I have a friend who has developed a paralyzing fear of flying. She lives here and her family is back East, so there are several plane trips a year she has to contend with, not to mention having to do this with a small child. I don’t remember her phobia being this bad years ago, and she has traveled often all over the world. So when she told me about her trip home this past summer, describing the doctor approved Xanax-type pills she swallowed before the plane took off, but that she took THREE of them and still never once relaxed the entire six hours, I knew she was really letting her control issues control her. She tried to explain, “If I don’t stay completely alert and concerned and question every moment that plane is in flight and put all my energy into focusing on the pilots flying that plane, then it will crash and we will all die.” Upon hearing that one statement from my dear friend, my heart just ached at her stress, and worse, knew that she was likely applying this same process to every part of her life, the only result being an utter lack of control. And oh boy have I been there too.
Worry and its cousin Anxiety sprouted from the same family tree as that other dictator, Control. The roots are an entanglement of Fear. Control tells you this great story about Power and how you too can have some of that drug if only you remain in cahoots with Control. Control insinuates that you are always right, but the secret is, only if it makes someone else wrong. Control leaves that part out but shines a light on how wrong everyone else is, even the laws of science and physics and aerodynamics are wrong, just ask my friend who keeps the planes in the sky by using the wiles of Worry and Anxiety. When that plane touches down, Control says, “I told you so! Now you have Power.” But then, the taxi line is 40 minutes long and the weather sucks, and her phone battery died because she didn’t charge it because she was too distracted providing Worry energy to keep the plane aloft. Power is nowhere to be found in that shivering cab line. No bother, Control is right there at her side, but not to provide Comfort or Clarity (Control hates those bitches). Nope, Control introduces her to Blame, and Blame is hot and sexy and intoxicating and seductive, and she takes the hit and off she goes on a bender with Power once again. How big will the hangover be this time?
I think I have finally realized how little control we have over every single solitary thing… except one. It is the thing Control doesn’t want you to control, namely ourselves and our behaviors and our actions. I loved hearing Marianne Williamson describe responsibility this way: two words, “response” and “ability.” Our response-ability is the true Power because it completely removes Blame, yet invites Clarity. The questions become, how am I going to respond to this situation? What do I need to do to respond appropriately? I get tripped up still because I can swing too far to the opposite side of throwing blame to instead accepting all of it. There is a happy medium and life willingly provides daily, sometimes hourly challenges to assist us in building those muscles. Starting by simply paying attention, we will become ripped in response-ability.
That brings me to muscles. Muscles to run up and down hills. Muscles that revolt in soreness. And muscles that grow stronger with a little care and rest. I think initially we can all relate to our physical being more readily than our emotions and certainly our spirits. (That takes a helluvan-extra long time and practice and requires vulnerability and risk, and trusting the right teacher, but when we do, we feel invincible! Yum.) My actual muscles have taken a beating this time out, and I am in fact worried (!) that I will not meet the four hour race course maximum just 13 days from now. However, I know that the actual Power is inside my legs, my arms, my abs, my whole body and that is all I am expected to control for this race. Just me. No one else. No airplanes. No weather. I am going to leave the flying to the pilots.
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