One of the traits of being a chronic over-achiever is desire for control.  As long as all the contingencies are in place, the world is manageable.  Managing the contingencies and all their permutations is not.

I learned this the hard way, as do we all, when everything I had was suddenly severed from me.  It was only then that I realized that I was trying to manage my feelings of powerlessness by controlling all external factors, no matter what or who they were.  In a nutshell, I was a classic control freak.

Funny how I used to laugh at people who I thought had control issues.  Never in a million years would I have described myself as one of them.  Did I have the bulging eyes and nervous tics of the OCD?  No.  Did I corset myself into inflexible routines?   No.  Did I lose my temper and scream at others if  they were hijacking my show?  No.  Was I hoarding newspapers or compulsively surfing the home shopping channels?  No.  Was I drugging or boozing myself into a stupor every evening?  No.  I didn’t recognize any of these extreme behaviors in myself, so I dismissed the idea.

And yet when I found myself without a home or a job, I realized how dependent I was upon them, not only as a source of income and refuge, but as a means of identity.  Was I really my home?  Was I nothing but a career jockey?  Yes, I had other interests and I flattered myself that they made me a rounded individual.  But when my anchors were suddenly pulled up, I knew I wasn’t the renaissance woman of my imagination.

It made me wonder what I truly valued.  Was I just a product of my environment, aping the behaviors of my family and in some cases, trying to insulate myself against the damage they had inadvertently wrought?  Or was I mindlessly following the dictates of greater society which tells me what I should and should not do?

I suppose I would have had an uninterrupted life full of approved activity and expectation had I not been soul-searching and earnestly practicing.  I may have gone to my grave and onto another lifetime none the wiser, just like everyone else around me.  But what started out as passing interest, has during the last twenty-five years become the fire that keeps me alive. 

What was I thinking, that search for truth is nothing but an intellectual exercise and life goes on without change?  I must have because none of the people around me, even those who professed a deeply spiritual bent, were inconvenienced with massive life changes.  They worked, raised families, drove luxury cars and lived very well.  It seemed as though they had the best of both worlds; why wouldn’t I be in awe?  So much so that I might try to emulate them?  Of course!

And so I did.  For years, I worked and lived in the world while praying and meditating for deliverance from it.  When those worldly anchors began to slip away, I felt betrayed.  Why couldn’t I have it all?  I wanted to yell at God for misleading me, for swindling me out of those sweet rewards that others possessed.  Wasn’t I doing everything right?  Wasn’t I trying to be compassionate?  Didn’t I chant, meditate, ruminate, contemplate and contort my body as prescribed?  Where was my piece of the action?  My enlightenment?

In other words, I wanted to control it all.  I wanted to make the decisions, judge what was worthy and dole out the perks.  But as I said before, the hard way taught me more than I realized:  I cannot serve two masters.  One of them has to go.

And so this control freak has to relinquish control.  It’s time to grieve its loss and let it go.  Maybe when I’ve been completely lightened of this baggage, I’ll finally see the light.



  1. Hi Kim, You are not alone.

    In reading your post I realized that the majority of peoplethat are in my circle are in transition, whether career, family, relationships, or monies. Some are transitioning in all categories.

    Dylan sang, ‘The times they are a changin’.’ I have said for several years the change we were in was as a tornado whirling through our lives very slow and with great force, uprooting the shallow, trimming what was anchored. We are all in a great state of flux, and I remember reading somewhere that ‘whatever state you are in, to therefore be content.’

    Be@Peace, Sister. For you are not alone! This too shall pass.

  2. This is a wonderful, honest, profound sharing.
    I’ve addressed control issues recently myself (in my obscure way)
    but you’ve given the reader many things to think over in their own lives/
    you have mine. thanx once again. G

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