Breaking Out of Control

Most of my conversations lately have been centered around the ideas of trust and truth – what it means to trust, what it means to live your truth; what it means to have control and give up control. Basically, what it means to live a happy life.

As a former list maker to the point of destructive tendencies, the notion of letting go is foreign to me. I was once asked what would happen if I did not put together a list of every second of every day. And I couldn’t even fathom the answer.

Why? Did I feel my world would crumble? Did I think I would forget to tie my shoes?

In hindsight, I know why I let these lists dictate my every move so strictly: I did not trust. Anything.

Full control is lonely. Life becomes a list, growth becomes a chance, the world turns into a place full of deceit. We slowly get addicted to the order and the comfort of knowing what’s going to come next. And then something (or someone) inevitably comes along and – as we extremists do – the coin flips. We throw control out the car door window and proclaim, “This is the day I will let my life happen! I am a voyeur! I am at your mercy! I am a scrap of tissue paper, blowing in the wind! Today is my day to be free!” It’s the rush and the thrill and the exhilaration of completely changing our world.

At first, it feels empowering to give up the control we so think we need over every move. It’s like an anchor has been hacksawed away. But what I’ve found, and what I never expected to find, is that both extremes prove to be detrimental. The control freak who calculates every move misses out on life, yes. But letting go? She finds herself lost, scared, unsure of her footing and without grounding in who she truly is. There is no core. There is no trust.

Tempering that whirlwind of control is a constant battle. What we don’t understand or know, we swirl around in our minds and hearts and create every possible scenario to eradicate that element of surprised disappointment. We dig and sift and analyze until we have something concrete to work with. This morning, I was sent a reminder from the Universe (literally, the Universe emails me) that our “thoughts become things”. I do not know everything, but I know this: I’m grateful for my tendencies towards digging and analyzing – and know they’re a big part of who I am. But those tendencies, they often build “things” out of little teeny seeds of “thoughts”. That’s my control freak kicking in.

Do we control because we feel empowered, or do we control because we feel unsafe?

And then on the flipside, when we merely blow along in the wind, do we lose a sense of accountability and ownership of ourselves?

Control, or lack thereof, all boils down to trust…or lack thereof. To break out of either extreme – simply trust yourself. Trust your trajectory and trust your heart. Trust your brain to put words to the abstract and trust your soul to speak silently when no words suffice. Ultimately, we are not in this life for the fleeting adventures or dog-eared experiences. Do we want them? Of course we do. But this little silly wonderful existence of ours, we are in it for what sticks, what informs the spirit and drives our passions.

Be in this life to live your truth, which is oh-so-subjective but glorious and all yours. Know that in order to do so, you must only exert as much control over yourself and your world as it takes to feel grounded in who you are and what you stand for. Thoughts become things on their own, there is no use in struggling to grab the reins from the natural course of things. How can we possibly know the dappled pattern of the flower’s petal by just holding the seed? We can plant, water, sow, nurture. We cannot control the blossom. And this – this is what we need to be okay with when it comes to letting go.

So do both. Control what you can. Control everything you can. Control what is objective and control who you are.

And then the rest? Let the journey happen.

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  1. This is just what I needed. Thank you!

    Rona | 03.22.2013 | Reply
  2. Katie, your words are the thoughts I could never explain on paper! Well said. Thank you for this!

    Hattie | 03.24.2013 | Reply
    • I am so happy to hear that, Hattie – and I feel that way ALL the time about things I read or hear, so I’m honored. Sometimes it just takes the twists and turns of thinking out loud to figure out what’s really underneath it all 🙂

      Katie | 07.08.2013 | Reply
  3. Great post. I am a perfectionist and am always struggling not to be a control freak!

    Kelsey | 04.03.2013 | Reply
    • A struggle of ours too – so glad the piece resonated with you!

      The Chalkboard | 04.03.2013 | Reply
  4. KATIE! Wondering and inspiring words. love uuu!

    Sarah | 07.08.2013 | Reply

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