Control and Letting go

A decent percentage of my writing—honestly an extremely large chunk if I look at the early start of this blog—has been more a form therapy than anything else. I am going ~through (what I seem to feel is) a pretty intense period of life right now. I say what “I seem to feel is” because I do not pretend to be the arbiter of intensity. My experience of intensity may be different than yours. And you may look at my life—which certainly on the outside looks to be in the top X% based on many Western measures of wealth and health—and laugh with “what is this person complaining about?”: LOOK AROUND! BE GRATEFUL!

If only…

Well I am grateful my inner monologue states loudly. I know that I am lucky. I know that I was born into the top 1% of living standards world wide. That my body is healthy. That my family is safe. That I have people around me who care about me. And that I am not _really_ alone.

But it still feels intense. So intense…really…in a way that I had never experienced before this year.

It feels as if my highs got higher and my lows got lower. Like the volatility in my life—more specifically the way I experience life—got a lot LARGER.

So why can’t I just be grateful? Why so negative?

IF ONLY, I say…

A lot of my recent writing, even this essay, reeks of insecurity. It lacks confidence and structure. It lacks conviction. It lacks opinion. It lacks ME.

And thus, I experience this unique sense of intensity. An intensity that _feels_ like the world is controlling me. And perhaps it is? But it feels so FRAGILE? Like the wind blowing, I am falling. I am moving up and down without the ability to control my emotions and thoughts and actions.

We know this is not true.

The world is not stimulus. I know this! I know that I have the power. I know that I have the CHOICE of how to respond to situations around me.

And yet…

I succumb.

I succumb to the emotional URGE to respond. To react. To let the world know how I feel. And to let it out of my system through an outlet.

It feels unintentional. It feels extremely painful. It feels sad.

I never used to cry. When I say never, I really mean that throughout college and probably the 3-4 years following—I cried maybe 2-3 times total.

And then this year happened and something changed. The volatility changed. The control changed. The power shifted. I broke. The noises got too loud. The feelings too intense. The sentences shorter but the impact stronger.

Is this what life is like for everyone I would often ask myself…

Because this is not what I am used to. This is like someone else has the remote. Like I want to be happy, and yet I return to sadness.

In the past, when I wanted to be happy, I would just tell myself: “be happy!” Now, it does not feel so straightforward. There is a missing variable in the algorithm.

Maybe I can distract myself for a small period of time—but the lion is guarding the door. I cannot put the monkey mind back in the cage. He has brought friends perhaps and is outside. Running around. Scrambling my thoughts as I try to live in the moment.

What do I do with this? Do I just lie down and allow life to trample me? Is that buddhism? Is that Zen? Is this how everyone experiences life? With this amount of intensity and volatility and spirit?

My intuition states no.

There must be a better path.

I think the world is a mirror in a lot of ways. In that you find yourself in all these places in the external world but in reality they are coming from you and deep down you know that all along.

So if you are looking for happiness, you will find happiness in situations. But if you are looking for sadness, well, you can find that too.

We could be looking at the same picture but the emotions it gives off to you could be totally different depending on what YOU are bringing to the table. Funny how that works.

So I return to the prompt of sorts—will you let the world impact you? On one hand, I tell myself that trying to control everything and fix everything is an unhealthy defense mechanism likely protecting some trauma or sets of trauma from my youth. On the other hand, I tell myself that controlling is a powerful tool to get outcomes that I want. And suppressing control, or even perceived control, is bad for me.

Perhaps…perhaps there is a middle ground. A peaceful ground. A place where you allow the world to impact you BUT you control your responses.

Right? That sounds simple enough. You control yourself but not necessarily control all the pieces of the world around you.

I like the sound of that. I have always liked the sound of that. So why do I struggle to implement it?

Why do I get lured in by the EMOTIONS of attachment and longing? Why do I care?

Yes, I am human. These are natural, sure. I am not being hard on myself. And I should/do need to allow myself to FEEL those emotions. Not just in the cognitive sense but in the really FEELING FEELING sense. But even so, that can be a personal pursuit. Feeling an emotion does not necessarily involve lashing out at the world or wearing your heart on your sleeve. You can know pain and suffering and sadness and happiness without telling anyone about them.

So you can feel those emotions—let them impact you to your core—and still…and this is the magic…and still not react in the moment to others or the world around you.

That is peace.


Now that has a bit of a ring to it. Controlling yourself—stopping yourself from always reacting—by ACCEPTING THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTROL OTHERS.

I get excited by this breakthrough, and I have made it before, but then I struggle to apply it earnestly.

Will think on that.






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