Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CONTROL FREAK

Quote from Jason Isbell's Song 24 Frames.  He slays with the music.  Click for the video.



I am a person who likes to know all the things
and when in doubt....be in charge of all the things.
Especially when I'm not sure what is going on
or that the person who has been designated as in charge
has any idea what is going on.

My tendency to be LARGE AND IN CHARGE
has been pointed out to me by many people and organizations.
Usually it is said in a way that seems somehow....complimentary.
I've earned accolades and certifications, 
advanced to the next rung on the ladder and 
been nominated for such and such.
In the past few years though,
I'm starting to think that maybe 
just maybe...
these compliments
were of the backhanded variety.....

I mean...these things sound like their intent is to be positive and affirming:
Wow, you are a bulldog!  I love having you on my team.
Successful people are all at least a little type-A.
You're a planner!
I love how you wrangle people...they're a mess until you show up.
I never have to ask you if you need help...you've always got it covered.
You're my first stop when I need direction.
I'm making a major life decision, tell me what to do.



Don't they?

New art underway.  Not for sale.  Ever.  Probably.


The first time my therapist suggested that I might
just might
 have a theme of control
winding through my life,
I did the most logical thing.
I paused
for a teeny breath of time,
nodded emphatically (so she'd know I heard her)
 and said
ABSOLUTELY.
Then I picked right back up talking
about the thing that I really wanted
 to focus on
which was some manner of
FIXING ALL THE THINGS.

I did this 
or something very close to this
at least 6 more times.
She would bring up this theme of control
(lack of it, need for it, belief that I could have it)
I would deflect.
I would make noises of acceptance
without actually hearing her out,
without actually letting her words 
sink into my brain and heart.
I pretended to hear her wisdom
so that she would let me remain in my preferred habitat.
The one that I created for myself
that does not actually resemble real life.
It's a safe little place.
A little prison bunk.
Where I am either
In control or at the very least
safe (controlled).



For over a year, she gently nudged
and redirected me towards this topic.
Eventually I thought....why does she keep doing that?
Kind of like your friend who brings up that failed relationship
from THIRD grade
or your brother who wants to discuss the ears 
you ate off his Easter bunny in 1989.
I mean...we talked about this
so could you just move on already?




It finally occurred to me that maybe 
just maybe
there was something here that needed examination.
In spite of my assertions that there is nothing to see here....
maybe she sees something different.

Since she's someone I trust 
to lead me towards things that are good for me
and away from things that might not be
I decided to sit down with this little nugget
and see if that's a strategy or a story that rings true
when I look at the way my life is structured.

As I examine my approach to life
I realize that 
I have been circumventing
twisting away
rationalizing
and just generally dismissing
control as a theme
because I see so many people 
who have it as a double bold dark black sharpie line 
of control running through their lives.
I like to think mine is more like 
a skinny pen line
in a cute color.
I tell myself that 
I don't have issues with control because
I'm not like (insert crazier than me person here).
I also tell myself that the amount of focus I maintain
on keeping all the things going
is in fact...the exact amount of control
necessary to do this thing
called life.
(can you even hear this bull?  Does it feel familiar?)

The tricky nature of comparison is that
I can always find someone 
who is more (or less) of that thing
that doesn't serve
than I am.
I can use comparison to rationalize 
why I get to keep that thing 
that doesn't serve
and you should give it up.


It turns out that I can see the theme of control
running through my life like a 
well.... 
I was going to say river
but in actuality,
 it's more like an 
underground subway system.
Lots of levers and exits.
Clear ways to get from here to there.
Relatively safe and clean.



I just might enjoy the facade that I have the ability to change or influence my life more than I enjoy living my life without expectation or a schedule or a grand design.


It is possible that 
I feel more comfortable with being ALIVE
and the messiness that comes from being ALIVE
when I can pretend that life is not in fact messy at all
because I think I know all the things.


Recent message from God outside Artist and Craftsmen in Charleston SC.  I hear ya....


I am often terrified of how little control
I have over my life.
So to feel more powerful
I create
 lists
structure
calendars
 and rules.
I follow my own 
guidelines
script
or recipe
so that I get to the RIGHT place.



What's the right place?  

It's the place where I know the ending.


Is that place a garden of delight
or is that place a prison?
How will I know if I only ever wind up
in that same place?
If I've decided that the only place 
that is acceptable to be is San Quentin
then even an all expense paid trip to the Caribbean
is going to feel like failure.

No pressure right?
wow.
I think she's right.
This need to control things is a theme.
Acceptance is important
so I'll probably just try and sit
in this place over a period of time.




I don't like to feel powerless
or out of sorts.
I still want to know all the things.
It's a thing that I have to breathe through
on the mat, in the arena, in the now.

I can't skip ahead to the conclusion.
I can't know the conflicts or the arc of the story.
I can't even really know the cast.
They come and go...
I cannot determine much....
But I can 

BE HERE.

NOW.

That is in fact...all that I can do.

Spring is here.  Proof that God loves me.


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