This week I sat with a client who finds it hard to trust at times. Can you relate? I certainly can. Occasionally in my life, I've found myself in a rut of not trusting, and generally (though not intentionally) sucking the fun out of everything because I just can't surrender control.
No, I can't laugh at that joke because I'm up in my head. No, I can't slow down enough to connect right now because the to-do list is waiting. No, I can't deeply empathize with you right now because all my energy is going toward managing this moment.
No, I can't appreciate your small and loving gesture, because there was something that agitated me about it. No, I can't drop into myself because there's something out there that needs my…control. (I mean, somebody's gotta handle this stuff, right?!)
Do you notice how, in that space of control and not trusting, you've got a lot of "no"s?
It takes a lot of energy to push against the current of life.
This is no way to live. And it's certainly no way to love. This habit of not trusting, of keeping up control is toxic to your life. Especially your relationships.
- Not trusting keeps your body tense, your mind active, and your shoulders bearing more work than is actually yours to do.
- When you can't let go and allow things to happen as they will, you cut yourself off from everything that is wild (and therefore, impossible to tame). This includes your creativity, your sexuality, your pleasure, and your spiritual connection. These things all require surrender. So, does good, deep rest.
- When you can't trust, you believe you've got to do everything or else it won't get done and anyone in your way is an easy target for blame.
- When your priorities become focused on maintaining control, even in subtle ways, it robs you of your naturally occurring happiness, spontaneity, lightness, and joy.
- Pushing against the current of life, or against the way things are, is exhausting.
- Habitual control is a sure route to anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue. Because try as you might, you'll never actually be able to fully control your life. Control is an illusion; you can't control death, illness, or other people.
- When things need to be just right, you'll miss the many, many opportunities for gratitude each day. Because "if only it were better…"
There will always be another task to complete, something that's not perfect, some way you wish it were different, or something to control. Always.
As long as you choose control and are unwilling to trust your Life, your partner, yourself, or others, your attention will gravitate towards even the smallest thing that's agitating you and you'll miss the truth:
You'll miss the ways your life is blessed. You'll not feel the love around you because of a closed heart. You'll focus on agitation (as if you could just amp up with a little more control and make it go away), rather than beauty, gratitude, or the whisperings of your own soul.
Instead, get sensory.
Slow down. Get out of your head and feel the breeze against your skin. Cherish the sound of your loved one's voice. Taste your exquisite meal. Smell the flowers, sage, or outside air. Gaze at a gorgeous piece of art. See if you can feel the presence of Something Bigger with you right now.
In other words, get present in your body through your senses. Put your attention on taking in the delicious, the beautiful, or the sacred. Look for a "yes" inside you instead of a "no."
Now, before you go thinking that I'm simply coaching you into a mind shift, wait. This is deeper.
This is about feeling a softening, an opening, a vulnerability, a yield, an aliveness in your body.
(If your body is foreign territory to you, or if you've been betrayed or traumatized, this might not come easily. Seek the support of a therapist to help you unwind this so that you can choose to trust when trust is appropriate. Blind trust is not what we're after here).
Feeling that "yes" in your body is your practice. It's the antidote for control. It's the feeling of going along with life, rather than pushing against it.
If meditation, yoga, hiking, dancing, prayer, making art, or singing helps you feel that in your body, then go do that.
If you're not sure what has you feel that way, by all means search diligently for something that makes you feel as though you're making love with the world.
Your quality of life depends on it.
Start by leaving a comment below either about your relationship with trust or about what makes you feel alive enough to let go of control.
With trust and surrender, but not without fear,
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