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Being "In Control" vs. "Going with the Flow"

As humans, we are somehow wired to believe that we have to "CONTROL" the things happening around us and in our lives to find happiness and feel more peaceful.

  • We try to predict what problems MIGHT arise and plan for them to prevent them from happening.

  • We try to think through any possible scenario that we might face and make today's decisions with all of those situations and choices in mind, rather than being present and living in this moment that we are currently in.

  • When things get crazy, we try to tighten the reins on life to get things "back under control" which often only makes us feel more out of control because it doesn't work. (As you might recall, I have horses, so I have to point out that tightening the reins doesn't work with them either - while we think we'll gain more control, we typically only frustate and worry our horses and end up with a ticking timebomb of a horse, which is the exact opposite of what we were trying to accomplish.)

And if we don't learn this lesson through life experiences we've had so far in our lives, lessons will continue surfacing to try to teach us a different way to be - how to live in the present moment and go with the flow vs. trying to gain or maintain control of things that were never ours to control (nor possible to control).

Life experiences and the lessons we gain through them are so impactful. However, sometimes we miss them if we don't reflect on what we experience and learn from it. I'll admit - I've always been one to try to CONTROL things - to predict the scenarios that could happen and prevent the bad stuff and to figure it all out ahead of time. I know why I'm wired that way and I know it's not the best way to operate; however, the internal wiring of our bodies and minds can be tricky to shift and it takes time, awareness and lots of practice. I've made great progress over the years, yet sometimes I still slip back into old habits and ways of thinking and being.

Enter the latest "life lesson" in my life. In September, I trapped a beautiful stray calico cat with the plan of getting her spayed so she didn't have kittens and contribute to the population of feral cats in my area. Fast forward a few weeks when I discovered that she was already pregnant. At that moment, I realized that I was in for the long haul with this unexpected project. A few years ago I had adopted two VERY feral cats to live on my farm and had no clue what I was getting myself into. And now, here I was preparing to provide a home to a momma cat and however many kittens she had. This time around, I also had no clue what I was getting myself into.

In mid-October, the kittens arrived. 5 teeny, tiny little blobs of fur. Momma was very young, but seemed to inately know what to do, which provided some relief to me. We lost 1 kitten in the first 24-hours, but the other 4 have continued to grow and thrive. With every week older that they become, there have been new lessons for me and new challenges too. Just when I thought I had a particular situation "under control" with them (such as keeping them in a contained space for their own safety), they would figure out a way to shake things up and put me in problem-solving (or problem-prevention) mode.

The biggest lesson and reflection came about 2 or so weeks ago. I could NO longer contain them. They were EVERYWHERE!!! I tried to keep track of them and keep them in the caged area that I created. But try as I might, I did not succeed. I remember one evening when I would pick up one kitten to put it back where it should be and two more would escape. Catch those two and the other two ran off. It was constant chaos. I was trying to control things because I was on a schedule and taking care of them before I had to leave for work. I didn't have time to deal with all of this. However, one day as I reflected, I thought "I can either let this stress me out OR I can learn to "go with the flow" a bit more and just deal with whatever they throw at me day by day. Thankfully I learned that lesson a few weeks ago and have settled into just accepting the present moment and whatever chaos they are getting into because week #7 of kittenhood has reached an all new level of insanity. Now even though every day is still chaos with these extremely active kittens, I can still find peace in the midst of that chaos.

Reflection Time: What life experience have YOU had that has taught (or tried to teach) you the art of "going with the flow" vs. trying to control everything and everyone in your life?

Picture of my latest "Life Lessons" below...

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