Archive for December, 2013

The Illusion of Control

I had an interesting conversation with a lymphoma survivor the other day that made me want to write on the subject we had in common. He mentioned how absent someone important to him was at the time and how loved ones reactions weren’t at all what he expected.


I never heard mention of this unpleasant facet of being diagnosed in the beginning. I wish I was told I’d have to either coddle everyone else as they found a way to deal with accepting the diagnosis I was given or accept their absence as a sign that they were unable to deal with the reality that was happening to me. I would’ve been more willing to draw from my inner self for comfort instead of just being hurt, confused and angry that the people I cared about weren’t there for me how I thought they were supposed to be when I thought I needed them to be.


My sister told me something once that I’m recognizing as true more and more each time someone comes into my life that offers assistance. She said, “You can’t worry about why someone you think is supposed to be there for you isn’t. Whenever you really need someone to be there, that person will show up and help you and it doesn’t matter if they’re related to you or if you’ve only known them for a few days.”

Learning to accept this truth and truly live by it has been an unexpectedly hard thing to do. The drive to feel as if I have control is extremely strong. We’ve all been conditioned for so long to take control of our future, our career, our lives and everything else in it when letting go of this illusion of control is one of the most significant things you can do to gain what you really needed all along.

Some call it placing their faith in a higher power and in many ways that’s exactly what it is, but it’s also just learning to accept things as they truly are. When you start seeing things the way they are and stop working so hard (and often to no effect) to make them change something magical happens. Another better suited option presents itself or you’ll realize that whatever you were trying so hard at wasn’t necessary in your life anyway. In those instances you free yourself from unnecessary shackles or weights you yourself are responsible for. I don’t know about you, but I love it when my load becomes lighter and easier to bare seeing how I have plenty on my plate as it is.


So ask yourself, what’s got a hold on you and why? We all have situations we want to change in our lives that we may not have the ability to do anything directly about. Fortunately, we have control over our own perspective about these things and if you ask me that’s the only change we need to free ourselves from unnecessary burdens.


Power by way of Love

Getting used to your own power is something that takes time, but once it’s accomplished anything (and I do mean anything) is possible. This power that is available in abundance to you, me and any other human being is just waiting below the surface to be tapped. I realized recently that I tapped it and the flood gates flew open. There’s no turning back to old powerless me after this. It’s a great feeling!


I realized that power was there and wasn’t going away in a small but incredibly useful way. I’m learning to be unaffected by manipulations those close to me have been using. I’m getting the hang of recognizing when they are trying to use them immediately which keeps them from holding weight with me. I’m getting so much better at literally shutting off the switch to react in my brain so I can calmly love them through their attempt since I can use that power to look at the situation objectively in the moment. It makes things easier and less dramatic all around.

A recent example; I was getting help from a friend to do a weekly chore. A person close to me makes an attempt to impede progress and get a rise out of me. I don’t know why, but this is a common behavior I’ve noticed with this person. In the past I would get frustrated with the person and argue my sound case logically with no use since they were just being vindictive and petty to begin with. I think it’s important to point out that this person will always be in my life and I love them so it’s not as simple to just walk away from the situation.


Instead of reacting like I always do, this time I recognized what was going on and reacted with love. To my surprise the power dynamic changed. Instead of me feeling powerless because progress was successfully impeded, I somehow got this person to help with what they were attempting to throw a wrench in. They may have reluctantly been helping, but they helped nonetheless and my power wasn’t taken from me in any way! I cannot stress how good it feels to react from that objective, loving point of view. It flexes a muscle I didn’t realize I had and keeps hurdles from slowing me down. Power by way of love? That wasn’t something I expected, but I certainly welcome it with open arms.


Feeling independent is such an important factor in my life and something about being able to drive has always made me feel that way. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to drive with my arm and hand being just shy of paralyzed. I can wiggle my fingers, but don’t misinterpret that as meaning I have use of them. I can’t grip anything and have trouble picking up the lightweight sponge pieces I exercise with in physical therapy! That’s with the aid of my other arm supporting the weight of its weaker sibling to guide my hand to the sponges then back to the prime target: a jar no farther than 1 ft. away. Basically, it’s a work in progress. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m a bit impaired for the time being which forces me to come up with ingenuitive ways of doing random menial tasks like spreading peanut butter on bread (with a Dyson non slip mat and a spoon) and opening plastic produce bags at the grocery store (swallowing the taste of pride to ask for help when needed).

I was extremely concerned about my reaction time to turn the wheel in a wreck sans the use of an entire arm and hand. So, I had all but written my freedom of mobility off until sometime around when all of this PT builds my muscles and dexterity back. Due to the extensive surgical work done on EVERY nerve in my left arm, I’ve been told that should take 6 months to 1 year or more.


Luckily, my Dad is from an era where they used what he called suicide knobs. What are suicide knobs? Yeah, I asked the same question. Apparently, where he grew up young men used these on their car wheels to look cool driving with one hand. It also served the purpose of making it easier to turn the wheel in a time where there was no power steering. They’re also known as disability wheel knob spinners. I purchased a basic one at Napa Auto Parts immediately, slapped it on my old girl Dusky Benz and drove her home for the first time in months! I can’t wait until the throwback to Jessica Rabbit I ordered online comes in for a flair of personal style.

Thank goodness for classic style and my generational ties to the past. Freedom and independence are flickering a ray of hope in my direction! Sure I may need a shopping buddy every once in a while, but it’s very satisfying to know I don’t have to be driven around like Miss Daisy to and from the many doctors appointments and various errands I run. It’s one thing to have a willing and reliable driver (usually for a fee). It’s quite another to depend on busy and sometimes reluctant transportation. So, being able to get some of that independence back for myself means less stress for everyone involved, especially yours truly.