NOTE: This is the prompt for a submission from TheCreative.Cafe:
“We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver
What do we control? What do we not? What do we wish we did and at what cost?
We control nothing. We think we do. We tell ourselves and others, “Oh, no worries. I’ve got this.” And it feels like such a relief because it gives false optimism to ourselves and others that everything is fine. It’s all going to work out. And we can be smart, meticulous, even OCD when making choices, decisions, plans…….we’ve got it all under control. We’ve even got contingencies should the need arise.
But the reality is that we are human, and humanity is flawed at the very least, and downright ignorant at its worst. What if someone assumes he has control over a situation but his ongoing attempts at maintaining his perceived control is detrimental to others? For example, the controlling partner, boss, parent, all who dictate events in our daily lives, can be damaging to our own psyche and emotional growth. Being controlled undermines our own ability to control our own lives. It limits independence, self-confidence. It can diminish the importance of your accomplishments.
It’s really a vicious cycle because in reality, no one has true control over anything or anyone. Certainly we can have a moment of control but it only exists in the present. Much like the simple truth that we don’t have any knowledge whatsoever of our future, which is always notably the exact moment that follows the present moment, no exceptions, we therefore cannot maintain in any way that we’ve got everything under control, or that we are confident that everything will execute as planned.
It’s a double-edged sword isn’t it? It’s comforting to feel in control but the reality is we are constantly spiraling, literally as the Earth turns on it’s axis, and we have no control whatsoever. We can’t halt time, press rewind, pause or fast forward. But paradoxically it’s not as if we are out of control either, because we have the opportunity in every present moment to make choices that allow us to still feel as though everything is under control.
My comfort zone remains consistently solid and unwavering in my complete acceptance that in any given situation I do not possess the ultimate control of what happens — to me or anything in my surroundings. This does not mean that I surrender my right to make choices. That freedom however is allayed by the fact that while I am confident in my choices, the fact that I cannot be guaranteed ultimate control over the results is actually comforting. If I am secure in the understanding that the choices I make may not ultimately deliver the outcome I’d hoped, I can freely grant myself solace instead of self-doubt and lack of confidence in my continued ability to move forward, feeling positive and optimistic about my next move.
Naturally, I hope I can be in sync with the actual outcome of the decisions I make and find the results to be on the same level, the same page, with the unknown entity that is charged with keeping the world properly on its axis and under some modicum of what we variably define as control.
One thought on “Who Has The Control Over Control?”
Aloha, Amy — I like this one a lot, as this is something I learned early in my newspaper career. I realized that every day I went to work, I was not in control of what my work day would look like. I grew to the point where I actually enjoyed it, and that attitude helped me a lot in my next career, ministry. What I learned in ministry is to use “preferences” to guide me . . . I learned that it’s fine to have preferences to map out a life’s path — and I also learned not to be wedded to them, that the Universe often provides something a lot better than my preferences. It’s what enabled us to retire here on Maui . . . our preference at the time was to retire in Florida, at The Villages. But when we came to visit friends in April of 2016, amazing things fell into our lap: a beautiful, affordable place to live that accepted dogs, a great fun, high-paying job for Nancy, and an increased work load for my editing job, which meant more $$ coming in. All of it meant we could afford to return to a place we love, where we still have friends and can live a life way better than that of Florida. And . . . Florida will still be there, if things change for us. So I definitely agree with you that our ideas about having control are illusory . . . and that it’s perfectly all right to express preferences — and even act on them when things seem to pan out easily to do so. However, we’ve found that when big road blocks get in the way of acting on our preferences, it’s time to take a closer look — maybe the Universe, or God, or Spirit, has something better in store for us. Thanks for sending this . . . talk to you later today.