Control. In control. Out of control. Control freak. Controlling.
These words bring up both positive and negative connotations for most people. You what to have an air of being in control of your life, to seem to ‘have it together’ and yet if we’re too controlling people want us to loosen up. Where’s the line?
Controlling our own reactions to external stimuli is important. Otherwise we would lose our minds every time someone made us angry. We’d live in a perpetual ‘road rage’ state of mind. Clearly not something to aspire to. Having control of oneself often means detaching from the thing that is bothering us and letting it go. To stop trying to control the situation and maintain self-control. How many times do we end up trying to control our family members or co-workers though? When we fell frustrated with the job for example, how much of that is related to trying to control the way others work? Aside from teaching yoga and doing thai yoga massage I manage a busy legal aid office. I get frustrated sometimes. Sometimes I tell myself I’m frustrated because the work we’re doing could be done so much more efficiently if only other staff would get on board with doing things another way: MY WAY! I mean, isn’t that why they hired me? To keep the office running efficiently and smoothly? But maybe that isn’t their idea of what my job is. Maybe I’m trying to bend people to my will. Maybe I need to loosen up.
When I started doing headstands way back when I tried and tried to control my body. I squeezed my abs so tight, I walked my feet in and pushed my forearms into the floor as hard as I could. I couldn’t get my feet up over my head though. And I got frustrated because of it. I would think ‘my core is strong, I should be able to do this!’ I let go of headstands for a while in my frustration. Then one day I was doing a class on www.yogatoday.com (a site I use often for my own practice when not teaching). Headstands came up. I had already told myself I couldn’t do them so I decided to just go through the motions. And all of a sudden, like magic, my feet were over my head! I’ve never not been able to do a headstand since. All of a sudden I stopped trying to over-control the movement and trusted the process. I engaged my core, I brought my shoulders away from my ears and pressed my forearms into the floor and there it was – a headstand. Now in headstands I twist and move into backbends and open my legs and cross my legs. There’s freedom in my headstand now. So I have control and from that control I experience freedom.
Back to my day job. The information about how I feel we could be more efficient is out there. I’ve shared my thoughts with staff (possibly a little too strongly) and now I need to let go. I need to allow people to digest information and come to their own conclusions. I can’t control the situation and in trying to I only frustrate myself. And when I’m frustrated any messages I try to put out are going to be met with push back. So I’ll let go of control and allow what is meant for this office to happen organically without force. If nothing else, that will allow me to feel less stress.