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When You Need To Take Back Control Of Your Life

I remember when my son was deployed to Afghanistan. It was the spring of 2008. 

I had no idea of what it would be like to be the mother of a deployed Marine.  

What it was:  8 months of wearing an invisible cloak of fear. 

As Andrew was packing up to leave, I tried on his gear and could hardly stand up. 

Letting go of control

I recently found the passage in my journal from that time that reads "this is the ultimate experience in letting go of control." 

I felt powerless about the announcement both my sons made one day 2 years before. 

They said, "Mom, we're going to join the Marine Corps." I burst into tears.

I felt powerless to change their minds. Helpless. No control. Scared. 

And when the news finally came that Andrew would deploy to Afghanistan my worst fears came true. 

When have you felt you had no control over your life?

Have you had events this year that were out of your control? 

If you've had the worst year, what did you do to pull yourself together and get through it? 

If you've had the very best year of your life,  what did you do to make it happen? 

If you're like most people, you probably had some of both...the joys and the dark part. It was probably a blend. 

Right? 

Taking your power back

If you know what happened, if you can explore it a bit, then you can take your power back. 

Because when things happen that we didn't predict or if you took a wrong turn somewhere and went completely off track, then you know what it is like to feel like you've lost control.

This is the time to know how to get back in the driver's seat and take back control over your life. 

During my son’s deployment, I remember jumping every time the phone rang or I'd hear a knock at the door. 

Andrew with his Gunnery Sergeant...they were a formidable team

My scared brain would race forward in time and play out the scene over and over in seconds. 

I'd imagine that I’d open the front door and there would be a Marine in his dress blues.  "M'am, we regret to inform you that your son has died in combat." 

I froze when I heard a knock at the door or when the phone rang. 

One night at 2:00 am the phone did ring. In my half-awake state, I heard a recording at the other end...a wrong number.

I remember slamming the phone down and shaking so bad I could hardly stand up.

I felt powerless. 

Choosing to control what you can

I decided to take back control wherever I could. 

During the 8 long months that Andrew was deployed, every morning I'd go into my back yard and look up at the sky and say ”May you be safe from every harm, may you be healthy and happy and strong”...somehow it made me feel better, knowing an invisible blessing was sent his way for him and for the Marines he was leading.  

I'd imagine he'd be looking up at the same sky as I looked at and it would bring me a bit of peace. 

I survived by taking my power back where I could. 

I remembered my sister's words before Andrew left. "Jo, you not only can do this but you will do it. "

I did do it. I survived. 

I thought about all the things we'd do when he returned home and it helped me feel more in control because, well, because no one can take away your thoughts. 

Two years later I did this same process all over again when my younger son was deployed to Afghanistan. Twice he was deployed. 

Again I found myself in the front-row seat watching a movie called NO CONTROL.

I had to learn again about surrender and letting go of control. 

The sweetest moment when Rob (my younger son) returned. I am eternally grateful that both sons came back without harm.

Using your strengths to survive

When you've had really bad things happen in your life, this year, last year, whenever, I know that somehow you survived it. 

Just like I survived 3 deployments. 

We used courage, determination, resilience to get through the fear and lack of control. 

I didn't think I could go through having my sons in a war zone. But I did. Because I had to. 

It took courage and mindfulness, and guts on my part. Who knew?

If you're reading this, I bet you know what I mean. Because you have guts and courage, too. 

Maybe you wanted to give up but you couldn't because it wasn't an option. 

There may have been children you needed to care for, you may have lost your job and you kept going because you made a decision to survive. 

It may have been out of sheer will that you were able to keep going but you did.  Even now as you show up with a torn and ragged heart, you can still be proud of making it this far. 

What strengths did you use? 

Courage? Persistence? Determination? Creativity? Resourcefulness? 

Maybe you used sheer will to get yourself out of bed. Or maybe you reached down deep and figured out how to handle it, telling yourself that you could do it. 

Maybe you figured that letting go of anger wouldn't serve you and so you allowed yourself to feel the deep hurt the anger had been covering up. 

And just when you thought you couldn't stand another moment you did. 

We need to know what we did to survive. 

The strengths that got you through. These are your crowns! These are your jewels. 

You want to take them with you...into your life, into the new year. 

And you want to leave the disappointments, the betrayals, the heartbreak behind you. Let go of all of the bad stuff. 

If you can do the hard stuff, you can do anything...that includes manifesting and designing your life the way you want.

It happens like this:

  • You become aware of what it took to go through your ordeal. 
  • You know what skills you used in order to have the wins and the successes.
  • Acknowledge, let go, and plan. Plan for something better, for the things you really want. Make a plan for your dreams. 

Over to you:

What will you do to recognize how indomitable you are? 

How will you surrender, let go, take back your control? 

We’re going to dive deep into these topics at my 2022: Your Best Year Yet online retreat on December 11.  You absolutely do not want to miss it. Don’t wait to sign up…you'll thank yourself 1000 times over. 

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.