Releasing Control - The Key to Happiness

Moving Sucks.

Or… Moving is a great experience.

That choice is up to us.

This week I moved from Chicago to San Diego and for much of it, I thought, felt and shared that moving does suck.

Especially when moving out of state and when you put nearly everything you have, including two motorcycles, a trailer and all of your underwear in one truck and it doesn’t fit, nor does it look like it will make it in one piece as it leaves your house.

For most of the move process, I was worried, frustrated, anxious and even angry. One could say, ‘ya, I can see that – moving is not fun for anyone’ or ‘too bad, you chose to move’ or ‘I feel for ya – I had this and that problem when I moved, etc.’. Most of us can identify with what moving your entire house – and all the associated issues and headaches that go along with it.

But what struck me as the most significant part of all this was that usually, in 99 days out of 100, I am not worried, frustrated, anxious and especially not angry about anything – but something about this entire process and experience triggered all those emotions and more… as usual, it was a great opportunity to learn from it and grow....

A simple google search will provide countless examples of people who had problems with moving companies. And in that search, we will find that most of the reviews and posts claim that the moving companies took advantage of them, didn’t honor their claims, weren’t responding when needed, etc. If I were to write a review of the actual events that happened, my review would be about the same. So, knowing that the entire moving process – and the entire moving company environment – is full of concerns, issues and problems, I’ll save us all from the lengthy story of everything that I had to worry about along the way.

In the last 24 hours of the move, however, is when it all came to a head. After waiting 5 days in an empty house for a call from some random person that has 99% of my material life in his/her truck, I finally get a phone call at 7pm on Sunday night while having a great time at a friend’s birthday party. The driver said he would be at my house at 8am the next morning and needed thousands of dollars in cash for the balance or he couldn’t unload my stuff and would have to turn away and put it in storage. Having gotten confirmation a month prior that I could use a credit card all along the way – this was the last thing I was expecting to hear. To say the least, I was livid…..that wasn’t the deal I agreed to...banks don’t open til 9am....and if anything is wrong or damaged with my stuff – I will have already paid the whole move in cash and there is no financial recourse.

100% of this situation was completely out of my control.

After only 4 hours of sleep, I was up early freaking out about his again. As soon as 8am on the east coast hit, I was on the phone with ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Quality Assurance’. Neither one of them answered, so I kept calling til they did. Long story short, they decided that the deal they agreed to would not be honored and I owed cash or ‘no stuff for you’ as the moving Nazi’s would say….

That was the tipping point. Blood boiling, hairs (yes, I have 46 of them still) standing on end, finger nails ready to strike and hissing and puffing of the chest going on – I let them have it. Spit flying everywhere, phones getting thrown across the empty house, walls getting punched…just kidding…. I raised my voice and tone and let them know what they were doing to me. Let them know they were holding my stuff ransom and let them know I was backed into a corner with no way out. Ironically, the song with the lyrics ‘despite all the rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage’ by the Smashing Pumpkins was going through my head all morning as this was happening… Interesting.

We finally settled on allowing me to see the 2 motorcycles to make sure they weren’t damaged – and then I would release the cash.

Phew. That’s what it took. That represented a solution to what was eating me up the entire time…..

Control. And lack thereof.

At that time, I became very aware of what was happening – actually, what was happening for the entire move process…..

I had no control over this. I had no control over my stuff. I had no control over them. I didn’t feel safe.

That’s it. I didn’t feel safe and I had no control to try to feel safe – and BAM!.....all the hardcore emotions that make our lives painful showed up….along with all the associated adverse health effects that go with inner stress being held in for 2 months….

As soon as I realized this…. As soon as I realized I actually DID have control…. that I DID have control over myself….. I looked up at the light blue sky, took a deep breath and told myself to Let. It. Go….

And, you know the rest of the story….once I let it go, the bank opened 15 minutes early, I had a great time meeting the banker and exchanging jokes and laughs, it was raining hard at 8am (my stuff would have gotten wet) and by 9:30 when the movers showed for the revised appointment, the blues skies were out again, the movers were awesome and went above and beyond to care for all the needs in the new house. All my stuff was accounted for and the motorcycles were completely fine. Of it all, 1 coffee pot broke and there was a dent in my garbage can…but that’s it.

Why? Why 2 months of worrying and anxious heartache that on numerous occasions brought my heart rate through the roof? Did this really need to happen? Did I really need to ruin the last part of the exciting and new transition to the city I’ve wanted to get back to for 25 years?

The answer is ‘no’….

And the solution to make sure this doesn't happen again is to…. Release Control.

As many of us know, the reality of life is that we actually have little or no control over anything. Life happens and we are along for the ride. The Universe has been around for billions of years and will be long after we go. We can spend hour after hour, day after day trying to control everything that happens to us or for us, but the truth is, all that effort only ends in disappointment or more harmful emotions when things don’t work out as we want. We spend our lives filling up with things and create false relationships with things and people that do not and cannot make us feel more safe - in attempt to help ourselves feel more secure. We do this because underneath it all, we know that we don’t have control. We have no idea what will happen 1 minute from now and we certainly have no idea when and how we are going to pass on from this life. Life, and everything and everyone – is completely out of our control. And that's scary.

So, what this move did for me was remind me – in a big, big way – that when we completely release the need to control external things and people in our life, we are happier and more peaceful. When we understand, accept and implement that the only control we have is the control over our choice of how we respond to a situation, including our fear of not having control, Lyf gets pretty wonderful. When we do so, most of the time, things always work out – maybe not the way we want to control them to – but they do – and often in a better way than we ever expected.

Thank you, moving process, for such a significant and profound wake-up call and reminder to Let It Go and focus on controlling our response instead.

Keep Goin!... and read ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl,, as you practice Letting Go while enjoying all the control you will ever need.

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