Have you ever noticed how much we try to be in control of the things around us? Parenting is a fantastic mirror for this trait. We watch what they eat, what they do, who they play with, how they talk, etc, etc, etc… Of course we just want what’s best for them, but sometimes what we choose to control about them is more about our fears and less about what is in our child’s (or anyone’s) best interests.
Have you ever found that when you are less attached to exactly how something is supposed to go and you let things flow more, the outcome is more joyful for everyone involved?
I have decided that I want more joy and therefore I need to try to give up control more.
I declared a very clear intention to myself. I said, “I want to let go control over and over and over. In every small and big way, I am going to practice letting go of control.” Then I asked for the lessons to be gentle (because you can do that) and for Universal help with this because I don’t even see I am doing it most of the time.
How is it going so far, you want to know?
TERRIBLY! It’s a disaster. Since I said that, I am more controlling than ever. I’m getting to see this nasty habit more clearly. Second-hand smoke has nothing on this killer addiction! I am finding it really tough to stop. Parts of my body have seized up in demonstration against my ill-starred (as they apparently see it) plan.
Like with any addiction, I need to find out what the underlying driving need is. What is the emptiness I am trying to fill by feeling in control? What is the pain I am trying to avoid by doing this instead? Seeing as my body seems to be trying to tell me something I started there. Each time I bring my focus to a body part that has suddenly spasmed with tension or pain (or both), I breathe into it, ask it what it wants to tell me and I get the message, “DON”T DO IT!!!!” But in a panicked way, not a wise reassuring way that I know to listen to and follow. When I enquire further into this panic I get, “If you stop controlling everything what will happen to us? We will disappear and become nothing. Life will be pointless. You will be vulnerable to everything.”
My old friends, the illusions and fears of Unimportance, Powerlessness and Not Good Enough waving hello to me.
To be honest, I’m bored of being scared and resistant. I already know how that movie goes. I’m ready for a new script.
Breathe and open. Lean into the fear, lean into the pain, love it and watch it dissolve.
That’s in between freaking out at anything and anyone around me who is not behaving the way I want and expect. Anything not letting me control it is a threat! My family is bearing the full brunt, lest the outside world sees I’m a raving luno right now.
All because I want to let go of the need to control everything.
That’s addiction for you. I guess this is me going cold turkey.
The thing is, I have realised that when I control something, I am only open to it being the way I can see. Apparently we are only aware of about 1% of all the things around us at any given moment. This means that when I control anything, I am limiting it to around 1% of its potential.
Now granted, some of that potential may be bad, even very, very bad – this seems to be what my body keeps trying to warn me of – but how often do really bad things happen in our lives? Maybe between 1-5% of the actual in vivo moments of our entire lifespan are really very bad. All the rest are either neutral or good. But we sure do spend a LOT of time thinking about the tiny little percentage that was bad and defending against it ever happening again. Meanwhile we MISS OUT on the 95-99% of the rest of our life.
That’s what I’m doing, trying to maintain control so that it all goes according to one random plan I have decided is the way it ‘should go’ – meanwhile I am pushing aside 99% pure potential. It’s sheer madness .
What is the antidote?
I think it’s Curiosity.
Being open and curious to see how this thing will turn out instead of deciding how it ‘should’ go is the answer for me. I would like to cultivate more genuine open curiosity about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. I think the result may be that I shut up more and have a lot more fun. Certainly I will live with more surprises – 99% of which promise to be pleasant.
Wish me luck.
How are you with control?