During a recent trip to the Boston area I was staying with friends in the suburbs and decided to take the train into downtown. After purchasing my ticket I made my way to the platform and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather as I sat on the bench, having plenty of time awaiting the arrival of the 12:40. At the appointed time, the train approached the depot and I realized (too late) that it was stopping much farther away from me than where I was standing. As I ran to try and reach one of the cars the engineer slowly inched the train forward until it was coming toward me faster than I could reach it, and as the train completely passed me by the conductor shouted to me that I should have paid better attention to the signs. I had mistaken the benches where I was sitting for the platform, itself, and thereby missed the train.
I’m no rookie when it comes to public transportation, but this was a classic first-timer mistake.
Surveying the schedule, the next train wouldn’t be available for another two hours.
Before I allowed frustration, anger, self judgment, and/or judgment against the engineer and conductor for not allowing me on when they clearly could see I was there to get on the train, I walked back to the store where I’d purchased my one-way pass and asked for a refund, which I received.
My knee-jerk reaction was astonishment, judgment and anger, but I replaced it with laughter, taking myself right back up my emotional ladder and called for a car to carry me into the city.
I arrived downtown with seven minutes to spare before my daughter finished her class and our afternoon plans commenced.
Especially when I remember that everything always works out for me.
Funnily enough, the very next day neither the train nor the bus ever arrived at my out of town station, leaving me once again out of (illusory) control of my situation and my intended transportation.
Drs. Ron & Mary Hulnick describe control as being “based on the ego’s search for comfort, safety, and security; and its effort to hold everything in place. It’s basically a survival mechanism marketed as a means to attain what most people desire — especially money, sex, and power. The ego creates a picture of the ideal way things (life, the world) should be, and then it uses control to try to make reality match its ideal” (Loyalty to Your Soul, 24).
Both days as soon as I let go of the illusion of control of my situation, options immediately became apparent to me. And both days I was able to easily and effortlessly find my way downtown without stress or upset to my inner peace or to my plans with my daughter.
Is there an illusion of control managing any aspects of your life: personally and/or professionally?
What options might be available to you if you let go of the illusion?
Are there any other modes of transportation operating in the periphery of your life?
Real control comes when you let go of the illusion you have any control at all.
But only every time.
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