Monday, August 22, 2005

Letting Go of Control

We all have our moments of needing to believe we are in control. For some of us, this can be problematical in our relationships as we insist upon controlling everything that happens and the other person. For others of us, we think we have no need to control the outcome and go along with whatever life has to offer, but blaming ourselves for our lack when things go wrong.

I am reminded of this because a friend lost her dog this past weekend. I listened to her as she said many times that if only she had done something different her dog might be alive. She cried saying she just felt like she had failed this creature because ultimately the dog had died. It was apparent in the story that the dog had had cancer and that there was little to be done, no matter what choices she had made. Yet my friend insisted upon blaming herself. I had been in that position recently with a beloved cat and as I sat with my grief and self blame, another wise friend told me that we often find it easier to blame ourselves than to allow the reality that we are not in control of everything seep in.

We can control only ourselves. We often find even this difficult. If we sit in meditation, we may find it difficult to control even our thoughts when they race from here to there. We act and react in ways that can embarrass ourselves later on when we look back at what we did. We realize that we really weren't in control.

Our society reveres control. We expect people to always be in control (which means to keep our emotions tightly reined so others don't have to see them). We expect people to some how master and control their destiny when it may not be up to each of us.

Perhaps for a moment we can each sit with the knowledge that we are not necessarily in control and reflect on who and what may be. Perhaps we can then offer ourselves compassion for those moments when we fly off the handle at our mate after a trying day or end up blubbering on the shoulder of a kindly friend at the wrong moment. Life happens and it typically happens outside of our control. All we can do is meet it with compassion.


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