On Letting Life Unfold

I must admit that I am a bit of a control freak…I believe many musicians are because we sort of have to be to achieve success in our field. When things feel like they are spinning out of control such as during, oh, I don’t know- a global pandemic and my husband enduring an eight-day nightmare alone in the hospital, well, I get wound a little tight.

Looking for beauty during a walk…

As has been true my entire life, the lack of control and accompanying anxiety first manifests by what my mother used to call a ‘cleaning jag’. When I can’t control anything else around me, I can dust, scrub, vacuum, and mop. Oh, and do laundry, organize closets, pull every weed in the yard, and even clean and organize my garage.

Garage gym is ready to go!

I also exercise a lot as a way to help manage the stress. Bless, Marley, she is the best walk/run partner, always happily ready to help me burn off what is eating at me. She also helped me get through the eight days of Dan’s hospital stay when I wasn’t allowed to be with him. Her calm and loving presence was such a gift. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her here.

Walking with Marley…

I’m a big believer in something a former music education professor shared with me many years ago; Act your way into a new way of being, something I have written about in previous blogs. I’m thinking a lot about this concept during our time in quarantine when so much feels out of my control (like the tornado watch we are under in Birmingham as I write). As hard as it is for me, I’m trying to let life unfold, realizing there will always be things that are beyond my control. Always.

My little quarantine demon seed, Shiva…who is sometimes sweet. Sometimes.

I can’t control a global pandemic. I couldn’t prevent my husband from getting appendicitis or COVID-19. I can’t do anything about our semester being moved online. So many big things that I just have to let go. But…I am not helpless. I can stay home and do my part to help stop the spread of the virus. I can be a good and loving caretaker for Dan.

Soup!
Cookies for Dan…

I can do my best to encourage and teach my students under these extraordinary circumstances. I can continue the healthy habits I’ve been following since December with intermittent fasting, diet changes, and exercise. I can work to make my little corner of the world beautiful, encouraging others going through tough times- there are so many…too many. I can also continue to seek out and notice small moments of beauty during these often sad days, like beautiful flowers on my walk, as well as the friends, locally and from all over, who shared sanitizers, masks, and Clorox wipes to help keep us safe while Dan recovers from COVID.

Gifts of kindness.

Life is going to happen, often not the way I have it mapped out in my control-freak brain. I can either spend my life riddled with anxiety or maybe, just maybe, I can learn from these weeks and months of so much being completely beyond my control. Some things I have to just accept; the thing I can control- most importantly- is my reaction to what happens. If I can work on that, well…that’s what will make all the difference. Find the joy in the journey, no matter what.


10 thoughts on “On Letting Life Unfold

  1. Very wise…your reaction can make all the difference! I love your writing! I hope Dan continues to recover nicely (how could he not with YOUR tender loving care?)! Stay safe, and also, while you are taking care of ot so many others, remember to take care of YOU!

  2. A lot of truth in this post! There are always things beyond our control and our reaction is really our only point of control. So glad you have the wisdom and the self awareness to face it with such grace. Please give Marley an extra pat from me! (I’d suggest the same for Shiva but I don’t want you to put yourself at risk of injury!) A wave to Dan and the wish for a speedy recovery!

  3. I have the same cleaning response when things get out of control- at least I can get some satisfaction for a moment! This is a unique time though so any non-dangerous coping mechanisms I need, I’m not fighting. Hang in there and keep writing.

    1. I am right there with you- cleaning is a much healthier outlet than so many other options. Hey- we’ll end up with very clean and organized homes at the end of all of this, hopefully. 😜❤️

  4. The wisdom we gain, throughout our years, is priceless…..
    You are a very wise woman, Denise.
    Thank you for continuing to share your journey, even through this difficult time, for you and Dan.
    I will be praying for you both. 🙏💑💝

    1. Thank you, Catherine, and then you for following along with me. Writing it out helps so much, and I always hope that it will help someone else struggling with the same things in life. ❤️

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