Monday Mantra 6.1.15

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I had a chat with Isabel Foxen Duke today about control. And the fact that it doesn’t exist.

Oh, but have I spent a lot of time trying to wrangle it.

One of the things I’ve been exploring and coming to terms with in the past few months is the fact that while we are actively trying to control and manipulate our bodies through food or a diet, we are spinning in circles. Or, in my case, digging myself into a hole that felt impossible to haul myself out of.

The thing is that I know better. I know that the more desperately you try to hang on to something, the more fragile the grasp. But control is seductive. The idea that maybe this time you’ll do “it’ just right to avoid disappointment or confrontation or fear or pain is, in a way, comforting. And for me, food was something that could be controlled.

To a point, at least. And then, inevitably – and maybe before you even realize it – the tables have turned. Suddenly you realize that food (or alcohol or sex or gambling or whatever your medicator is) controls you. And it often takes some help to get disentangled.

Isabel, for example, is the brilliance behind the “Stop Fighting Food” movement. She reminded me that until I stopped trying to control food – or anything else – it was going to control me.

Illusion = busted.

Opening Danielle LaPorte’s Truthbomb this morning gave me pause, and then made me smile. And kind of smirk and roll my eyes at myself. Because surrender is not about being passive (or aggressive, for that matter). When we sit back and allow things to happen to us in the hopes that we’ll magically feel better, we get bummed out. Fast. Why doesn’t letting go and letting the universe make us okay? Because it’s ridiculously scary, that’s why.

The funny thing is that true surrender can assuage that – but only if we’re open to it. Only if we detach the need to know the outcome. Detaching control is what makes the magic happen.

I know, right? Easier said than done times, like, infinity. If we don’t need to control…then what? For some of us, it’s all we’ve known for as long as we can remember. It’s like this vast, murky gray area that doesn’t fit into a perfect category or soothe an aching need.

So there begs the question – what is the worst that could happen? Really and truly? If we surrender and open, is it possible that we can find some peace in the gray? I got tired of being scared. I was exhausted from trying to exercise “willpower.” I wasn’t about to sit back and let shame swallow me whole. And so I surrendered. It’s not a one-time thing, by the way. It requires a conscious choice every day – sometimes from moment to moment – to trust. But in that moment surrender is so much better than being owned by fear.

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