“Control is such an open ended word for me, something that I used to think I owned; I’m standing here with none and feeling so complete…”
This is a lyric from a song called “My Love” by Jess Glynne and the first time I heard it I immediately searched the song and listened to that line a couple times. Control is something I’m working hard to let go of. Last week I was even working on some new agreements that I wanted to make with myself and I had written down the one we all have heard: ‘focus only on that which I can control.’ After a few minutes I drew a nice big, dark line through it: 'focus only on that which I can control.'. The truth is, I can’t control ANYTHING so it’s not worth writing down.
I left my husband and son for over a week to travel to Hawaii and host my very first big wellness retreat. In the weeks leading up to it I was often asked how my two guys would survive and after careful consideration I decided they’d survive just like they do when I’m home. The concern is usually coming from the thought that “nobody does it like mom/dad/me”… but nobody has to.
I could have spent the weeks leading up to my trip and the days I was on the trip trying to control what was going on at home. I could have left a detailed list of what Cannon and I usually do in the morning, for nap time, for bath time, for bed time… and on and on and on. Had I done that then the ones at home would have felt constricted, untrusted, and, well, like someone was trying to control them.
Instead I focused on things that would be helpful - to myself and everyone. At home the morning routines looked different, the food routines looked different, and the house routines looked different; but I came home and everyone and everything was fed, cleaned, and well taken care of.
I took this lack of control thing pretty seriously on the trip as well. When things popped up (and they always do) - I went with the flow, I trusted my own instincts and the instincts of others. It was this style of go with the flow that led me to one of the greatest experiences of my life.
When we arrived at the retreat center we heard that the dolphins usually come in and swim around the bay between 6am and 7am in the morning. So the first morning I woke up and headed straight for the bay… no dolphins. I enjoyed the water, floated around for a bit, and headed back in for yoga and breakfast. That was the only morning I went out to look for the dolphins.
Nearing the end of the trip, in the late afternoon, I felt great but I was tired and I was hot. The owner of the retreat center gave me a hug and told me I needed to go cool off in the water; I didn’t really feel like it but I trusted her instincts. The problem was, massages were happening in my room so I couldn’t go and grab my swimsuit but one of the other girls offered to loan me one. I told three of the girls that I was just going to the water to cool off, assured them that I wasn’t even going to get my hair wet (because I didn’t want to wash it again), and they agreed to go for the same reason.
After about five minutes in the water, there they were, a pod of dolphins. We had one set of snorkel gear between the four of us but we all swam out to them anyway. Trading off the snorkel gear we watched, swam, and played with about 30-40 dolphins for nearly an hour. I’ll always swear that they seemed just as excited to see us as we were to see them. For me this moment seemed so surreal. Unprepared, unplanned (at least by me - obviously someone else had other plans for me), and without trying to control my time it became one of the highlights of my trip… probably even my life.
I get what Jess Glynn was saying now. Control is an open-ended word because it has no limits, there is no yes or no, it’s just this thing that if we keep trying to grab hold of it we’ll always be falling just a little bit short. Control isn’t something we are meant to have, let alone own. So the next time you find yourself reaching, grabbing, or pulling at control just decide to stand there with none, let go and let God (or the Universe, Spirit, Your Higher Power), and I promise you and your experience in this life will feel so complete.
Sweat & Smiles,