One of the worst human emotions is the feeling of helplessness, being out of control of your own experience and destiny. The global economy and current financial crisis is doing its share of exacerbating this. As a medical transcriptionist, I’m seeing more and more patients come in with depression concerning this frightening state of affairs.

Of course, I generally am an optimist by nature. Sometimes I have to work at it though, like overcoming my panicked anxiety about flying. Then I have to rise above my basic fears and start thinking logically. I am so happy I was able to do that last year.

There are self-help books everywhere telling us to seize our unlimited power to be able to control our own lives. A cursory search of yields titles such as Take Charge of Your Life Before It Takes Charge of You; Take Charge of Your Mind; Take Charge of Your Money Now!; Take Charge of Your Thoughts; Take Charge of Your Health....and on and on. It is true we have the power - more power than we ever dreamed. Scientists are still discovering all the capabilities of our brains and bodies have to do incredible things. We should take control of our lives, our health, our money, our environment, and whatever else we can assume responsibility of.

I think sometimes, though, we get so caught up in the quest for control over our lives that we forget there are some things beyond our control. That’s reality. As my favorite prayer says, “God grant me the serenity to change the things I can, accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I’m a great planner and organizer (not such a great carrier-outer, though!) and I like to keep control. I want to control my health, my time, how many lines I transcribe a day, etc. Sometimes I need a reminder to just let go of the rope and drop the tug-of-war game.

Flying does this for me. The only way I learned to fly without a panic attack was when I accepted the idea that, while I’m up there, I have absolutely no control. It’s that simple. When that sinks into my brain, I stop fidgeting, stop incessantly worrying, and find that calm center in myself that I didn’t know I could have when I’m 30,000 feet up going 500 miles an hour.

I’m flying today again, so I just had to write about this to remind myself. Control is good, but life’s reality is that we can’t control everything. That’s where acceptance comes in. So I take a deep breath and here I go...Memphis-bound!