Day 24 - When You Have Control but No Freedom
I can’t believe how fun the last twenty-two days have been. My life was good before I started this 93-day project, but it has been wonderful since.
I feel engaged and challenged and I have no idea what is ahead. The bandwidth of my experiences are so much broader and deeper because I’m letting myself go. You should see the pile of books I have on the kitchen table: finances, exercise, cooking, advertising. In my mind, they are all connected. They are all part of my 93-day challenge.
I’m not sure I could have maintained this challenge a year ago because the not knowing exactly what it was about, the not knowing exactly what my target was would have been a problem. It would have all felt too out of control for me.
The first time I had sex, well, sex where I wasn’t drunk, I did not like it. There were so many feelings, and I thought I would blow apart. I didn’t get it. Why would people do something that made them feel they would die? I worked hard at staying in control, keeping my spine straight, knowing where I was on the planet, keeping myself alive, and then thisbody inside body was supposed to be the pinnacle experience? This orgasmic sensation where you are both merging, blowing up, and disappearing?
For an adopted person, these were some of the things I feared most, all of these out-of-control feelings. I didn’t know yet losing my mother had caused my body and mind to fear situations where my fragile sense of self seemed threatened. All I knew was that this situation, this love-making business, made no sense to my body. Making out was so great, and then there was the dirty work of disappearing into the stars.
(As a side note, I had no intention of writing about sex here. This is another example where letting go of control can lead to all sorts of exciting paths. My darling daughter, if you are reading this, you can replace exciting with horrifying. Your mama is sorry, but obviously not sorry enough to close the computer.)
I do so well with a clear goal because I have a sense of control. The problem was, since I had no clear idea who I was when I was growing up (and when I was grown up), it was difficult to commit to goals because I was afraid they would define who I was. What if I had that person wrong? What if I goaled myself into the wrong life? Better to drift, accomplish little, stay murky. Better to pretend I didn’t have a tight-knuckled grasp on the wheel because clearly, to the rest of the people in my world, my life did not look under control. You might imagine how painful the murk is to a goal-oriented person. Trying to live and not live at the same time is like trying to chew steak while taking out your dentures.
Being in the flow is a glorious feeling. It’s different than feeling in control. Your self feels aligned with the world around you and you don’t have to think, Should I be doing this? You just do it and you feel vital and you get stuff done. You’re too busy creating to judge, and that is such freedom.
This past year, I have been in the flow walking, writing, thinking, talking to people, but with no sense of a goal, and so I was very uneasy. I felt like a bird flying in the dark. Surely I was going to smash into a wall sooner or later. I mean, what was the point of my life? To hang out? I’m a Sagittarius, the archer, and archers don’t hang out. They take aim and they go for the target. An archer without a bow, arrow and target is, well, nothing. And that’s how I feel without a goal.
The whole 93-day thing came to me as a way to create an artificial goal. Since the 93 days where I had the goal of writing a book were so glorious, I wanted to see if I could recreate that joie de vivrewithout something as tangible as a book at the end, so I picked having a healthy poop as a goal. I figured that goal was a wide umbrella as both mental and physical health and lifestyle were all part of that end product under which I could write about many topics. The trick was I created a goal without at the same time trying to get my life under control. I was aiming for bloom, for my life to open in ways I couldn’t yet imagine.
In the beginning I wasn’t sure I could carry off this…goal farce, this river jumping of a life, so I did what I did with Write or Die: I made my goal public: 93 Days to Metamorphize or Die. I had to say to myself, Who cares what other people think? Who cares if people say what you are doing is weird and maybe a waste of time? It’s your life: live it. I put blinders on and just went for it with all my energy and focus. This 93-day project is what I do. I write. I read. I interview people. I go out into the world and try to do one thing new every day as that was one way to be present in my body. I prepare my own meals since I committed to not eating processed food. I try to have adventures that make my body and mind feel good so I have something to write about that day.
It’s so weird. I live in one of the most expensive areas in the country and, without a normal job, I have a place to live and money for gas and food and for my daughter’s allowance.
It’s all so fun. This is my life.
In the past I would have anxioused myself out of fully enjoying this time, grasping for a sense of control. I would have stressed about the future, worried that this would not lead anywhere. I would have told myself life can’t be this easy. You are supposed to suffer to prove you are a good person. I would have felt like I was living life light—like, it’s just supposed to be harder. You can’t just glide along and follow your whims and see what happens next. You have to partly hate your life to prove you are working as hard as you are supposed to work. You have to know where you are going and what time it is. You have to have control over yourself and your actions. You have to have control over your relationships. Your backyard.
I mean, what happens if you go water on yourself and you just flow. Yikes! You might lose control!
Our bodies are about 50 - 65% water. We think of ourselves as solid, tough even. We do plank pose in yoga. We often work out so we can have a hard body. We want to prove that we are strong, in control of this body, this life.
We are so funny.
We are born from fluid. We are meant to move and change and metamorphize, but we keep shoving ourselves in boxes. We put our feet in boxes so our body can’t relate to the earth. We put our bodies in cars so we don’t have to walk. When we die, we often go into another kind of box.
What happens out of the box? Isn’t that where the stars exist?
What would happen if you opened your hands and let go of the reins and gave over control to something larger than yourself? What if you want AA on your life? What would fall away? What would stay? What would spin out of control? And what does out of control mean? What does in control mean? Can you draw both? How do they make you feel?
We have choices.
See you tomorrow.