About control

About control

The irony of wanting to write about control and not doing it because the writing might be bad is not lost on me. I can easily label myself as somewhat of a control freak. Or rather make that: someone who still most of the time stupidly believes that she is in control of stuff.

Me writing this blog is teaching me a lot about control. Because every time I try to control what I write in any way, my text immediately becomes really bad as in: Truly Terrible. This happens every time, without fail! It seems I can only write this blog when I just relax and am present with whatever is going on at that moment. And as soon as I’m in that place, the words just flow somehow.

Control for me is often about trying to avoid danger. For example for many years I didn’t just say Bye! to my husband when he left the house to drive somewhere in our car. I also added: Drive safe! Why did I do this? As if I could control what will happen to him on the road by telling him to drive safe?

I once read an interesting story in a magazine about a man who spoke about how he lived life. He said: My whole life, I never got too excited about anything. That way if things didn’t work out, I wasn’t devastated, and if they did, it was a pleasant surprise. The thing was however that after years of marriage, his wife was killed in a car accident. He said: The second I realized she was gone, I knew I should have leaned harder into those moments of joy. Because not doing so did not protect me from what I feel now. It seems to me that this man was, you could call it: dress rehearsing for tragedy in his life. And by doing so he missed out on feeling truly joyful by living and enjoying the present moment.

I realize that trying to control situations, or control my feelings, has sometimes made me miss out of experiencing joy in the moment. I was so busy trying to avoid danger (or make that: pain) in life that it was difficult for me to be grateful and joyful instead for what was happening at that precise moment. Instead I was worried about what would happen in the future, what happened in the past or trying to control how I felt.

To me, a colossal truth about life is that it’s uncertain and we cannot control it. However much we would like to sometimes (or a lot of times), I think we simply cannot do it. From the weather all the way to issues about life and death; life is impossible to control. So what can we do? This is where I think religion comes in for many people but religion in the traditional sense is not really my cup of tea.

Jack Kornfield writes in his book The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology:

We can plan, care for, tend and respond. But we cannot control. Instead we take a breath, and open to what is unfolding, where we are. This is a profound shift, from holding on to letting go.

It’s easy to say: Just let go! But truly letting go of trying to control life, as in: For Real, is for me a whole different ball game altogether. To me the art of letting go is something that I will actively practise for the rest of my life. And as you can read in my previous blog posts About romantic love, About moving, books and letting go and About rituals I am trying in my own ways.

I notice that I’m constantly going back and forth between trying to control and letting go. And probably it will be like this for the rest of my life. Which brings me back to the power of awareness: it really helps me a lot to be aware of the times when I try to control things I cannot. Because the very second I notice myself doing this, I can go back to the space of being with what is and letting go.

So this blog post turned out to be what it is; straight from my heart to you. I will stop revising and let these words be the way they are now. I hope they enrich you in some way!

Photo (of one of the things we can’t control): Devon Janse van Rensburg – unsplash.com

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