I am on vacation visiting one of my best friends. She lives abroad with her husband and their wonderful son who calls me Maca. I missed her a lot and I definitely wanted to see her toddler son again, now that he speaks, walks and is more than able to play with me [I am having a hard time to keep up, though]. But being able to visit them, to hang out, to take road trips and to spend time together takes me out of my comfort zone.
To be truly honest, I have no idea what my comfort zone is, because I am challenging myself a lot in my daily life anyway; so let’s just call it control zone instead. It’s much more accurate. This mean that I am in an environment in which my control over what happens next is limited. My knowledge about rules and norms in this environment are limited: do we wash the dishes or do we use the washing machine? If we use the washing machine, which plates go where? Do we drink espresso or do we use the stove to make our beloved Turkish style coffee? Do we walk to get the park or do we take the buss there? When does the next buss come and which is the right direction? There are so many variables and so many new things to learn when one is a new environment.
Among the toughest questions of the last two weeks was if I am using the right knife to cut the carrots. I haven’t asked this question out loud, but I did wonder. At home, I know exactly which knife to use for what and it’s not a conscious decision I make each time: I know what I want to do and I know what I have to use, as I have thought things through, experienced with them and now I just know which one is best. This kind of control over the environment one is in is possible to reach only with time. It is not a given. And two weeks is not enough time to get that comfortable. Sure, one experiences, one learns, one already has some knowledge, but when you feel you got it figured it out, something happens and one is again in a foreign situation. And no, I was not using the right knife.
I am convinced of the need to master one’s own emotions and behaviour. Thus, I know getting frustrated with not knowing or with things not being the way I want is pointless. As I can’t control nor change the situation, I can get along with the new experience, learn from it and enjoy the process. It may not be perfect, but it is a lesson nonetheless.
Well, the thing is that this self-mastery [let’s call it like this] is only possible when one accepts to let go of control and live in the present moment. It is possible if I engage with what is happening right here right now. If I give up expectations, desires, ideals and all that. If I stay focused on the situation at hand. If I ask questions, listen, pay attention, try to figure out the immediate next move. It gets easier after the first time.
After a while, it is really difficult not to do it like this, not to be present. Especially because this is what living a good life actually means: Living it.
Make the day count!