“Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go.” ~ Anais Nin
Yesterday I wrote about trying different versus trying harder. Sometimes trying a different approach entails letting go; an action many of us have a hard time doing. Here’s a visual: Trying to maintain control in life is a bit like trying to maintain control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly you grip the bar. There is a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take you rather than fighting them. When you fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, your whole being becomes tense and anxiety is your close companion. When you go with the ride, accepting what you cannot control, freedom and joy will inevitably arise.
But it’s not always easy to let go, even of the things we know we cannot control. Yet it’s a fact that we have no control over much of what happens in life. Sometimes this awareness comes only when we have a stark encounter with this fact. But there is a way to develop this awareness in ourselves by simply making surrender a daily practice. By saying, “I surrender to this life” can easily be a mantra and metaphor for gripping the bar on the roller coaster.
How many times have you fought or resisted something, only to lose? We can give in to our fear and anxiety, or we can surrender to this great mystery with courage. When we see people on a roller coaster, we see some with fear on their face and others who are smiling broadly, throwing their hands in the air, filled with freedom and joy. Let this image remind you that the only control you have is choosing how you are going to respond to the ride.
When you next find yourself face-to-face with control, consider these three things:
- Are you trying to control something because of what you think will happen if you don’t? In other words, is your need to control rooted in fear?
- Ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of control?” There will be times where your answer may be “no.” And it’s important to honor that if it’s the case for you. Yet the more willing you are to ask and answer this question, the more likely you are to start letting go. You may not know how to do it or what it may look like, but willingness is a first step toward positive change.
- Keep in mind that control is a result of being attached to a specific outcome; an outcome you’re sure is best for you – as if you always know what’s best for you. 🙂 When you trust that you’re okay, no matter the circumstances, you don’t need to control everything. When you let go you awaken to new possibilities that aren’t there when you’re attached to the “right” path.