As a recovering type A personality, I wish control worked. And it does, sometimes. But there’s always at least one area of life that cannot be tamed. You’re happily married but have health issues. Or you’re financially stable but struggling with fertility. You have fulfilling work but no life partner. Nothing ever goes our way entirely, and that can become a great doorway for transformation.
The heart of transformation involves facing change. Here, change makes us feel vulnerable because it means engaging new unknowns. We’ve been taught to rely on control to deal with uncertainty. The challenge is that control boxes us into viewing reality as good versus bad. So if a change arrives that fits into our perception about what life should look like, we’re happy. But what happens if a change arrives that doesn’t fit into our box? Either we can’t recognize it or we push it away (hello, denial). And what if life throws us a curveball? Then the box crumbles and we’re left feeling overwhelmed.
For me, there’s a place between maintaining control and feeling like a victim. A place that includes being open to what life brings and adjusting to it while remembering my inner authority. By releasing an either/or perception of reality, it’s possible to create an AND way of life. Here, I can learn how to be with something, even if it’s uncomfortable, and get to know it. I may not be able to control everything, but through growing conscious relationships with feelings, people, and circumstances–including the unknown itself–I can learn to navigate life.
Moving beyond control to cultivate an AND relationship with life takes practice. While every relationship is unique, during 15 years as a healing practitioner I began to notice people gravitating towards eight core teachers: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. By growing a relationship with these teachers, we can learn to navigate the unknown within ourselves and throughout daily life.
Meet the 8 teachers
- Fear: Instead of pushing fear away, explore fear as a cast of characters (comical, grumpy, mean, ornery) so you can stop reacting and start responding. Which fears regularly appear in your life?
- Awareness: The art of noticing awareness can change everything yet it takes time to grow. What colors, sounds or interactions tend to draw your attention?
- Choice: A conscious choice is a leap of faith, a direct experience and a practice all in one. What choices have you made today?
- Body: Begin a conversation with your body that relies on listening instead of lecturing. What is your body trying to tell you?
- Intuition: Intuition is an internal compass that helps you sort through static to make better decisions amidst daily unknowns. How do you connect with your intuition?
- Energy: By definition, following energy means staying behind something. What beliefs, fears and experiences taunt you to jump ahead?
- Intention: An intention is an opportunity to learn how to love yourself fiercely as you grow self-worth. What aspect of yourself needs some fierce love?
- Surrender: Practicing surrender means accepting change so you can cultivate life in a different way. How can you begin to let go?
As we loosen our grip of control, we can make friends with the unknown as a path of change and transformation. What we release and develop inside and out as we transform becomes the foundation for our next new beginning. Along the way, we cultivate wholeness so we can sustain ourselves through whatever life throws our way.
Photo by Jane Rahman