Lately, the Universe seems to be trying to teach me a lesson in control, or rather, a lesson in letting go of control. This theme, has weaved it's way through my everyday interactions in my personal life, my work life, and even in my dreams. For someone who has never thought of herself as a "controlling" person, the Universe has been showing me otherwise.
What I've realized most recently, is that for the last seven or so years, being in control meant that I was doing well. It was the evidence to myself that I was in recovery from the mental illness and symptoms I had struggled with for the majority of my life. Being "in control" meant that I was in charge of how I reacted, how I moved forward, and how I decided to transform my life. Control meant I was getting better.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, when I was over my head and completely consumed with the symptoms of mental illness, I felt out of control...powerless...paralyzed. I didn't feel like I was well enough at that point in time to take control of my life, and I allowed the unpredictability of depression, anxiety, and a raging eating disorder to dictate my every move. Seven years ago, control was an outside force that I willingly gave to my very unstable emotions, or anyone I thought who could offer some relief from my suffering.
Recovery, meant taking back control. What the Universe keeps presenting to me, however, is that I sometimes take that valuable lesson to the other extreme. Needing to be in control of situations or interactions doesn't always come from my desire to continue on my Life Worth Living journey, it often comes from fear. Fear that if I let go of control, my whole life and everything I have been working towards will crumble and fall apart. Even though my reasonable and logical mind knows this isn't true, my emotional mind begs to differ.
I woke up this morning reciting the Serenity Prayer in my mind:
"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."
There is a place and time to be in control. And there is freedom in knowing when to let go of it. I'm working on my awareness of this repeating theme. I can share the control with the people in my life... I don't have to fear that letting go of control in my relationship will lead to disaster. I don't need to dictate how things have to play out in every aspect of life. In fact, I don't actually have that kind of power. Pretending like I do, only distances me from others and farther away from the life I want to have.
So here is the lesson the Universe has taught me recently...There is a balance between being in control, and letting go. Learning to be aware in the present moment, without putting my own expectations and agenda on it, will mean I can see what is needed more clearly. It also means the answer might not reveal itself right then and there. And that's okay. If I am able to let go of the illusion of control, then over time I will be able to the harness the control that I am supposed to have.