Beyond control

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

John Lennon (song lyric from Beautiful Boy)

I recently found myself in a tricky situation. In both my personal and professional life, things had taken an unexpected and dramatic turn. And worst of all, they were completely outside of my control. Someone else was determining my life in the present. I felt a complete sense of powerlessness, not to mention upset and frustration. The inner child within wanted to stamp my feet and scream, “it’s not fair” and go hide/sulk under the covers. As someone who values their independence and agency, to be in such a place was pretty scary.  The disruption left me feeling wobbly and ungrounded. I had no choice but to face these changes head on.  Things were happening in my life which were beyond my control. 

The Wheel of Fortune

I dabble from time to time in a bit of personal tarot (please try not to judge too quickly). It was something my own therapist suggested in order broaden my outlook and allow a facet of the spiritual/occult into my life. For the record, I use tarot not so much as a guide but as a way of checking in with myself. I find doing a simple reading each day quite grounding. I don’t rely heavily on the cards for major life decisions but as you can imagine during my recent wobble, I did turn to my deck for a bit of insight. 

What fascinated me is the same card kept appearing during this period. This card was the Wheel of Fortune.  This card suggests that factors outside of your control are influencing your situation and this may seem unpredictable and unnerving. This card epitomised my situation.  The card informs us that no matter which way the wheel turns, we are unable to change it. That we have to accept what is happening, surrender, adapt and go with the flow. The wheel represents the mysteries of fate. Things happen not for any particular reason, and life continues, and wheel keeps turning. The card warned that reacting against these changes may make things worse. How we react to these changes will potentially allow us to pierce through the mystery of events to a greater understanding of ourselves and the universe. Understandably the Wheel of Fortune became my emblem/lifeboat during this stormy time.

The illusion of control

Our modern world fools us into thinking that we have complete control over our lives. Am afraid that just ain’t so. Recently my bank manager tried to sell me (unsuccessfully) critical illness cover. I left our meeting wondering about the concept of such types of insurance. It’s to cover for something that might happen (or might not). It’s a way for us to feel we have some control over the unexpected. But of course, there is no insurance cover wide enough to anticipate the many twists and turns of life. It’s an illusion. 

The ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu advised that “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” This is an important lesson. The more we resist and work against the natural flow of our lives, the more trouble we can cause ourselves. To be in the flow is a positive state.  It shows that we are in tune with our true souls and the universe. We need to surrender to the mystery and beauty of life. We are more likely to achieve success and contentment in our lives if we allow ourselves to align with the universe, rather than to swim against the flow.

The lighthouse

It’s important for us to reach out for support when our lives hit such stormy waters. Therapy can act as a lighthouse to help us steer our emotional ship towards a place of safety. A lighthouse can illuminate where we are and where we might want to go next (a compass of sorts). Feeling a lack of control in our lives can be pretty scary so it’s a good idea to rally some solid means of support to help contain us. Change is inevitable (am afraid). Things cannot stay the same forever. And we can’t control everything that happens.

When we find ourselves in such wobbly situations it’s important to know that somewhere amidst all the chaos, the universe is trying to show us something. It might take some time for the message to be known but we need to be ready to listen. 

The Wheel of Fortune card explains that, despite the chaos, we are at a critical turning point in our lives and opportunities we never imagined are opening up to us. That sounds pretty good to me! So, fingers crossed for some exciting developments come 2020!

Happy holidays all and see you next year! 

Photo by Ahmad Dirini on Unsplash

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