Control is an illusion.
There, I said it. There is no such thing as control. We have no more control over what happens in our lives than we have over the sun rising and setting. We may convince ourselves of the opposite so we can rise in the morning and go about our day without worrying that we will fall victim to a drunk driver coming home from a bar or a tree branch falling upon as during a walk along a wooded trail. We convince ourselves we have control because this keeps us from going down the rabbit hole of what if’s.
It also ties us down, binds us to become small instead of limitless. We convince ourselves we are living a wonderful fulfilling life, when in actuality we are hiding within the confines of our mind.
We give control such power, and yet it still defies us. Things in life happen anyway. Whether we brace ourself or not, the unexpected occurs because that is why we are here – for the experience. It is not to have only good things, wonderful easy moments. Life lessons are hard, but that is how we grow. This false notion of control keeps us from living our truest life; one that frees us to follow our intuition, heart and dreams.
In truth, the more we let go of control, the freer we become.
My illusion of control was shattered when the stillbirth of my son, fourteen years ago life came crashing down upon me. For years following this devastating life event, I felt unsafe, unprotected. I knew anything bad could happen at anytime. Truth is, I was no more vulnerable after the loss of my son than before. I just thought I was because I was forced to confront the illusion of control.
Each time my husband was late, I would panic. Every moment my daughters went out to play in the yard, I would need to go with them. I had thought keeping a close watch on my loved ones would keep them from leaving me, leaving a pain, a hole in my heart, so deep, it could never be filled.
It didn’t work. Soon I began to feel worse. Anxious, fearful and depressed.
Traumatic events, unexpected loss, diagnosis, accidents, job loss, divorce, even natural endings of life’s stages all challenge our notion of control. Sometimes the illusion of control hits us over our head, other times, it can feel like a punch in the gut. It may even show up as a simple detour on our way to work. Whether you get knocked over, or just feel annoyed by inconvenience, it is how soft you are, how flexible, how permeable, that will determine how soon you get back up. Let life move through you. Sit within the discomfort, become lost within the depth of grief, and it will pass. Eventually everything will move through you, if you don’t dig your heels in the dirt, or grip tightly to your surroundings.
In my darkest out, grasping onto control began to feel like nails on a blackboard. I knew it was no way to live. I had to reach beyond circumstance and begin to trust life again.
It is that simple. I had to move from my head to my heart.
We must grieve deeply, if life brings us loss. We must allow ourself to feel scared if we become afraid. The only way out is through the mud. Otherwise we risk getting stuck in quicksand.
We must give up our notion that nothing bad is supposed to happen, and release our expectations of what is to come. This is how we move through whatever life brings with a lightness in our step, nor matter how heavy our hearts.
I love to listen to music. For me, this is quickest way for me to get in touch with what I am feeling. It bypasses my mind, and goes right to my heart. You know what works for you. Maybe it’s music or writing. Watching a sad movie. Singing, dancing, pounding pillow, walking in nature. Do whatever it takes to feel your way back from your head to your heart.
Opening your heart is where you will find freedom. Anxiety will dissipate, depression will lift, and you will know what it is like to live within the magic and miracles of life.
Feeling is the pathway out of the illusion of control, and into the glorious wonder of life.
Please excuse all grammatical errors and typos. My editor is on a permanent vacation in the Bahamas.
4 thoughts on “The Illusion of Control”
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Such true words. I think women especially suffer from the need of control throughout motherhood, just breath.
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Yes, I agree. Letting go can be hard. Breathing is such a good way to center ourself.