Wednesday, August 17, 2011

letting go of the idea that i ever had control in the first place.

the other day when i was running,
i started thinking about what was driving me onward.
'am i running towards, or away from something?...
i guess i'll know when i get there.'

this thought launched me into a philosophical dialogue,
with myself.
weird i know, but it's actually quite common in my world.
i started thinking about how much i like the idea of perceived control.
i like to believe that i am in control of most everything,
when in reality,
i spend most of my life feeling like i have no
control over anything.
(which just further drives my need for control).

i like to feel in control of:
what i feel,
what i eat,
what i do after work,
what i wear,
where my future is going,
what i show to people,
what i'm in charge of,
who i talk to,
who i love,
when i exercise,
what art i make,
what i look like in pictures,
and ultimately
the idea that:
i'm doing what i'm supposed to be doing,
when i'm supposed to be doing it.

i've recently realized,
that the only thing that i'm really in control of,
is the acceptance that i'm not in control of anything.
(and there can be such freedom here).

one of my favorite authors talks about this idea of responding vs reacting.
that we are able to choose if we want to respond (calmly & with intention),
or react (i envision this as chaotic, immediate & flailing in nature).

if ultimate control is not an option,
then i would like to choose responding -not reacting.

last weekend i jumped out of a plane.
the only thing i controlled was that i chose to do it.
the choice for me to give up control in this situation seemed
more natural than anything i have ever done in my life.
my tandem (who i met about 10 minutes before the jump):
put my harness on me like i was a rag doll,
strapped and tightened everything down,
showed me where to go,
sat me on the plane,
showed me his magic watch that told us important things,
and asked me if i'd like to control the chute.
-um, no-
i asked him how many times he had done this and he said,
"oh, well over 15,000."
i'm gonna go ahead and leave the parachute opening to the guy that
has done this 15,000 more times than me.
in that moment, all i was responsible for was trying to keep
my feet together as best i could.

they opened the plane door,
he told me to pick up my feet,
he attached me to him with one strap around my waist,
and 2 carabiners,
one on each shoulder.
WHAT- 2 carabiners.
this is all that was keeping me attached to the guy that had the
parachute on his back,
and ensuring that i didn't plummet to my death.

he put his legs on either side of me,
picked me up,
scooted me to the end of the bench,
and in one fluid motion said,
"feet together, head back."
as he hurled me out of a plane at 13,000 feet.

i was holding onto my shoulder straps,
the width of a jansport backpack
(the same ones only attached to him via 2 carabiners),
and trying with all my might to keep my feet together.

i have never felt more liberated.

and peaceful,
and flying.
falling through the clouds,
and feeling suspended in the the big, blue sky.

never have i felt so safe and free in my life,
nothing was up to me.
by far, my greatest experience yet.

i should give up control more often.

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