Peeling a cucumber

Trying to control creates anxiety – but letting go brings me ease.

A half hour before writing this blog, I fixed myself some lunch.  I was making a salad, and needed to peel some cucumbers.  Wanting the peels to be easy to clean up, I had a compost box in front of me and set out to peel over it, so the skins would land right into the box and there’d be no clean up.

After 3 whips of my veggie peeler, I had flung 2 of the peels onto the floor.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t present enough.  I was relaxed, breathing, and focused on my task.  It’s simply the fact that you can’t control everything (or maybe that I suck at peeling cucumbers).

I often find myself wanting to control situations – you, too?  There’s nothing wrong with planning ahead, like I did.  I was ready to catch those cucumber peels.  Being present in the moment also is helpful, and it allowed me to have a relatively calm and quiet mind while I set out to prepare my salad.  But I wanted a certain outcome – those peels should have fallen right into the cardboard box!

I had to laugh at myself, because I know that I like to control outcomes.  I do it throughout my day, wanting traffic to be just right, no red lights, to show up early to pick up my daughter, to get the next chapter in my book finished in a half-hour.  But try as I might, life is still unpredictable.

In the past, I might have gotten angry and frustrated.  “Those darn peels!  I think I need a new peeler, it’s just not working right.  I should have paid more attention – I must have been doing something wrong!  Why does this always seem to happen?  Cooking sucks.”  My thoughts could have gotten me all in a tizzy, increasing my stress and anxiety not only for the task at hand, but for future simple cooking endeavors.

Instead, it was just funny.  Who spills 2/3 of their peels on the floor?  Well, apparently me today!  Try as I might to be as spiritually aware, present, and attentive to the task, it still may not go as planned.  And that’s OK.

What freedom there was in just letting go.  What ease in releasing the judgments and comparisons, and finding humor in the unpredictability of life – and my veggie peeler.  My tension released.

What is unpredictable in your life right now?  How might you let go? What new perspective could you have about it?  You’re not alone in your frustrations when life doesn’t go as planned.  Share it here!


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