Sunday, September 12, 2010

Control Freak? NOT!

photo © Genarosilva |

What can you control? This is a question that’s been plaguing me lately. Or, if not really plaguing, at least mystifying.
Iyengar yoga is for “Type A” people, I’ve been told. But I am definitely not a “Type A” individual. Still, I love Iyengar, because this yoga practice requires me to put some discipline into my life. I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of woman. It’s sometimes both a challenge and a relief to have to fold blankets in a particular manner and pay attention to what my left little toe is doing (as we do at Iyengar class) because most of the time my head is drifting up in the clouds. So really Iyengar yoga isn’t just for those who match personality-wise—it’s also for people who don’t fit, because we may actually get more out of it.
On to motherhood, my other favorite topic. Of course we need discipline in our lives, as do our children. Schedules, routines, rules, all of these things have their place.  But some of my happiest mommy moments are from days when I let all the rules fly. TV at dinner? Go for it!  Halloween candy for breakfast? Eat your heart out! Of course if I did these things every day someone would have to call in the social workers. But once in a while moms have to go with the flow. If we don’t we will surely send both ourselves and our children into years of therapy. As one wise auntie once advised on this topic, “Don’t try to control too much. You may make it worse.”
            Here’s the question: how much control is good and now much letting go do we need? My best childhood friend and I used to have a saying: “Too much of a good thing is bad, but too much of a bad thing is worse.”  I think that’s the case with control (not that it’s a bad thing). But when you try to orchestrate every bit of life you lose the magic. Better to err on the side of free-flow, is my opinion.
            I for one like waking up in the morning and not knowing where my day is headed. Yes, I “set an intention” in yogic terms, and I try to envision all the best things coming my way. But I also leave the door open to surprise, serendipity, and chance. That way, I’m not shocked because I have to drop everything when my college sophomore calls with a 103 temp and wants to come home for some R&R. Nor am I distressed when I realize that I have lots of work to do, but this just may be the last late summer day to catch some rays (and Vitamin D) at the beach.

            Flow with the river? Or fight against it? I prefer to know that there’s a thing called “possibility” in every day. Without it, life is just one neatly folded blanket too many. With possibility, that blanket can be a tent, a warm covering, something to drape over a mirror when you don’t feel like looking in it, a place behind which to change into a bathing suit, an ad hoc throw for an antique chair, a baby’s lovey…etcetera.
Why limit a blanket? Why limit your self?  Just let go!

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