It’s official. I am moving to Brooklyn September 1st and I couldn’t be more pleased. The relief I felt when I heard last night that the application was accepted was incredible. And that specifically is what is on my mind.
Yesterday morning I was sitting on my sisters couch receiving text messages from my new landlord telling me that my application is still under review, they would like more than my tax return, proof of income, etcetera. I was so frustrated by the whole process. To be clear, I don’t really understand New York real estate/apartment leasing.
So back to my point. I was sitting here thinking of every possible scenario that could go wrong. Initially, I didn’t think of any good outcomes, only negative ones. This feeling made me not want to get up and walk my sisters dog, it made me feel like staying inside all day, etcetera. Essentially, albeit momentarily, I was trying to take my will back. I was first trying to control a situation that I had no control over. Once I realized that I was “doomed” to not getting approved and probably ending up on the streets with an old Starbucks cup begging for money I felt frozen. This is the type of thinking that will invariably slam the brakes on any potential growth.
As I sat here, worrying about how this whole process would play out, I remembered the 3rd step prayer: Reference AA. I repeated the prayer a few times aloud and gave my will back to my higher power (If you didn’t already know that I am an alcoholic it should be glaringly obvious by that statement!). I realized that I have absolutely no control over the outcome of this situation. There is nothing more I could do. I know many people have heard this type of “solution” often however I feel I have a different, easier way to reach this potential.
Every morning, literally from the moment I awake, I have to remind myself that if I choose to take control over my life and recover my self-will I am destined for failure. The reasoning is simple: There are many things that I cannot do alone. When I practice this daily it becomes easier and easier to execute. I know I have responsibilities. I don’t want this to be confused with the idea that something greater than myself will take care of everything and I can just lounge in bed all day. That is not at all what I am saying. This requires going into action. This action is not one of self-will though. On self-will alone I cannot accomplish much so in order for me to come to any positive outcome I have to give up the idea that I have control. And the actions that I take to achieve this relief are simple: I pray to a god of my choice, I make positive movements throughout the day, I am honest, I am without self-pity or fear, I allow the world to come to me, I remain patient. Above all I have to have acceptance for any outcome. I have to be prepared when things don’t go the way I want them to go, because this happens often. What I have found however is that generally the way I want things to happen are generally not the way I need things to happen. My wants are steeped in self-seeking, selfishness, vanity, etcetera.
Again, this is a daily practice. It is a routine. It doesn’t happen overnight. I aim for progress on a daily basis, not focusing on how much progress has been made, only that progress has been made. I have to remain calm and patient. When I am patient and take action things generally come to me. The actions that I take have nothing to do with getting a great apartment, finding a dream job or paying off my debts. That is too much for me to tackle in one day. The only way to accomplish those goals is by taking the next right action. And my actions are small. I do what I know I need to do. I follow through on things I have committed to. I show up. I am honest. I make myself useful to those I come in contact with. I offer my service to help a struggling person. My focus when doing these things is not one of selfishness. My focus is on the simple task at hand. This process culminates into a positive outcome daily. When I am honest with people, open to suggestions and am willing to listen my world opens up and these things I need in my life are much more accessible.
So, what did I do to relieve my self of worry about this apartment process? I gave my will away. I thought to myself, “What happens if I don’t get the apartment”? Most likely I would end up finding an apartment that I like even more, and the worst case scenario is I would have to store some furniture and stay with my brother or sister for a week or so. That is the worst thing that could happen! I have a tendency to catastrophize things when really the worst outcome generally isn’t all that bad and it certainly isn’t devastating. So I give up control. Now of course I have responsibilities such as getting in all of the necessary documents, finding someone to sublet my current apartment etcetera. But other than those few responsibilities I didn’t do much of anything to increase the chances of being approved. I didn’t plead with the landlord, I didn’t tell them I’d pay whatever they want if they would just approve me. And I also didn’t pray asking that I be given this apartment. I prayed for relief from my own self will and I went about my day. I went to the gym, I kept a commitment to a friend of mine and met her for lunch, I walked my sisters dog, fed her and gave her medicine, I chaired an AA meeting, I reached out to people to see how their day was, I had a phone interview with my mentor organization. And, as it turned out, I received a text around 11pm telling me that I am now an official Brooklynite! I honestly didn’t think once about the apartment once I gave my will back, once I gave up control everything else was simple. I remained patient and did what I know I am capable of. And when I make that part of my daily discipline my world gets bigger and bigger. And in closing, I am sufficiently happy that I was approved for this particular apartment. Or rather, giving up my control allowed me to get the apartment that is best for me at this moment of my life, not the apartment that I think is best for me.