Monday, February 25, 2019

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - Adventure is a Mindset

This is a message for the full spectrum of control freaks out there. You know who you are. There are many variations and degrees to the need for control. Some are more healthy than others. We all like to have at least some control over our lives. That’s natural. But do stay on the lookout for when it begins to disrupt your happiness. Even if you’re used to it.
If you begin to observe that your desire to be in control of everything is taking up too much of your time and joy every day, that’s a worthy observation to make. Good for you. Now be careful of how you go about soothing that. Attacking a control fetish head-on will never work. This is a part of our psyche that likes to stay broken. One needs to be a bit crafty.
I had a friend in seminary who used to laugh and say, “God’s got jokes. He sure does got jokes.” He meant that whenever we try to make a plan, only God knows what’s really going to happen. My friend evoked an image of a deity looking down from a porthole in the sky chuckling to himself saying, “Oh, you think so, do you? That’s a good one.” If there’s any truth to that scenario, I bet God is doing far more than just chuckling. Is it possible God could pee Itself laughing?
The point being, why try so hard to control life? Let it go. It shall not be controlled no matter what. Quit building dams of sand and just go with the flow a little. Start by sitting on the shore of a stream, in either reality or visualization, and let the current drag your legs a bit. Let them feel the pull of the water. Just notice it, take a deep breath and reach toward any thought of gratitude. This is a literal suggestion. This is the way―and there is no other―to deliberately program your brain to allow for the realities you want.
We have to be gentle with the control freaks inside us. They can too easily take charge of our inner-narrative if we tempt them into action. When engaged, they can control our perception of reality. Don’t give them an opportunity to put up any defenses. Let that part of your mind think it’s in control of the switch while you stealthily make your way toward the plug.
Begin with small symbolic actions and praise yourself for your level of comfort, whatever it may be. Take a small risk, no matter how inconsequential, and pat yourself on the back for it. That type of action goes below the radar of our excessive desire for control and calms it from within.
Two years ago, Jamie and I made a pilgrimage to Uluru rock in central Australia. We were given “buddy tickets” from a family member who works at an airline. The conditions of the tickets were that we’d have to wait standby and take the risk of not getting on the flights we wanted. We chose not to pre-book our hotels just in case. This made it necessary to become comfortable with traveling halfway around the world without an itinerary of any kind. Notice your reaction to that thought.
We took a lot of deep breaths. We relied on the friendship within our marriage to get us through the more challenging parts of our complicated and multi-legged journey. We did our best to laugh alongside God whenever possible. Jamie makes excellent silly faces.
What happened as a result of our leap was the difference between having an nice, safe itinerary and a real adventure. We discovered things we didn’t expect to see and places we definitely didn’t expect to go. We chose a mindset that allowed for course-correction. We made a game of it. The trip altered our lives in miraculous ways impossible to predict.
Change your mindset about the expectations you have for your time here on earth. Make plans, have dreams, but don’t be over-attached to them. Remain nimble. Try to engage with life on the terms of an adventure rather than an itinerary. It just may well end up that there was an even better plan in store for you all along.

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