Are you feeling out of control? With finances? Health? Relationships? Life? Do you double-down with control when you feel this way? Are you getting overwhelmed and burning out? Does it feel like everything is falling apart in your life or in the world? If you are feeling this, you are definitely not alone.
As I observe the world today and the many events that are shaping our collective experience, I can't help noticing an "over the top," increasing attempt to control everything in order to feel safe, and secure in a world of increasing uncertainty. From the Covid-19 pandemic, to the war in the Ukraine, to fears of financial collapse, to climate change and polarized politics, individuals, leaders, groups, and institutions alike are feeling like they are losing control. It is showing up in feelings of loss, fear, anger, anxiety, depression, overwhelm and burnout. This viral fear of losing control is a pandemic that is out of control!
One reaction to the fear of losing control has been to tighten the grip and forcefully try to exert even more control over ourselves or others. This higher level of control costs even more energy, time, money and resources. People run faster and faster on the 'hamster wheel," just trying to keep ahead of the rising tide. Some 'batton down the hatches,' escaping physically or emotionally to keep the perceived danger out. Others escape into drugs or other addictions to avoid the feelings, while still others become paralyzed with deep grief because they feel a loss of freedom and the 'old way of life'. These reactive behaviors, rather than releasing the fear, eventually spiral into even more fear, anger, denial, depression, violence and even disease and death.
Within this pandemic of fear, there are also those in the 'business of control' that are reaping huge power and profit feeding the fear all the way to the bank! At a societal level, we are seeing control play out with an ever-increasing surveillance state, the loss of control over personal privacy, the rise of authoritarianism, militarization, technocracy, censorship, propaganda to control the message, and the suppression of free speech and assembly. Many have welcomed the increased control because they think it makes them safe, at least short term. Others feel the grip of control coming down upon them and fear the consequences of an increasing shift in power and authority to the state, large corporations, the elites and ultra rich. The whole world is playing out a complex drama of perpetrators/victims, powerful/powerless and heroes to save the day.
What is your relationship to control?
"Control" is not inherently a negative/bad or positive/good quality. It is part of our human nature and is a quality that has helped us to not only survive, but thrive as a species. Control is involved in deep human suffering as well as glorious conscious awakenings. Control is not the problem. The issue, as well as the opportunity, is in our relationship to control and how we engage with and use this energy.
Control can be a high vibration, empowering energy when owned and in balance. We are exercising an aspect of control when we learn to take charge of our lives by setting goals, focusing and taking positive action to fulfill them. We are taking control of our lives when we choose to do 'inner work' such as changing subconscious limiting beliefs, releasing fear, forgiving ourselves or heal trauma through shadow integration work. We can learn and use tools from many sources to take control over our business, health, relationships, money, sexuality or spiritual path. Control is empowering when we 'own' the full spectrum of this energy — when love, trust, purpose and response-ability, rather than fear and reaction, is driving our choices to control.
Control Dramas and Shadows
All of us have been psychologically affected by various 'control dramas' early in life. For example, if you had a controlling parent, in order to feel loved or to survive these conditions, you may have unconsciously decided to submit, or play the victim. To feel in control of your own life was not safe or not possible. Alternatively, in an environment with no boundaries or sense of safety, you may have needed to develop controlling behaviors in order to survive. To appear weak or vulnerable was 'bad' and being in control was 'good' for you. Whatever the control drama was, it somehow shaped your perspective and use of this important life energy in healthy or unhealthy ways.
If you have any of the symptoms of this control drama or dis-ease, either playing out the perpetrator or victim of controlling behaviors, then at some level, you are engaged in a 'shadow war.' In wars with shadows, as long as you fight or try to control circumstances outside you, without dealing with the inner source of your upset, you can't win. The outer war is a losing battle; a chronic dis-ease. The outer experiences are symptoms or projections, not the source of the dis-ease. The only cure is to go within and heal it at its source... the control dramas within you. That does not mean you don't take action in the outer world, but your greatest impact will be to first heal yourself.
"If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." - Mark 3:25
Would you like to learn how to dance with Life?
By going within, you have the power to completely transform the experience and end the war or fight for control. Instead of feeding the perceived ego-based war with fear and fighting for your survival, it is possible to create a whole new dance with Life. You can learn to follow Life's lead as it dances you to feelings of peace, wholeness, freedom and joy, no matter what is happening in the outer world. In following the lead of your higher guidance you will also be led to the most appropriate actions to positively impact the outer world too.
Learning to dance the dance of Life takes commitment and practice. You will need to identify and unlearn the old ego-based, habitual, controlling dance steps that have become a habit. You will need to learn new, somewhat unfamiliar steps. You will need to develop a strong, trustful relationship with your 'Higher Self' and letting that Self take the lead. Surrendering the lead to your Higher Self is the most difficult part of the dance, because it means relinquishing ego control. Manipulation and control is the ego's nature.
There is peace in understanding, surrender and presence
Life happens, and is constant change. Your life and the changes that are happening will never be within the control of your ego. From the moment you are born, you began heading towards death. Everything in this material reality will eventually die. You have no control over this. If you cannot let go and let life, then you will be too busy trying to control it and what it "does to you," rather than being fully present in the wondrous, magical experience of life and what it does "for you and with you". If you have control issues, resolving this shadow through forgiveness and surrender is a necessary process to finding true and lasting freedom and success. In doing this work, you will answer Einsteins' question and discover that the universe is a friendly place!
"I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.
"For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
"If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
"But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives."
"God does not play dice with the universe,"
Understanding your universe and doing the work
How do you know if you are fighting shadows rather living your best life? Following are some ideas to explore and understand yourself better. As you explore your symptoms of shadow, reflect on the following questions:
Some symptoms that control shadows may be causing havoc in your life:
If any of these apply to you (and these are just a few examples), and you want to find freedom from these behaviors and emotions, then consider doing shadow integration work. Your future will look like your past if you don't integrate your shadows. Every moment your life is slipping away, so the sooner you let go of all distractions and step into your best dance with life, the happier you will be. You don't need to suffer a moment longer. Peace is within you.
Richard Schultz assists leaders in unlocking their true potential, authentic power and inner wisdom to create extraordinary, high impact lives. Courses, life mentoring and dialogue with Richard can help you live your legacy and build capacity to thrive with change!