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Control…or Lack Thereof!

Control…or Lack Thereof!

Greetings one and all!

It has been a rather crazy week in my corner of the world. So, I am quite thankful to have a few minutes to relax, sip some coffee, watch the snow fall, and chat with you. Please, find a cozy spot in your world and enjoy a brief “time out” with me. Today, let’s chat about the issue of control…or lack thereof!

Control. Something most of us desire. To be “in control” gives us a sense of certainty, perhaps even a sense of power. If we are “in control,” we feel assured that we know what is around the next bend. When “in control,” we believe our plans will unfold as designed. Right? Consequently, it’s no wonder that we long to be “in control” during chaotic, stressful times in life. Therefore, I speak to the issue of control in many of my educational programs for caregivers and care receivers. As I learned a few weeks ago, I need to practice what I preach!

I have the distinct honor of presenting webinars on various aspects of caregiving for several clients. Since I office in my home, I take precautions to ensure a quiet space from which to conduct webinars. Since I live with several dogs, I attempt to control any stimulus that could spark a barking frenzy, thus disrupting the serenity of my office. I place signs on my front door requesting that people resist the temptation to knock on the door or ring the doorbell. I pray that UPS and FedEx have no need to stop at my home during a webinar. I restrict the movement of my dogs to one room—stocked with blankets, toys, and food. And finally, I retreat to my inner office with doors closed, windows shut, and all technology switched to “silent.” Ha! I have everything under control, right? Not so fast…

When presenting a webinar a few weeks ago, I was reminded that control is an illusion. Desirable, yes. But fleeting at best. During the webinar as I cautioned caregivers and care receivers to realize that control is elusive when dealing with a progressive illness, the silence of my sanctuary was shattered by the incessant barking of my dogs. Since I was tethered to my computer and in the midst of presenting, I didn’t have the option to run down the stairs and correct my dogs.

I tried to retain my composure, focused on the subject matter. Since my dogs are typically not “barkers,” I prayed the cacophony would end quickly. Much to my dismay, the racket was soon intensified by the annoying sound of chainsaws—obviously the source of my dogs angst! A landscaping crew was moving through my neighborhood addressing the tree damage done by a recent spring snowstorm. Seriously? Continuing to speak in what I hoped was a very calm manner, I retreated to a windowless room—my bathroom. Although quieter, I am sure it sounded as if I had fallen into a well with the sound echoing off the tile. My anxiety level was off the charts. My world was spinning out of control. Not the webinar I had planned!

In the aftermath of this unbelievably frustrating presentation, I ultimately realized the irony of my situation. I had been teaching the importance of accepting what is within our control and what is not—and learning how to graciously embrace that harsh reality. And yet, I stomped around my house for hours after the webinar—enraged that I had lost control of the situation! Finally, instead of seething, I started laughing. How arrogant to think I can control every aspect of my life. Ridiculous! Impossible! I was appropriately humbled by the experience and reminded of the fallacy of control. I am NOT in control. Never have been. Never will be. Therefore, I am better served to invest my time and energy in realistic, attainable goals. I guess you could say I have been barking up the wrong tree, eh? Live and learn… 

I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane

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