Letting Go – Why is it so hard?
Have you ever done this? You arrive home, enter the kitchen weighed down with the shopping only to see the cat has pushed his food out of the bowl onto the floor and has no intentions of putting it back. Without pausing to put down the shopping bags, you grab the wettex and start juggling the cats bowl, your bag and wiping the floor with the shopping still on your shoulder requiring an Olympic gymnast level of mastery in balance and weight lifting?
Then whilst you are wiping away at the pet food stains you look over and see the other cat’s bowl is empty so decide it’s a very good idea whilst you still have the shopping bags attached to your shoulder, even though they are cutting into your skin, to pick up the 2 kilo bag of cat biscuits and pour some of them into kitty’s bowl??? By this stage you are a hot mess huffing, putting and sweating giant beads of sweat.
Then if you are lucky, like I was the other day you pull yourself up and ask yourself ‘are you mad’? What the hell are you doing??
I’m writing this from the place of someone that has had a life-time battle with doing things quickly, maxing out every moment of every day and holding things together with the most exhausting tool available to us human beings on this planet, white-knuckle control.
Although I am in ‘control rehab’ and have learned to let go, trust and use all sorts of other delicious parts of my brain, than just the logical left part of it to get things done with more ease and grace, sometimes that old neural pathway just kicks back in and there I am back again wiping up the cat’s food with the shopping attached to my back.
Here’s what I have learned your life looks and feels like when control is running the show:
- You micro-manage every detail of your life and others.
- You fill up every moment with something to do.
- You’re outcome-driven – so you need to know where you are going to end up before you start or you don’t want to start
- You’re tired and exhausted trying to make sure everything is perfect.
- You thinking through every plan and what could go wrong days, weeks and months in advance of the actual event and come up with plan b,c,d & e.
- You need proof that something will work before taking the leap.
- You feel anxious and in fear because of the stress that it’s all on your shoulders.
Here’s what I have figured out why letting go feels so dangerous and scary to a control freak.
- Everything will fall apart if YOU aren’t looking after things
- It feels like riding a bike without your hands on the handlebar
- There is no plan and no railings to hold onto
- It feels like you are doing nothing
- The sand is shifting underneath your feet and you don’t like it
- You have come to trust control kinda like the person who buys a Volvo. It’s safe, gets the job done and will protect you and your loved ones.
As a creative and someone who ‘burnt the ships’ when I left my life in Sydney and moved to Italy with a ‘dreams-will-not-be-refunded policy’, I’ve learnt that there is another kind of magic available to us when we have the courage to follow our hearts and trust that what we are doing is the right thing instead of micro-managing it.
Learning to let go of the outcome, to follow the process whether it may be a creative process or trusting that a photography shoot will be ok even though the weather is looking challenging, letting others sometimes have their power and help you, is a process in itself. But that’s where the magic is.
I have learnt, that’s where the ideas come that I couldn’t force out on a deadline when I wanted them to, that is where serendipity leads me down a road I would never have gone down, that’s where someone else gets to shine and be heard and where the universe gets a hand in on the creative process. I have learned that letting go is the first step to getting a little bit more glorious you if you will just loosen the reins on this beautiful ride called LIFE.
So my lovely friend, if this little musing on letting go struck a chord with you, creativity is one of the most beautiful places to start whether it be singing, taking photos, painting, dancing or dangling your feet in the pool and creating water art.
Letting go rocks…