With the start of a New Year, you might think a life coach would be all rainbows and sunshine about the opportunities that lie ahead in 2015–not so much. Instead, I’m on my couch surrounded by vitamin C, tissue boxes, and hot tea. I am good and sick, and I know it’s from stress. While our holidays were filled with the usual Fedonczak hilarity, there was also a family crisis. The stress of dealing with the drama, plus my crazy idea of having three parties in one week, has left me vulnerable physically and emotionally. My daughter says I’m pitiful, and I am. I just want someone to fix it. But the lesson might be in not fixing it. The lesson might be in the scary places that are broken, if I can relinquish control.
My mom was a wild child. She lived her life by the tenets of the plaque she had on her wall (pictured above)–full speed ahead, regardless of the risk. The inscription on her headstone was the last line of her plaque, “Wow, what a ride!” With typical teenage rebellion, I did the opposite. I have lived my life trying to control everything to keep myself safe. It got to the point that the desire to control my every step overshadowed everything else: love, joy, happiness and magic. But buried under the control was always a desire for serendipity. I just didn’t trust it. Leaving my fate in the hands of, well, Fate has always felt dangerous to me. So, I controlled my way through life.
As a result, my journey has been arduous. My body and spirit rebelled against the chains of grueling diets, punishing workouts, to-do lists a mile long, and plans written in stone. And ‘chit kept happening to throw off my plans: death, divorce, and cancer to name a few. Now, just when I’ve become comfortable in my career and my parenting life (Square 4 is lovely! Go here if you’re confused as to what this means http://girlpowerforgood.com/riding-the-change-cycle/), big hairy ‘chit is happening again in our family (Hello, Square 1!). All plans are out the window. So it’s funny that my guiding word for 2015 is Allow. It goes against every instinct of my control freak, but there are some things that really are beyond my control.
As parents, we think that we always have to be in charge. When our kids are small, this is completely appropriate. But as they become teenagers, our need for control feels like a noose around their neck. And more importantly, it creates distance when what we want is connection. It’s not like it’s possible to control every outcome, anyway, no matter how “in charge” we are. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how powerful you are, there is never a time when you’re immune to some sort of ‘chit hitting the fan. And it seems to me that the more complacent you get, thinking that you’ve got this under control, the more the Universe giggles while tossing your plans right out the window.
So, we’ve got some life altering ‘chit going on in our family right now (I’ll tell you about it when the time is right; knowing me, I’ll probably write a book about it). We are doing what loving, families do–we are pulling together. But that does not mean that it isn’t hard, because it is. I’ve had to postpone and/or cancel amazing retreats, and then I got physically sick.
I wrote in my book that controlling outcomes is not nearly as helpful as mastering change, and now I’m living that. I’m back at Square 1. I’ve done it before, and I will make it through this time, but not by forcing the issue. Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I am narrowing it down to that one word: Allow. After racking my brain for a word to guide me through 2015, I finally gave up. As soon as I gave up, the perfect word floated into my mind while I was meditating. Allow feels so right, and so impossible at the same time. Just as I found my word, the universe dropped a circumstance into my life that forces me to practice it. I absolutely cannot control this, anymore than I can control my family. What I can do is honor my word by allowing them to walk their own path with me there for guidance, when asked. This is all any of us can do who are parenting teenagers and college-aged kids. Our job as sheriff is done. We have morphed into consultants. If we can accept this, and walk side-by-side with our older kids, then we can allow them to develop the independence that will serve them so well as an adult out in the real world.My guiding practice for 2015 and beyond is to let go of my grasping need for certainty, because it’s not helpful. Certainty is the story that plays better when skies are sunny. When the storm hits, certainty is no more… and that’s okay. Letting go of the need to cling to something to stop the tide feels awful but necessary. Right now, I feel like I’m supposed to float along. If I keep grasping onto things to stay safe, then I will never go where I am meant to. Allow means I’m floating along, trusting the universe to deliver my perfect opportunities, developed especially for where I am right now.
What is your word for 2015? Go inside the stillness and come up with one word that embodies the way you want to feel this year, and then share it in the comments below. As always, if something in this post piqued your interest, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about it!
P.S. If you are looking for a buttload of parenting help at the whopping price of free, check out the upcoming Teen Parenting Summit, to which I am a proud contributor. My interview will air on January 17th, and I will talk about meeting your teen where they are, instead of where you think they SHOULD be. This method puts you both on the same team, and that feels so good! Click here for all the details!