To Control or Not Control, IS that the Question or the Answer?
A friend asked me to watch her kids while she was out-of-town and I was thrilled, it felt so good to provide that help that after my shift was up, my ego decided I should call her to highlight my greatness in carrying out this neighborly good deed. However, I did not completely follow her prescribed instructions on the commission of this kindly act. In my mind the end result was achieved, so the response I got…….well let’s just say I was bucked off my high horse. It was actually pretty funny, later when I thought about it and my bruised ego recovered. You see I know this person really well and her response was not intended to make me feel bad, however, indeed bad is how I felt.
I could feel my face getting flush and my defenses building. My first thought was, hey I was pandering for an ego stroke here, you know a little pat on the back! My second thought was, wow she is so controlling!!! After my initial reaction I realized hmmm how very interesting because I am defensive and why??? Because I did not expect her response, so who is trying to control the situation now!
While I was amusing myself with this rudimentary self-analysis, I noticed my fists were clenched, a typical response for me when I am frustrated, I have been employing this tactic since the ripe old age of 2 or possibly 2 1/2, but who’s counting. I thought about these constricted digits and how control is like a clenched fist trying to hold on to a fist full of sand. The tighter the grip the more sand that falls through the cracks. In order to hold on to as much sand as possible you actually have to lessen your grip, and lightly cup your hands.
Life is very much like that, when we grab and squeeze life, controlling, expecting, directing it tightly we are so preoccupied with our expectations we can’t be present to the beauty and mystery of life. Yet when we approach life with open hands and open hearts we reap so much more of the blessings life has to offer.
After recognizing the path I started down, I lightened my grip and was able to make a decision to shift my perspective. When I opened my heart I was able to see so many blessings in just this one situation. First I recognized my own controlling behavior, next I was inspired to share my experience and hopefully inspire others and last I was able to avoid hurt feelings with a dear friend.
Let’s assume at the point my face was flush and my defenses were building, I reacted in that moment. Maybe I would fire back some snotty comment or something to make my friend feel bad. I mean she made me feel bad so why shouldn’t I make her feel bad right back! That’s how it works right, you hurt me then I hurt you. She would have likely gotten very upset and in turn perhaps would take it out on someone, and so on and so on……..wow can you see the powerful negative ripple that is set in motion when we hold on too tightly to the way things “should be.” So when those old defenses kick in be mindful, think of them not as a blow to the ego (although that is what is needed, to knock that ego on its arse) see it as our Higher Self, God, the Great Mystery, or the Universe reminding you to lessen your grip and just be present to this amazing human experience.
“Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection. Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.” – Laozi