I was reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron and she writes, “We are killing the moment by controlling our experience. Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we’re going to have an experience we can’t control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we’re going to find out we have cancer, a brick is going to fall out of the sky and hit us on the head, somebody’s going to spill tomato juice all over our white suit, or we’re going to arrive at our favourite restaurant and discover that no one ordered produce and seven hundred people are coming for lunch. The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 per cent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride. To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life.”
This really took my breath away. To live fully we must die daily. And we must relinquish control. Anne Lamott said on The Tim Ferriss Show that she “heard E.L. Doctorow say that writing was like driving at night with the headlights on. You could only see a little ways in front of you, but you could make the whole journey that way. And I think that is the most profound advice I can offer anyone on any topic. That you can only see a little ways in front of you and you can make the whole journey that way.”
You can only see a little ways in front of you. But you can make the whole journey that way. May we all remember that. You don’t need to control what comes next. Just drive on.