My dad used to tell me, just do the next thing. Don’t worry so much, breathe, do the next thing, and then the next, and then the next. And keep on going.
I don’t know if I quite understood at the time. After all, my college professors told me I needed a five-year plan. Then I spent several years feeling guilty – and like something was wrong with me – because it never made sense to me to do that. Who knows what’s going to happen from one month to the next, let alone in five years? Who could’ve ever imagined we’d now be almost a year into dealing with a global pandemic? I mean, come on.
Of course, I now understand the point – to have some idea of what you want the trajectory of your life to be, not to have it staged out down to the tiniest detail. I just don’t agree with the pressure of it all. When we are teenagers, how can we possibly know who we will end up being and what we will want? It’s too much too young. Instead of teaching us to tune in, breathe, and pay attention to intuition, the world tells us to get into our head and make decisions just because they sound good, or appropriate, or “normal”.
So what if we throw out the idea that we have any control over the majority of life’s occurrences, do the best we can, and allow space for the unknown? What if we breathe, stay in the present moment, and let our bodies guide us on our journey? Clutching on to life with a death grip of desperate control solves nothing. You still have the same amount of decision making power that you would if you sat back and released the need to fix or manipulate. If you can learn to breathe and stay with yourself and listen to what’s next, you’ll eliminate your anxiety … and also the inevitable disappointment that comes when life does what it wants regardless.
If you have never tried breath work, I highly recommend it. The range of styles and techniques is broad – experiment and find something that works for you, then practice. Make it a part of your daily routine just like you would exercise or meditation. It’s impossible to stay in your head while practicing breath work, which makes it an amazing technique for releasing stuck emotion and settling into the body.
You got this. You can release your need to try and control. Just take it one breath at a time. I love you.