. We can ask why... We can live in fear... We can numb ourselves from seeing or feeling... We can give up, since we have no control over it anyway... Or, we can take control.
We Do Have Control.
Granted, not over everything. There are things, lots of things, that just occur, whether we like it or not, whether we are naughty or nice, whether we deserve better, or get what we deserve. The reality of life, from a macro perspective, is as simple as two words: "Shit Happens." So, we can wait for it to hit the fan, or we can go ahead and take control of the things that are absolutely, positively ours to determine. And by being in control of just a few things, we can gain the confidence and strength to face up to the things we cannot control, and put them in a more healthy perspective.
5 Things We Have Complete Control Over:
As we head into a new year and everyone is thinking about their resolutions and goals and three words or simply reflecting on the year that was and the year that may be, I am thinking about how I can do a better job of taking control of the things I actually can control. In particular, I want to do a better job of controlling these 5 things (and you can too):
1. My Body: I have complete control over what I choose to put in my body. It is up to me what foods I choose to eat, what liquids I choose to drink, what medicines or vitamins or drugs I do or do not choose to ingest. How much I consume is also within my control. Of course it is not as easy as it sounds to make all the right choices. It takes discipline and determination, but those are two things that each of us have the power to exercise if we choose to. I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years, a vegan for nearly 5, but still I can take better control over what I put inside my mouth. Most likely we all can. As important as food is, you can't take control over your body without exercise too. Making regular exercise as essential to your being as eating and breathing is the best way to take control. Exercise is not a chore, or a task. It is a way of living. I am pretty good about my food and exercise choices, but I know I can do better.
2. My Mind: I have control over what I choose to expose my mind to. What I read, the movies I watch, the music and podcasts I listen to, the television programs, social media streams, pictures, art and other media I am exposed to is for the most part my choice. I can choose not to watch the latest episode of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." I am in control of whether I allow myself to become addicted to "Homeland." I can determine what I want to expose my mind to and control how I choose to teach and entertain myself. Reading more, and watching less is something I can control better (and hope to).
3. My Attitude: Attitude may not be everything, but it is darn close. I am in control of my attitude. I can wake up each morning and put a frown or a smile on my face. I can carry that comportment with me all day long, and see the world around me through tainted or clear eyes. That choice is mine to make, every day, throughout the day. My attitude is mine to control, and I will reap the rewards or suffer the aggravation according to my choice. The first step toward happiness is to simply be happy. The right attitude can get us there.
4: My Time: Time is a fascinating and powerful thing. It can pass swiftly or slowly. It can heal all wounds. It can soften the hardest rock, and deepen or close chasms. While we have limited (and unknown) time in each of our lives, from moment to moment we are in control of time. What we do with our time each day is our choice. What we do next is our choice. What we do now is our choice. We can make time for the things that we deem to be important. We all have the power to control our time enough to make room for thinking, for meditation, for quiet. We all have the power to make time to listen better, especially to the people we care about. I know I can do a better job of taking control of my time so that the there is always enough of it for the things I have made a priority.
5: My Heart: Contrary to the words of countless songwriters and poets, we can control our hearts. We can choose to be more loving and caring, and to be more open to the love around us. To tell our children or parents that we love them is completely under our control. To treat others with compassion and understanding is as easy as choosing to do so. We each control that choice. When you realize that you can indeed control your heart, you will also realize that our hearts can grow without limit. If we choose to be more loving, we have an endless capacity to do so. That's the path I want to try and take. To control my heart, and grow it.
These are the things I believe I can control, and my goal for the new year is to step-up my game and take more control of each of them.
How about you?
Happy New Year!
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