I had a bit of an emotional revelation last night.
This is different than an intellectual revelation, which is a consciousness to a solution. I’m pretty good at that stuff about solving problems. Whether I’m trying to figure out a new business development strategy at work or delve into my own psyche, I usually come up with the “answer.” I can’t often implement it, however. This is where support groups and therapy and intimate friendships are helpful.
At the AimingLow NonCon I got into of my mini-funks. Not at the conference or with attendees, but in the hotel room with my girlfriend. I’m a big believer in blog boundaries. I’m also an obvious appreciator of alliteration. While the content of the funk isn’t relevant (or juicy) I was disappointed in something I thought she should be doing differently. Guys, if you’re like me, you like to point out when your woman could be doing something different or better. Women, if you’re like my girlfriend, you won’t stand for a man telling you what to do when you haven’t asked for his opinion.
She was angry and hurt at my “do this differently!” speech. Of course, my intentions were good, and she’s been around me long enough to know this is just sometimes how I do. So she didn’t freak out. But she let me know that I was crossing a boundary. As we were making up, I began to hold her.
And all of a sudden it occurred to me – this thing I’m trying to change in her will NEVER change.
Not because she’s stubborn. Because it’s a benign thing that means nothing and hurts nobody. Like if I bit my toenails (I had a friend that did this) and you demanded I stop. I’d say, “Hey, when I’m at home and Matlock Season Four is on, you know the GOOD season, I’ll sit with a Fresca in front of the tube and gnaw on these bastards until I’ve left a nice chew-pile on the carpet. Then I’ll place them in the empty can and walk around the house shaking it as a diy maraca. Eight weeks later I’ll be repeating this Moebius.”
As far as bad habits go, you’d really have to just say, “Well, as long as he doesn’t leave toe cheese on the shag, I can deal.”
There’s an old Zen Warrior saying which goes something like, “It is your resistance to what is that causes your suffering.”
As a twelve-stepper I know this to be true for me. The third step is all about turning over “what is” to a higher power. Well, the higher power can be anything EXCEPT you.
“What is” is that my girlfriend does something that annoys me. I get annoyed. I hold onto that annoyance because she’s not changing. She’s not unhappy with the behavior and she is not going to change.
So, while I was laying there with her realizing this ain’t changin’ – I had an insight. If I just let go of trying to control “what is” this might release the anger I have toward her behavior. And just like that, poof, it was gone.
Now, if the issue we had was that she liked to shave off my eyebrows while I slept, that would not be accepted. Or if her hobby was stealing my ATM card and hitchhiking to Cabo. Or if she was cooking up ketamine in my bathtub. We’re talking about reasonable things, not insanity.
As I realized this thing wasn’t going to change in the way I wanted, the frustration all went away. I was suddenly okay with her behavior. And not only did the anger dissolve, but a huge weight was lifted. I was free. I felt empty but happy. I didn’t have to give a shit about this stupid thing that means nothing. All because it’s not going to change!
My illusion of control is the main cause of my suffering. Also, not being able to only eat one donut.
I’m going to work on this surrender thing a little more. First up – I’m choosing to surrender to the sun’s inability to turn my skin anything other than a Harvard crimson. Damn pigment genetic fail!
So I don’t feel so alone, if you’ve found power in surrender, I’d like to hear about it. Defeatists speak!