Surrendering to life

When I was 16, I visited a family friend who lived in a conflict region of the world. In that country, the threat of bombing was ever present to the point that each new house was being built with its own bomb shelter. At the time of my visit, it was relatively calm so I was in no immediate danger.

My friend Mike and his family had just moved into a new house and had made a number of upgrades. One of the upgrades was a porcelain sink right outside of their bomb shelter. I asked Mike why he put the sink there, should there be bombing the sink would most likely be destroyed. To this he shrugged his shoulders and calmly replied, “If it breaks, then I’ll fix it.”

Up until that time and for many years after, my life motto was “plan for the worst, expect the best” (read “worry as much as I can, so that I can avoid or mitigate everything that can potentially go wrong.”). Mike, on the other hand accepted whatever life threw at him, even bombs, without one ounce of worry. U
nlike me, he did not have a “plan A, plan B, and plan C” approach to life. He dealt with things as they came up and he did not worry about the “what if?” I thought he was the most incredible person I had ever met.Mike, on the other hand accepted whatever life threw at him, even bombs, without one ounce of worry. Unlike me, he did not have a “plan A, plan B, and plan C” approach to life. He dealt with things as they came up and he did not worry about the “what if?”

That day, so many years ago, changed my whole outlook on life. Whenever I start to worry about the “what if,” I remember Mike with his nonchalant approach to life and I tell myself, “Just for today, I will not worry for I have the tools and resources to deal with whatever comes my way, whenever it comes my way.”

The older I get, the more beauty I see in this approach and the more I apply it to my everyday life. The other day I was cleaning my garage. I found many potentially useful items. I had to decide whether to keep the stuff in the hopes that one day I may need it or to donate it to someone who may need it right now. As I contemplated what to do, I thought of Mike and I told myself, “I do not need to plan for the what if. Whenever I shall need this stuff, it will return to me with ease and grace.” And so I cleared, donated and let go.

Unfortunately I have lost contact with Mike so I never found out what happened (or did not happen to his sink). His lesson, however, stayed with me for over 20 years. Whenever I feel stressed, anxious or worried, I remember Mike and his nonchalant shrugging of his shoulders followed by “If it breaks, then I’ll fix it.”

Article originally published in Holistically Savvy

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