The Illusion of Control


I had a great conversation with my good friend, Yvette Lamidey, The Business Locksmith, on Monday, one of those conversations where prophetic things get said; we both heard Oracle statements for our futures.

In amongst a wide range of subjects, the idea of control of life came up. It’s an idea we like to cling to, that we can directly manipulate the objects and events in our lives, that things are stable, that the possessions and people we live with now will be with us forever.

But actually, we know that isn’t true. We know that things are temporary, that even the ground beneath our feet is less stable than it seems.

So what is going on here? Why do we ignore the evidence, and keep holding on tightly to what we know? Perhaps it’s the devil we know… that the things we can’t imagine look more frightening than the things we can. Perhaps it’s that we doubt our ability to handle something new. Perhaps it’s just the energy that it takes to run a hundred different scenarios, pre-planning contingencies, exploring the “what-ifs”. For lots of different reasons, it seems simplest to assume what has happened before will happen again, the same action will produce the same result… but we know, deep down, this isn’t always true.

So what then? What’s the alternative?

How about this? What if we were to surf life, moment by moment; watch the waves with a sense of the direction of movement, and trust in the thrill of the ride? What if we were to allow the roller coaster of emotions to freely move through us, bringing vivid experience, a continuous rush of beautiful, wild life, exhilarating?

There’s a lot to let go of to do this. Loosening the grip on possessions is the first, looking at everything we have around us, everything we hold in our hands, as a momentary thing that may or may not continue into our future. It requires letting go of thinking ahead with rigid expectation, of the sense of disappointment when things don’t go as planned, of judgement, comparing this moment to what it might have been; and then, once these are let go, living life this way consists of simply looking around the moment we have with wonder.

It also involves letting go of people: letting go of the picture we have of who they are or ought to be, and letting them be who they actually are, in the moment. None of us stay the same; we change powerfully from moment to moment: sometimes serious, sometimes sad, sometimes playful; but always, deep down, we are always love. We just bring that love in different forms, moment to moment.

It’s that truth that makes it safe to trust life, in the moment, and let go of the illusion of control.

(Thanks to inimitable Thinking Coach Dave Kibby: I can no longer tell which ideas are yours, and which are mine…)

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