CONTROL: BEGINS WITH MY THINKING

imagesA mom wrote to me: As a Buddhist practitioner, I remind myself again and again that the only thing I have control over is my own mind, and in turn my actions. The sooner one can accept this fundamental truth the sooner one can begin to experience inner peace because we aren’t constantly worrying about trying to control others’ actions, moods, choices. What we can do is generate love and compassion for those who are suffering and pray for them. 

My reaction: When I was a child, my dad used to tell me, “You gotta make something happen, Dearie.” I grew up believing that if something went wrong in my life, it was my fault because I didn’t make something happen and, therefore, wasn’t in control of the outcome. Today, I think I misunderstood my dad’s words. He wasn’t telling me that I had to control all the events in my world, but rather that I needed to be in control of my own thoughts and actions. He wanted me to make decisions that would lead to a productive and action-oriented life.

Today’s Promise to consider: As much I as want to control the events in my life, today I accept that I am powerless over anyone other than myself. This starts with my thinking, my intentions and my behavior. As the mom writes, “I can control only my own mind and in turn my actions…and begin to experience inner peace.”

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Penny
Penny
9 years ago

Wow, Libby you are right on the money again today. This is something I struggle with daily. I still feel in my heart that because I am his mother I should be able to fix things for him, however, my brain knows better. The issue is getting my heart and brain on the same page. I need to be reminded on a daily basis that I cannot fix him!!! It is his journey and I have to back away and allow him to take that journey no matter where it leads him. Love to you Libby and thank you again.

Pat Nichols
9 years ago

It is great to be reminded that inner peace is possible.

Like Penny said, we all struggle with wanting to fix our children.

The acceptance of step number one is so vital to our peace and serenity.

Thanks Libby for another insightful post.

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

Inner peace-acceptance

Read Kalil Gibran’s “of children”.
It makes perfect sense

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Libby,

When I read this week’s meditation, the first thing that came to my mind after reading is – THINK before you talk or act out. This is mind control, and I try to practice it every day of my life. I learned the hard way.

When my son was in active addiction, I tried endlessly to “fix” him. In hindsight, I realize that I couldn’t fix him. When I tried to fix him, I only frustrated him, and consequently, he did more drugs.

I agree with Penny. If only we can get our mind and brain on the same page. That was the most difficult thing for me to do when my son was alive. But, it’s crucial for our survival when you have an addicted child. It’s a survival technique that needs to be practiced every day in order to achieve inner peace.

Dave Cooke
9 years ago

I look forward to your weekly comments. They are always on point. I learned a long time ago that you only have control over two things in life — your attitude and your effort. We cannot control those around us, only how we deal, respond and live through those events.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Dear Jane,

I read Khalil Gibran’s “of children”. How true it is!

Thank you so much. I really appreciate the reading recommend.

My love to you,

Barbara

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Dear Dave,

I like what you said that there are only 2 things in life that we can control – attitude and effort. It makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for the insight.

Barbara

Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Dear Dave, Welcome and thanks for being here. Your comments about attitude and effort are great ones. Barbara, Pat, Jane and Penny, always good to learn from and with you. We reach out our hand and continue on this journey together.

Love to all!

L

Sheila
Sheila
9 years ago

Libby,

Your blog is pretty new to me. I really like the structure you use. “A mom wrote to me . . .” “My reaction . . .” “Today’s Promise to consider . . .” There’s something comforting about it, I guess, because the structure as well as the words, convey a sense of purpose.

Sheila
Sheila
9 years ago

I’m trying to learn–just as my son is–how to live just for today. I think it’s key to my survival.

Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Dear Sheila, Thanks for writing and for reaching out. Here you will find others who have walked or are walking your journey. We know your pain and you are not alone.

I agree that learning how to live just for today is the key to our survival! In fact, this is the focus of the next entry. All we have is today, and it’s our choice how to live it. When Jeff was so very sick, my mantra was, “Let go and let God.” I found peace in those words. I strive to do this yet today, but somehow it never seems to get easier :).

My love to you.

L

JOY
JOY
9 years ago

Thank you for bringing in a Buddhist’s mother’s point of view Libby. I am a practitioner of Shambala meditation and a good old prayer girl too and sort of borrow from whatever gets me through. Drumming. Dancing. Yes, it all comes to one -let go and/or let God. It is what Al-anon teaches us too- to focus on ourselves and not be reactive to addict’s behaviour or chaos. As Barbara points out, though and as we all know — it is so hard not to want to fix or help in the healing. I needed to be reminded today – because I had a new message from one of my son’s old friends that he is in very very bad shape. I am so very afraid of an overdose. I reached out with all kinds of suggestions and information and perhaps said all the wrong things. I only have an email and never know when he gets it and when he does not. The rest of the day, I did housework and prayed. Such a journey into courage. Discovering inner peace is achievable sometimes just by focusing on the next breath we take is liberating. A good strategy in hardest times when we have a child in active addiction. One breath at a time sometimes. Barbara’s experience and wisdom gives me such strength and all the community here has been a salvation to me. I am glad to see Dave and Sheila here. Jane, I love Gibran. I gave that poem to my father when I was 18 and he gave me the poem back when my son was 18 -with a hug. I cried. The idea of the poem is profound but when I was the parent I did not want it to be true. I send out my prayers to you Libby and Jeff and Jeremy and all of us, as we all dwell in this world of much suffering. I have not seen my son since early October. I miss him very much. I wish I could see his face.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Joy,

I know exactly how you’re feeling. My thoughts and prayers stay with you. Stay strong, my friend. I pray your son will see the light, soon.

With love,
Barbara