It is an inside joke in our house that I'm in charge of the remote control. When we watch TV it is usually something we have recorded so we can fast forward through the commercials. I have my finger on fast forward ready to go the minute the show cuts to commercial. I am also a guide scroller. When I'm mentally exhausted, I find myself mindlessly scrolling up and down the guide never stopping to watch anything. What is this about?
If this Tuck the Fringe journey has taught me anything, it's about control. I've learned that I am "covert controller", meaning, I would try to manipulate situations in my life to avoid anything uncomfortable, including rejection, confrontation and embarrassment while also trying to make everyone else's life easy peasy. The key word here is "try". Yes, there were times that I was very successful controlling my surroundings, but more often than not, it only made things more difficult to overcome later.
As I continue the process of UN-Tucking myself, I realize that I have exhausted myself trying to manage everything in this way. As I've opened myself up, I have also learned that there were many people in my life that we very happy to have me take charge of everything. Hindsight is always 20/20 and as I look back I can see in every area of my life from my childhood, early relationships, marriage, and career where I took charge and tried to make things better for everyone, even when it wasn't best for me. Let me give you just one example. I was working for a family owned business in a newly created position. My role was a jack of all trades. At the beginning, there was not a lot of work so I had a lot of down time, which did not fit my personality at all. So I began to create work. I looked for areas that could improve in the business. Areas that weren't being attended to and I gladly took on the responsibility. Long story short, by the end of my 9 years with the company, I had created a job of managing 7 small start up companies, Human Resources, benefits and payroll for the main company and operations assistant to the owners. All because I felt like if I made everyone else's life easy, I would be needed. In the end, I was tired, unhappy and stressed most of the time.
This is just one example, but I share it because it coincides with the beginning of my journey. Of course, I didn't know that then, but now I can see how my struggle at the time brought me to yoga and meditation.
Learning to Live from the Inside
The first thing my yoga practice gave to me was a feeling of release, physically and mentally. The more I dedicated myself to my practice, the more I felt the shift. For the first time there was so much more to my life than what I was controlling. I began to connect internally more to God and I realized even though I was trying to manipulate parts of my life, I really wasn't in control at all. I started to live life from the inside with a deeper sense of who I was and who I was becoming. It felt natural to me and I could feel this little girl that I had covered up for so long, dying to get out. It didn't happen overnight. As a matter of fact I'm still working through it today. I'm learning to be her friend and letting her be who God created her to be. I'm controlling less and understanding more. It is not my will, but God's will. I just have to get out of the way.
We each have a co-creator in our life and it's not out there. It's inside. I can tell you that I have never felt more free from anxiety than I do now; letting go of the need to control outside situations to be accepted. The struggle is real. The patterns have been ingrained and it is a recovery process that I know will be life long. I don't have to manipulate life to avoid anything. I am in control of my thoughts, words and actions and I can say no to anything or anyone who that steers me away from my best-self.
What are you trying to control today? Here is a prayer that I found to confess and surrender your need to control.
“God I confess I like being in control. It makes me feel safe and secure. It makes me feel like I have a purpose. But I know that being a control freak isn’t going to get me anywhere. Help me surrender control to you each and every day. Help me trust in you deeply, so that I will not fear surrendering that control. Help me remember that you hold it all.”