This past weekend my husband and I went to an amusement park with my brother and his wife. After spending half the day trying to convince my brother that he should go on “Aftershock”, the largest and fastest roller-coaster, he finally conceded. While in the hour long line, we got to talking about what it was specifically that scared him about the ride. My brother was having a hard time identifying what it was. He said that it wasn’t the height, it wasn’t the speed, and it wasn’t the fact that it takes you upside down. He also said that jumping off of 40 foot cliffs into water, hiking in grizzly infested mountains, and dying doesn’t scare him, but this ride was terrifying and he didn’t know why. I turned to him, and I asked him if he thought that it might be terrifying because he wouldn’t be in control of the situation.
He gave me an “ah-hah” look and asked do you think it’s really a control issue? I said to him, if dying doesn’t scare you, if heights don’t scare you, and if cliff jumping doesn’t scare you, what else could it be? On a rollercoaster, we lose all control; we are powerless to the situation. Letting go of control can be difficult, it means that we put our fate at the mercy of something else, but…that is where the thrill lies. And in the end, when the ride is over, and you are safely planted back on the ground, you realize that letting go of control, even for just that brief moment, lead to a moment of sublime ecstasy.
That’s what I have learned about life.
When we learn to give up control we allow for these inspiring moments of joy to enter our lives. This applies to all facets of life; relationships, work, material possessions, death. It’s a matter of being able to have faith. Take our relationships for example. We can go about our relationships trying to have control over our situation; trying to change our partner, or trying to get a proposal, creating stress and anxiety in the process. Ultimately we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if our attempts at control fail, if we don’t get that proposal or our partner doesn’t change. On the other hand, we can give up control and have faith in our relationships. We can learn to just be. The stress and anxiety of trying to have control fades, and you allow for more moments of joy to enter your relationship.
It’s the same for life in general. You can go about your life playing it safe, trying to control every aspect, trying not to get hurt, and in the end things generally don’t turn out how you had anticipated. So go live a little, let go of your control, let go of your fears of the unknown. Learn to rely on faith sometimes, and reap the benefits of a life full of sublime moments.