Sunday, June 9, 2013

Damage Control

The need to control life
Is a natural human response
As we want to protect our Self and our loved ones
From people, choices & events
That may bring harm our way
Or threaten our survival
But out of balance
Our need for control
Can keep life at bay
Squeeze the joy out
Shutting off the abundance of experiences
That holds no guarantee of safety
But makes this brief yet grand life worth living.

From my earliest memories, I can recall anticipating intuitively, tracking what was going on with others in order to protect myself from harm.  Like a mental chess match, I would silently strategize what to do or say to create an effective move to outwit, to try to control the negative responses of others.  I view this now as a child in creative survival as I could shut down my feelings and do what I had to in order to guard against life’s rough edges and the pain they cause.    

My intuition continues to companion me, but many of the skills I used in an attempt to control life and others in childhood would need to be reassessed and dismantled as I came to see that they kept life at bay, squeezed the joy out and shut off the abundance of experiences that hold no guarantee for safety but makes this brief yet grand life worth living.  Repressing feelings and manipulating through playing the pleasing roles as a means of protection led to Self destructive behaviors like binge drinking and eating as I imploded from the inside out carrying around a fortress made possible by the extra weight.  This is the damage control – harming our Self through trying to manage the unmanageable, to try to fix the unfixable, to control the responses of others and the experiences we encounter.

A brilliant and beautiful woman I worked with who was heartbroken after her husband screwed around on her with a series of women while she was pregnant with their third child shut herself off from the idea of dating or coupling again.  When she did start dating, she picked men who she felt were safe, who she didn’t have romantic feelings for but they adored her so she believed she could count on them not to hurt her because she felt she had the upper hand, the power of control; but these relationships were dull as there was no connection possible because she was unplugged.  Realizing the damage her need to control was causing her, she made conscious choices to acknowledge the fear, let go, throw caution to the wind in order to let more life in.  The cost of her need to control had become too great as it was stopping the flow of life deadening her senses, holding her hostage to the events of the past and stripping away the spice of life that comes from showing up for life – all of it – risking and leaning into the discomfort and fear.

We have all had hard knocks in life that, of course, we never want to experience again.  There are things we can control and things we simply cannot.  Discerning what we let go of becomes easier when we feel the damage we are doing to our Self in the clogging of our vitality and passion that can only come from living a full life that absolutely has no promise of safe passage.  The only thing we do know for sure is one day it will end.

The invitation this day is to assess the Damage control is causing you.  We often look to the past blaming others as we stay stuck in our stories of betrayal that explain why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do without seeing that we are betraying our Self now by allowing the past to dictate our present.  People have done and do shitty things.  People have harmed us and will harm us.  Unexpected events have come along and will come along and kick our asses.  But our responses, our choices can free us to live a wonderful life in spite of the pain and heartbreak.

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