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Friday, June 15, 2012

Relinquishing Control - Do it NOW! ;-)

This past week I was touring through DC doing a book signing at One More Page Books in Arlington and running a workshop for the ICF Metro DC conference - super fun!  The theme of relinquishing control emerged in many of my interactions.

In one instance I was in a cab and the taxi driver was telling me about his son who wasn't getting out, getting a wife, having children, and gaining responsibility.  The son was 25 and this was worrying him. On the other hand, he explained, he personally was struggling with the feeling that he had spent his whole life focused on earning money for his family.  He did it because he was "supposed to" and now he felt no happiness.  His son, on the other hand, seemed to be experiencing happiness, but he wanted him to get on with it.  (Multiple layers of information here!)

No matter which way this guy looked, he couldn't control what was happening. "Why do you worry so much about him?"  I gently asked.  "What if he gets in with the wrong people, gets on drugs, or goes gay?!"  he exclaimed. Hmmm, interesting that I am in this taxi, I thought.  I'll leave the conversation that followed up to your imagination!

So the story goes.  Our anxiety creates this inner turmoil that we try to contain through all kinds of control.  We worry, we shop, we spend hours online, we lose focus on what's most important, and valiantly we try to control our circumstances and the people around us.  (Sigh.)

Relinquishing control.  Letting go.  If you don't learn to do it on your own, life will impose it on you.  Make you let go. You'll get sick, or maybe, like this gentleman, you'll find yourself alone.  It's not easy to have faith that other people are capable.  What to do?

When I find myself getting this way, (which happens at least once everyday), I do this:  I look at my own goals for my life. Then I follow through on the nudges I get when they come and trust that everything is happening exactly as it is supposed to. I try to remember how many times I have heard some wise person say, "If it were supposed to be different, it would be!"

As scared as you may be to look in the mirror, go draw your own dream, not your wife's or partner's, not your child's, yours. I've found that this simple, visual, focusing process is enough to keep me busy for a lifetime and hopefully out of someone else's hair so they can stretch out into the freedom of choice that they deserve.

Happy Pride Month!

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