Stains on my light carpet. The ache of abandoned friendship. My child's persistent night-waking. These are things I have struggled against. I've wanted so desperately to change them — and short of that, to just not care anymore.
Growing up I constantly missed my family. I desired their continual closeness. I wanted to feel understood and okay. Many things unsettled me and consequently, I saw myself as sensitive and alone. In order to cope, I unknowingly sought control however I could.
Old patterns don't often fade without effort. One day, I saw myself clearly as a frustrated adult who wished everyone and everything would behave in a way that suited me. I wanted the future steady and secure. The coping mechanisms I developed out of childhood desires for safety and security grew like an invasive plant. I came to realize that control is an illusion — and grasping for it is no way to live or love.
Learning to accept life as it is and letting go of what isn't has prompted a colossal mental shift. I now recognize that love is not shaping people to do as you wish. There's no safety in trying to manufacture outcomes. This kind of micro-managing of our own lives is at once a recipe for elevated blood pressure and a sure fire way to miss out on what really makes for a good life.
But accepting life is not giving up. It's not ceasing to care about circumstances. Rather, it's taking responsibility for our own emotions and care. It's releasing others from burdens they were never meant to carry. Acceptance is allowing life to flourish in its current state. It's finally heeding the care instructions for the plants already growing in the garden.
As I begin the lifelong practice of forfeiting control, I take up appreciating what is here. The people, the blessings, the circumstances. While I will continue the struggle to accept and release, when I open my eyes to the now, there are always things to savor and treasure.
Finishing a run in the rain. Watching the snow fall with my family. An encouraging conversation with friends. I cherish them, just long enough to keep the feelings and memories in my heart. I hold them just close enough, and then release them. There is more goodness to be witnessed.