Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In Search of...control in a chaotic world

It's 4 something a.m. and I've just woken up in a state of panic. It happens to me every so often - my subconscious mind goes where my conscious mind won't let it go during the day.

I've decided to get up and do something productive (like my blog) before attempting to get more desperately needed sleep, and in the hopes that I can steer my mind away from what frightens me enough to go back to sweet dreams. But these are frightening times, and it's got me thinking - about all the things we do to convince ourselves that we have some modicum of control in our lives when in fact we know that this is a seemingly random universe...or at least not based on anything that we mere mortals would consider fair or just.

After water damage destroyed some books, pictures and papers in my apartment a couple of times, I started learning to release some of my attachment to things. (I also moved photographs and letters that were precious to me into plastic bins.)

I got to thinking about people who lost everything they had in fires and floods and other assorted natural disasters. I wondered how I would cope if that were me, what I would want to grab if I could and what would stay behind and be lost forever.

We spend our lifetimes acquiring stuff, and I think it's mostly to try to make ourselves feel safe and solid and sure. It gives us the false illusion that we're not going anywhere, when in fact we all are.

And it's not that I've gotten rid of everything I own or am by any means a minimalist. I just have to know that I'm okay without my things...that they do not define me, nor do they make me safe.

So what does then? What control do we have? Well, we have control over what we do and say and how we view things. We have control over what value we place on things and people and experiences. We have control over how we view the world. And I dare say we have control over what we learn in the midst of our most trying times.

So today, I'm going to appreciate what I've got, knowing that what I've got may be gone some day, either by choice or not by choice. And I'm not relegating that to things either. I'm going to look at the relationships I've cultivated and maybe take some time to do a little more cultivating. I'm going to get rid of a few more things, so I feel unencumbered by them. And I'm going to appreciate the greatest gift I've got - another day of life.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

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