I had a blinding flash of realisation this morning: I don’t need to be in control – it really was quite a liberating thought.
As a teenager, I discovered the ‘in crowd’ and learnt the art of immitation; to be popular you had speak in this way or dress in that way, have certain attitudes. I studied the kids who seemed to have a lot of friends and tried to emulate their behaviour; it worked, I became more popular but it took a lot of control. Over time it also meant that I was alienating myself from myself, if you see what I mean.
Over a number years I did what many people do, I adapted my personality according to whatever social situation I found myself in but, in the process, I put tighter and tighter controls on my thoughts and emotions. The result was, inevitably, confusion and internal conflict as my natural personality fought against the me that I had created.
When I found my soul mate, very, very slowly, all that changed as I realised that I had found someone who loved me as I am, as I really am; the walls came down and I was happy. I didn’t need to keep the rigid control over my mind and emotions as I had in the past – I was free.
After just 10 years of marriage, this wonderful, kind and selfless man who had liberated me was taken by the godawful, cruel disease that is cancer. During his illness and after he died all the long-practised control came back. It felt like slipping back into a custom made suit of armour – just as comfortable but just as restrictive……..
For the last 4 years I have been fighting to keep control because I felt that, if I truly let go, I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain. However, this morning, I’ve realised it’s not the pain that’s the problem as that is there no matter what, it’s the control so I’ve decided to let it go. Oddly, just writing that sentence, I feel calmer than I have done in a long time – perhaps being out of control won’t be so bad after all.
““Whether we like it or not, change comes, and the greater the resistance, the greater the pain. Buddhism perceives the beauty of change, for life is like music in this: if any note or phrase is held for longer than its appointed time, the melody is lost”