The other day I had a conversation with a gentleman in a hotel bar in Vegas. (That sounds sort of seedy, doesn’t it? It wasn’t like that – we were all just waiting on our dinner reservations so we struck up a conversation.) So when he asked me what I did and we got to talking about all of that, I ended up asking him about his greatest epiphany. It is because of random epiphanies like these that I started filming epiphany stories. This gentleman wouldn’t even tell the whole story about the epiphany because it was too personal for him, so I asked him to just summarize in one sentence what he had learned from it. He agreed, paused for a moment, and then sort of took a deep breath and proceeded to spread his arms out as far as they would stretch to either side and said,
“You see this? This is what I know I can control. This is my reach. I only have control over myself and my realm — that’s it. Anything outside of that, outside of myself — other people, things, situations — I have to let go and know that they are not within my reach, they are not under my control.”
He then dropped his arms, picked up his drink and went on to say,
“I can’t control things outside of myself as much as I want to. It was a very hard lesson for me, but it’s served me well.”
And then he held up his drink to us in a little toast and took a swig. Yes. You could tell that it had been a very hard lesson for him. He revealed a bit more that the hardest lesson in this had been trying to control a situation of trying to save a person in his life. He realized he couldn’t control or save her/him — he finally had to let them and the situation go, even though it didn’t seem that the person he wanted to save, saved themselves in the end. It’s sad and it happens all the time. But he’s right, and I admired how he admitted that he wanted to control things. I want to control things all the time and don’t really admit it myself, much less others. We all sat in silence for a few seconds as we absorbed that, and then he paid for our drinks and bid us adieu.
I love gleaning wisdom from strangers…Steve from Phoenix. I’ve told people that epiphany (with my arms reaching wide) several times since then…makes you think, especially when finding yourself in control freak/savior mode…
So I guess what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas…and sometimes, that isn’t a bad thing at all.
“I only have control over myself and my realm — that’s it. Anything outside of that, outside of myself — other people, things, situations — I have to let go and know that they are not within my reach, they are not under my control.”
– Steve from Phoenix