One of the biggest things we relinquish when we have recognised that we will be caregiving someone for the long haul is control. It is a stubborn, ongoing conundrum to have to take charge of what is needed in the care of another at the same time that we have to let go of control of how things will turn out. It’s like trying to drive with the brakes on and a broken GPS. To believe we can do this harmoniously is a total fantasy. We will struggle with it over and over again.
Letting go of control over how we want things to be done, or be, or even hope for, is to accept that we will be in misery and rattled a lot of the time. To enter into the paradox of taking charge and relinquishing control is to be willing to suffer, to be knocked off our pins. No matter how thoughtful, eloquent, or high-minded we want to be, we will end up with egg on our faces.
Then, why not begin each day with accepting egg on our faces to start with? We will find relief in giving up the hope of perfection and of certainty. Real life is messy as well as uncontrollable. It asks us to live as truthfully as we can and know that we are already in a sacred mess up to our armpits.
Mindfully washing our faces and hands can be a prayerful way to know egg has a place from time to time, and we will wash it away as best we can. To get things right for someone else is never going to be exactly right. We will mostly be in approximation, and that, by virtue of necessity, has to be good enough.
Relinquishing the false efforts that are buried in control will give us a ground of freedom, something real to stand on. Daily we will be doing our toilette, as the French put it. Our bodies naturally let go of what has been used and digested. We know that what has been ingested is no longer needed. In the same way we need to release the strain of a day of being in charge. We need to detox our minds and let go of expectations we have of ourselves. We do what we can and not what we can’t.
Finding a corner of time and place to focus on relinquishing will help us to be clear. Letting go helps us to live more fully.
Here I am thinking I know best how things should be handled. Isn’t it me who knows the best way, the smoothest way, the least costly way?
AAAH – look at all the good ways I take charge!