Almost seven years ago my first therapist, Paul said to me, ‘control is an illusion.’ I was really pissed off with him for saying it because I had built my whole sense of self around the idea that I could control everything… but I wasn’t quite ready to tell a therapist that I was angry so it sat with me for years. He never elaborated and so my understanding on the topic stagnated.
Over the years my understanding of the illusionary nature of control has deepened. We can have power and we can feel in control but we can not have full control over everything. I think I understand on a cognitive level that I can not control most of the things I wish I could control.
Take my next session as an example… I decided last night that I did in fact want to accept the 90 mins that Anna had offered. She replied today confirming the time was still available. From then I have had massive anxiety symptoms in my body and racing thoughts of how I can make it the perfect session. My stomach is behaving as if I have food poisoning – proper threat brain response. And all the questions… how can I make the most of this 90 minutes with her? …. what if I waste our precious time? … what if I get too deep into something then have to hold it for over a week til next time? … what if I go somewhere new and I push her past her invisible limit and she wants to stop working with me because of it? … what if I lose myself? What if!??? What if!???
But then I was reminded of the beauty of letting go. Let go of any expectations. Let go of the control and let spontaneity happen. Let authenticity happen. Let real, raw, unplanned connection and vulnerability happen.
I want to plan what I will talk about on Saturday. I want to plan how I will be with her. But I can’t. It’s not coming.
So maybe I need, instead, to let go. Trust the process and see where it takes me.