To control or not control


I used to think I was very easy going. I still think I am  when I'm not trying to control my circumstances or myself. I must admit that I really don't like the thought of me being controlling. It bothers me on so many levels. But instead of dwelling on that, I'm hoping that by exploring it, admitting it and trying to understand it, I will be free from it. Or at least I'll be more conscious so I can make different choices.

A few years ago I adorned my altar with a card from the Osho Zen tarot deck. Well, actually my partner made this card for me for a ritual we were doing because it was something she saw me struggle with. Well, maybe the honest truth was that she felt me doing it - to her. Fortunately, on the other side is a beautiful card called Existence... But this post is about Control.

I don't know about you, but when I look at this card my breath stops. My stomach contracts and I can totally relate to it. Just look at the fists. Have you ever felt like this? It's so familiar that this card still remains on my altar as a reminder. I want to be in the flow. I want to trust. I want to know.

It's just recently that I've been able to acknowledge that I do try to control things, especially when it has to do with me feeling safe in my world.

I think it's actually a contradiction in terms, thinking I have to (or even that I can) control anything or anyone to be safe, but that comes from an adult perspective instead of a younger one.

I realize that I have mostly controlled myself in an effort to control another. I haven't let myself do some things, (or even think some things) that I have wanted because I didn't want to hurt someone else's feelings. I haven't spoken my truth for the same reason. It looks like I'm doing "it" for them, but I've actually been doing it for me.

I could come up with a long list like this but I think it would be more beneficial for me to ask myself when I'm aware of this behavior, "Is this behavior causing me more harm than good?" And then to think about how to do it another way.

One of the problems with letting go of control is that we don't know how it will work out. I hear this all the time in my work. The truth is that, no matter whether we try to control something or not, we never know what the outcome will be until we get there.

When I "let go of control" I notice that I feel pretty uncomfortable. I tend to worry a little more about what will happen, how things will work out, will someone be mad at me. I have a whole litany of those worry words. I also realize that my attempts to control anything are futile. The only thing I have any control over is me, what I think, what I focus on and what I do.

What I'm noticing now is that the more I let go, the more I see that things do work out in the end. If I can just hold on in the uncomfortable places I see that I don't have to work so hard and that I can trust my world more and, of course, the people in it.

I'm a true believer that we are here to be happy, to enjoy ourselves, our relationships and everything else our heart desires. I know, for me, there is no joy when I'm feeling as pinched up as this guy on the Control card. So I'm going to do my best to be aware of when I feel tight and when I feel in the flow.

So for now I'm going to take a deep breath, let myself sink into how good life is and maybe look at that Existence card. After all, what am I waiting for?