The last few weeks of my life have been one lesson after another about control. God has been reminding me that He is in control; I am not. Some of the lessons are breathtakingly beautiful. Others are harder to accept. But they all lead to the same place. I can let go, and let God. Or I can resist the blessings He wants to bring in His way at His time.
"Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experiences. Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences." (Yoga Sutras 2:7-8)
How do I know I have a problem with control? Just check out my dishwasher. I started loading it in a very particular way years ago. I always start on the bottom. Each plate is loaded with one space in between the next. All the forks are together – small ones separated from the large. All the spoons are in another area – separated into small and large. The knives go in a third area. Then I move to the top of the machine. I place my tall glasses on the top left, and the shorter water glasses go to the right. Mugs are separated in the middle. Truly, my dishwasher is a thing of beauty.
When I have guests over, they don’t load the dishwasher my way. Most times, after they leave or look away, I will take things out and rearrange them into the special order I have designed. I claim that I like my way, because it’s a time saver. However, if I spend time rearranging dishes and silverware, clearly I am investing more time in getting it done my way. That’s control.
In daily life, you are constantly pulled between trying to get what you want and trying to avoid what you don’t want. Whether you are busy pulling something in or pushing it away, there is a relationship between you and the object or event that limits your freedom. (Living Your Yoga, p. 84)
For the last five years, I have been working my plan. On it, I mapped out how I would transform my life one step at a time. I started by leaving the New York City area and getting an apartment on my own (for only the second time ever in life). The next major steps were buying a house and completing my yoga teacher training. When the plan is complete, I will have my doctorate, a yoga studio, and successful business as an entrepreneur.
A few months ago, I decided that I would wait three years before pursuing some of my business interests. In looking at my bank account, I saw a need to eliminate some debt and increase my savings cushion. So, I started working the plan, paying off my credit cards and putting a little bit in a savings account each week.
Last month, I got thrown a curveball. I learned that I would have only a few more weeks in my position with a small, nonprofit organization. Due to budget issues, the organization for which I had been working needed to cut expenses, and my position was targeted for restructuring. I was forced into letting go of my plans, my schedule, and my agenda – all the things I try to control.
The sad thing about being caught up in attachment or aversion is that it interferes with the ability to experience things as they are. Even when these things are painful and difficult, there is an advantage to fully experiencing them as they occur. When you do, you are unburdened. You do not have to carry it with you in an unfinished state. This process of experiencing the difficulty now allows you to begin to heal. Learning to live in the moment, complete with your preferences and recognizing attachment and aversion, is like a soothing balm on a sunburn. (Living Your Yoga, pp. 87-86)
I’m upset that a job I thoroughly loved was taken away from me before I was ready to let it go. I don’t know what the next chapter of my life will bring professionally. But I also am quite encouraged. The possibilities that exist for me today are far greater than they were two years ago when I last was looking for a new job. Some of that I know is due to the improved economy, but I also know that I am going with the flow. When I let go of my need to control, I allow room for God to work. Anything He does is far greater than what I can achieve on my own.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.