March 2017

Handstands and Losing Control

Although Mother Nature is gifting us with more winter, the universe and our bodies are innately aligning for a time of rebirth and new growth.  It’s this time of year that I am often confronted with the hard-to accept truth that there are many things that we cannot control (the weather being the most obvious). Acceptance of “what is” becomes a prominent practice.

Recently I have been battling with my “control freak” demons.  Holding strictly to a routine, trying to control others, controlling our environment, food, thoughts, and bodies are only a few patterns that keep us imprisoned.  This even shows up in our yoga practice.  For me, using the wall in handstand feels safe, expected and keeps me from falling.  In my mind falling equals failure.  It’s the drive for perfectionism and the fear of the unknown that can feed our need for control.  Brian Kessler is quoted in saying, “The closest to being in control we’ll ever be is in that moment when we realize we’re not.”  We are SO not in control!  So what propels us to control freak-dom? To find out, we need a willingness to search inside and see our own darkness (apropos for Spring Equinox, a time of balancing light and dark).  When we feel like something in our life is beyond our control (health, our bodies aging, world suffering) we may compensate by becoming overly controlling in another area, like our relationships or the way that we eat. When we feel overwhelmed, we can have a tendency to create too much structure in order to comfort ourselves.

I have been sitting with this feeling and listening for the answer.  What is the way out of the control prison?

Step 1-AWARENESS

Do I care about myself enough to be willing to see the patterns that I have been righteously holding onto for so long? Seeing can be initiated from ourselves by setting an intent to be present to our actions.  It can also come from people in our lives who we trust to see us for what we are without judgement.  This can get tricky.  When we are blind to our control patterns we can often get very defensive when a loved one points them out.  DENIAL. That’s a clue that they are onto something! If you really want to break free and learn to start letting go, find someone to be your spotter. Ask this person to call you out when they see you spinning off into a controlling frenzy. Breathe deeply as you listen to what they have  to say.  Seeing our own darkness requires a loving attitude towards ourselves.  Our darkness is not our faults, but a compartment of precious lessons to be learned.

Step 2- GET TO THE ROOT

Rather than getting defensive or rationalizing why you should continue to be so strict in your life, sit still and listen.  Ask the question, “ What would really actually happen if I just let go.”  Usually the answer is not life threatening.  We are held captive by our fears when it comes to our addiction to being in control.  A harsh truth: keeping ourselves inside the same box blocks our potential for self growth and creativity.

Step 3- DECIDE TO STOP DOING IT & MOVE ON

Simply put, when you see that you are in control mode and becoming rigid in an unhealthy way, say to yourself, “ I won’t be doing this today.” Acknowledge that it’s your fear that is trying to fool you, not your true self.

Step 4- BEGIN TO FEEL FOR LETTING GO

If we are stuck in fear and worry, we are not trusting. Trust yourself. Trust others.  Trust in the things that are much greater than you are. Trust in the very things that are out of your control. Trust that if you stopped trying to control others, they will feel more freedom and respond with affection and respect. Trust that if you wander outside of your strict regimen, you will be filled with new insights. Trust that your body knows how to heal itself. Trust that you will not be left alone. Trust that when you let go, it’s not going to be so bad!

Use your imagination and day dream about what it would feel like to truly let your Spirit dance.  Fear wears away our brightness.  We need brightness in order to see the lessons of the darkness.  So, keep it lit!!