This is Why You Must Let Go of Control

The night air was heavy with humidity.

Unrelenting heat was radiating from the worn city streets, porch stoops, and old brick buildings.

The familiar sounds of car horns, barking dogs, and sirens were muted within the club, overtaken by the thumping, rhythmic beat of the music. The tiny, dark, and narrow space was packed with bodies.

25 years ago on this balmy July night, my friend, Keith had somehow convinced me this was the place I needed to be. A Baltimore club with a mix of black-clad post-punk types, local college students, and general misfits from Charm City and beyond.

I hated this scene. In my early twenties I usually preferred to stay home. Clubs and bars made me uncomfortable, but there was my insistent friend.

So I stood there, sipping my drink, rocking to the music. I did not want to be there on that sweltering night in the city. This wasn’t my kind of place.

But someone did approach me that night. The woman I’ve been married to for 20 years.

Twist of fate?

Meant to be?

In the cards?

I don’t know.

But if it wasn’t for my friend not taking “no” for an answer, I never would have even met the woman I would marry. My two kids wouldn’t be here, and I certainly wouldn’t be living in Seattle.

Oh, and a million other things would be different.

Okay, I met my wife in a bar. Kind of ironic considering I didn’t go out much at the time.

And guess what? She didn’t want to be there either. Her sister dragged her away from college textbooks. Funny thing, chance.

Is control an illusion?

Like the story above, so many events in our lives are simply happenstance. Is it an illusion to think that you have control over your life?

I didn’t plan to meet my future wife that night. It just happened. No plan. No map. No control. And one little hiccup in either of our schedules, even in my friend’s routine that day, would have dramatically altered our lives and the lives of people we knew and now know.

Just think of your activities over the past few weeks. Did everything go according to plan? Maybe they kinda, sorta did, but not really, right? Life does indeed get in the way.

You do have a choice though.

When something goes wrong I often blame myself. As if I really had complete control over what transpired. And this helps the old lizard brain sneak in, with fear, worry, guilt.

When we learn to let go and realize we don’t have complete control over events in our lives, we gain a bit of freedom.

Freedom from the blame, pain, stress and anxiety that comes from thinking you have to be at the helm and in charge of what transpires, always.

You also have freedom to simply accept our reptilian friend and deal with that ancient programming in you. You deal and move on.

You can control some things.

Learning to accept the fact that not everything is in your hands makes it a better journey. Chance, chaos, and simple everyday events intervene and constantly change our path.

Completely crazy people sometimes come in to stir the pot too, and we all know how fun that is.

Part of this process is holding yourself accountable for your choices AND dealing with things as they happen.

But you can’t control everything.

External circumstances will intervene, so we need to learn to roll with the punches.

You can point the finger and blame all your problems on these incidents or you can take possession of them and step into the pilot’s seat.

When you let go, adjust and change the way you perceive the events constantly coming at you, new options are always available. If we are able to stand back and look at it — whatever it is — from a different perspective.

So, what am I trying to say here?

Maintain your path, but let go of what you can’t control. Realize what you can control and what you can’t, and try and take advantage of those golden nuggets as they appear, because they will.

Do you think control is an illusion?

Do you believe in fate?

If not, how does choice trump happenstance in determining our destiny?