Opening up our minds!

If you are one of those people who like to have control over situations, love sticking to plans, absolutely hate abrupt changes, unexpected meetings/get togethers annoy you to the core – I suggest you read this. I can say “ditto” to all the above – it all applies to me, but in the recent times, given that we really do not have much control over things, and have more than enough time to look back, I have started to realise that this has been one of my biggest issues in life. I cannot really point out when exactly this came into play, because as a child I clearly remember being the most unplanned person ever and yes I am sure it was hell for my parents! I was one of those kids who would not study a thing before exam and still went and appeared for them, not worrying at all about failing. I would cancel plans just because I wanted to sleep more and all the careless things you can think of. I am not justifying that it’s good to keep people waiting, definitely not, but it’s certainly not good to torture yourself to meet perfection all the time.And what is perfection in any case? For you it might be something and for me exactly the opposite of it.

Now what made me suddenly so aware of me being a control freak? Well, my child and life! So when life throws at you situations which you never expect to get into, and you off course curse it like this is it, and after all that turmoil in your mind, you eventually realise that it could have been dealt with in a better way – that’s what kept happening to me a lot of times. Especially with a kid around, I think it anyways becomes impossible to stick to any kind of order and it was really hard for me to just go with the flow.

To give an example – in last one year, as a part of my course, I heard a lot about taking the class as per what the kids want to go (not like literally go some where but like letting the discussion take a shape as per what the children want to discuss more about) and trust me for a teacher, that’s really difficult. It can put you in a place you never want to be, you never ever finish what you plan, the voice levels of the class can be much higher than what is the norm and you may expect a visit from a senior to check on whats happening (happened twice with me), but , the important thing is that the kind of learning that will happen in such a class is going to last a lifetime. Same is the case with life, as I now have experienced, when you plunge into situations you are really scared off and you somehow sail through it, you may not really make a landing you wanted to have originally but it may be something much more deeper and beautiful too!

It does not always have to be taking big risks, it can be simple things like – ok today I planned to put my kid to sleep by 8 pm so that I can work but he refuses to sleep. I have experienced a lot of stress due to this, like a hell lot and it resulted in me turning into mad women who is whining and cribbing about how unfair life is. In our day to day targets, we often forget that our kids are humans too and not machines (like us – or what we have turned into) and forcing them to do something without their consent is again very inhuman. You may say that there is some discipline that is needed for a child and yes it is, but most of the times, it can be achieved amicably without really forcing your kid to follow your orders.

In a rational set up, we often say that look for alternate solutions, but in life we forget to do the same. In the situation above, there can be multiple options to work around – seek help from your spouse, let the child play for another hour or even have a dialogue with the child telling him/her that mumma needs to work and she will need some time off, so can we come up with a plan where she can get that time. A lot of times we just rule out these options because in our minds we have already concluded that it won’t work and that’s where we go wrong. We have to try, that is what we keep telling our children “Beta, ek baar aur try karo” so why not do it ourselves. Look at it like a math problem, there can be multiple ways of reaching a solution but how did it feel when the teacher stressed that “you have follow this method only” – it sucked. That’s exactly how our life feels too when we want to restrict ourselves to a pre planned way of reaching a goal or whatever we are trying to achieve.

A lot of conditioning comes into play, which shapes us up. Our experiences with people often makes it difficult for us to reach out to them or anybody else and that’s what leads to closing our minds. A lot of times, we set up a process for everything, sticking to routines makes us feel safe and keeps us sane too.Honestly, it’s good to have structures but the problem begins when we start getting so rigid about following it that we loose touch with our own inner sense. We often hear people say, life is so mundane and boring – why? Because we so want to stick to our comfort zones that it becomes difficult to venture out and try something new and that’s how life looses it’s charm – it’s magic! An important aspect of this also is that we stop questioning ourselves, it’s like we are not open to our own feelings.

I suggest you try asking yourself a few questions that might help you whenever you feel that you are loosing control – it can help create some space in your mind and heart to see the good in that situation,

Why is it so important for me?

Is there a better way of doing this?

How will this change impact me reaching my goal? Is it going to be permanent?

Can I ask for help?

Do I need another perspective?

Is it worth the stress?

Remember that days when we were young and just thrived for adventure, a new game, a new friend, a new place and most important new experiences. These days we get happy with a new dress or a new gadget but what happened to experiences…do we really need to take a holiday to get one? Every day in our life is an opportunity for us to experience something new, and we can totally do this by just keeping our minds open to try new ways of doing things, initiating conversations we never had, playing random games with our kids and other family members, taking a pause before passing a judgement on someone’s work, breaking a part of our routine to form a new one. There are endless possibilities for all us, we just need to embrace life as it comes!

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