Well, I’m back for another week of A to Z Challenge posts.
This week is brought to you by the letters G to L and by the numbers 7 to 12 and I could tell you how to get to Sesame Street, but I left my GPS in my other bag.
Yesterday was a blog free day – one of only four in April and so in keeping with my new-found permission, I decided to just hang and go with the flow. This ended up in me cutting the pad of my left index finger with a kitchen knife in trying to tame a piece of pork shoulder. So far it’s pork shoulder – 1, Judy – 0 and all I’m going to say is I’m looking forward to the rematch. What this means though is that my key board skills are currently compromised. Do you know how essential the index finger on your left hand is to touch typing? Even if you’re more than a two finger typist? So every time I type the letters “r”, “t”,”c”, “d”, and “v”, the pork shoulder comes back to trumpet its victory. And whilst my writing skills are almost legendary, I have yet to master the art of writing a blog post without the letters “r” and “t” and “d”. I’m thinking “c” and “v” are probably more dispensable, but the Challenge is not the time to prove that theory. And just to rub salt into the wound, guess what came next after cutting my finger. That’s right, I had to rub salt into the pork shoulder and you can guess where some of the salt ended up. It seems my pain impulses are in perfect working order, seriously good to know! Anyway, now that I have set the scene for the week of blogging ahead with the appropriate degree of pathos, never let it be said that the show hasn’t gone on.
Yes, I could have pre-programmed my Challenge posts, but I didn’t because there is some part of me that loves the thrill of winging it and of being flexible about writing what I feel like on the day. The irony is also not lost on me for the topic of this post….. for there it is, a perfect example of going with the flow.
Control, what an illusion? No really, it is. And it only took me forty plus years to realise. Clearly, I’m a slow study. Over recent years, I have become acutely aware of what I can’t control and have come to accept that that’s the case.
The notion of objective fairness used to loom large in my life. My expectations of certain outcomes as a result of other people acting fairly or life treating me fairly were keeping me hostage. Mind you, I expected no less of myself (and I still don’t), but then it occurred to me that the only one who was interested in my expectations was me and the only one who suffered when my own expectations were not met, was me. There was no lightening bolt from the heavens on the person or circumstance that didn’t exhibit the appropriate degree of fairness. They carried on as if nothing had happened, because in their reality nothing had!
How many times have you heard or said the following expressions?
He/She should have done this
I can’t believe he/she didn’t/did do that
She/he should have realized X and therefore done/said Y
This is the language of control and I’m not going to lie, I used to say these quite a bit.
The energy I spent in trying to determine outcomes was huge. The fact is, I can’t. Everyone has freedom of choice as to how they respond to external stimuli. YOU have freedom of choice as to how you respond to external stimuli. That’s the only thing we can control, our response and our thoughts and actions. The rest is up for grabs.
Every day brings new stimuli and situations, particularly at this midlife stage. More rapid change is now inevitable and the longer we hold on to what WAS, we cannot enjoy what IS and nor can we smooth over the necessary transitions. Flexibility and patience are needed to locate those doors that are now opening. Your flow will determine which ones you open and enter.
So, it’s time to move from control to acceptance and respond by kicking the crap out of middle age!
Today I give myself permission to go with the flow and to indulge my left index finger.
32 thoughts on “Today I Give Myself Permission To Go With The Flow #atozchallenge”
One of the things that I am learning this semester is that you don’t know all that there is to know and that you don’t know. Going with the flow is difficult for me but I am getting better at recognising what I can change and what I can’t and spending my energies on what is within my control to manage. 🙂 Noice one Judy!
Knowing what we don’t know is a biggie. I also agree with you about the difficulty of going with the flow in study. At the end of the day, all we can do is our best and not sweat the small stuff. And ta about the noice 🙂
There was an article in the NYT entitled: “We Are What We Quote.” One new and improved favourite quote…”Hold what you have…not what you are missing…” comes from…sadly I can’t remember. It is however, what you so eloquently stated, all about the act and joy of acceptance.
Thank you for that….
That’s a wonderful quote, Jots. I’m finding so many good ones these days, I think I’ve become the quote queen in my search for answers.I accept that my search for answers is currently at an all time high and to be honest I’m enjoying the process. It’s making me a lot more introspective than I have ever been, but I love becoming acquainted with myself. Some people will have never have the privalege of finding who they are.
Yes, I agree…privilege finding ourselves….it is hard work, however.
I winged it for two years, but this year life got to me, and I entered two blogs– so I prescheduled almost everything.
You have to do whatever works. I had intended to preschedule but the fates had other ideas. I’m enjoying the freedom of spontaneous creation.
I stand on awe of your witing posts from scratch every day!! I thought you had prepared some of them in advance.
Great topic again – I can relate to “My expectations of certain outcomes as a result of other people acting fairly or life treating me fairly were keeping me hostage”. Rings the same bell as “… as a result of my own working hard, being talented or being fair…”
Though unfair people are not struck by lightning immediately I feel that you are sometimes rewarded for fairness in the long run.
You might be right, Elke. I guess I have seen it so many times in the workplace that fairness counts for very little. I strongly believer in karma though, even though I might be around to see it do its work.
I’m sorry you made this sound so humorous! Even though I fully realise that a knife wound plus salt is absolutely going to test your pain responses. Control may be illusionary but I still keep trying (and I’m older than you) though occasionally I succeed. I winged it on A to Z last year and decided that control worked better for me 😉
Pauleen at Tropical Territory
A to Z 2013
That’s OK, laugh away, Cass. I love writing things that amuse people, but I can’t always pull it off. Some days I can’t channel my inner ham. I’m not surprised you prepared this year, your posts are so comprehensive and visually beautiful. I’m off to visit your place now.
It is a difficult thing indeed to try and change the way we are.. I’m a tad of a control freak ..so as much as I would like ‘acceptance’ it won’t come easy. Great Post again though Judy, you do write very thought provoking articles. I am sorry about your finger but laughed hysterically about trying to type 😦 mybad xx
Laugh away, Rambles. It makes my day when people say they responded to a post with a laugh. I wish I could write like that every day, but sometimes I can’t channel my inner ham. She’s burried under all that reality or she’s off having a party with your muse. Tell ’em both to come home 😉
Thanks mate, much appreciated, And congrats to you! Well deserved 🙂
Good blog, but I sense a sort of quietism here. If we see something that is clearly wrong it seems we have an obligation to do something — if we can hope to be the least bit effective. It’s not necessarily a question of “control” so much as a question of concern. On the other hand, it does us no good whatever to worry about things we have no control over.
You might be right about quietism. I certainly don’t condone the continuation of something being wrong, I guess I am less inclined to jump in on instinct and more inclined to consider the other side or opposing point of view.
One of the first things my oh-so-wise therapist had me do was strike the word “should” from my vocabulary.
For all my planning ahead for the A to Z Challenge, right down to a full outline of posts, I’ve changed four of the eight I’ve written due to going with the flow. While they worked for me at the time I wrote the outline, when it came time to write the posts, I wasn’t feeling it. I gave myself permission to go with the flow.
Great post. 🙂
Way to go, Ellen! I also have a list of headings drown up and have found I have changed half of them too. If you don’t feel your writing, it tends to come through to the reader.
Once we learn that we can’t control other people’s actions, but we CAN control our own responses to those actions, life gets easier. Unfortunately, reaching that state of control-acceptance zen is not easy! Until then, it’s like rubbing salt in a wound. Oh, wait, you already did that… 😉
Yes, tick the rubbing salt thing off my list…. at least dinner was salvaged, the same can’t be said for the pig 😉 The theory of control acceptance is certainly easier than the practice, but conscious awareness is at least a first step.
Bloody good post!! (Was that too on-the-nose…?)
Actually nicely done. I very much like the way you handle language. Effortless, pithy and altogether engaging. Good read. Thank you so much and please feel better.
Woot, so excited to see you here again and what a bloody good comment. Bloody as an expression is never on the nose, at least not to an Australian. We bloody use it all the time ;). And thanks, finger is coming good as we speak.
As time goes by and we reach our senior years, we find our need for control taking a back seat. I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been there, done that already, are tired or finally reach our stride and realize it’s just not worth all that effort and energy. I’m absolutely amazed how laid back I’ve become and I LIVE with my children (but I’m learning).
Wonderful post, as always.
It’s good to hear that life can possibly get even more chill. Perhaps its the privalege of being a grandparent 😉
Good post Jude. Does it hurt when you give the index finger salute? And if you give the salute is that going with the flow or fighting like a salmon? Fish is much easier to cut by the way.
Thanks for the advice about the fish, I’m sure there’s a mob/herd, group of pigs who are now all breathing a huge sigh of relief. And you know not to ask me deep philosphical questions about salmons and salutes. It leads to very strange pathways, indeed 🙂
You have proven you can NOT handle a day off! I hope your finger is better soon.
A to Z buddy
Peanut Butter and Whine
This is true, thankfully the next one is 5 days away ;). Will swing by your blog to check out some of your A to Z posts.
Goodness gracious!!! I needed to read this today. I needed that well placed kick in the pants… thank you! Hope you are feeling better and back to your gregarious self…
G’day, DAF. I have missed your comments around here – the Challenge within the Challenge. Hope you are making serious headway with the move. And thank you for saying I’m gregarious. I try, can’t always pull it off.