It is a paradox that when we relinquish our death grip on life, we actually gain more control.

Why?

One reason is that when we try to control everything it not only creates tension in our mind, but our body as well.

This tension handicaps, diminishing our ability to listen and and discern.

It’s like trying to dance while keeping your muscles stiff. You can’t feel (listening with your body) what your partner is doing.

If we tried to dance this way, whether that’s with a person or with life, our responses would be clumsy and our timing off.

Our partner’s signal is missed by the insensitivity of our blunt instrument.

There are too many fluctuating elements in any moment for us to control everything. We don’t have the bandwidth or resources.

This effort wastes energy, exhausting and numbing the senses.

We end up trying to control a limited number of elements, while others go unregistered.

When we grip any one aspect of our experience, we come under its control.

What we grasp, grasps us back.

Years ago I studied a Chinese martial art called Baguazhang.

Our teacher admonished us whenever we tried to grab onto our opponent.

He instructed us to use a different approach in directing our opponent’s movements.

This was through the strategic placement of our body in relation to theirs.

If we wanted to set them up for a strike by pulling them toward us, we would never grip their arm with our hands.

Doing so would affix us to them. This, in turn, made us easy to throw in some direction.

Instead, we would “hook” their arm with an edge of our open palm. If they tried to exploit this connection, there would be nothing for them to hold onto.

We would guide without grasping.

You can do the same in your life.

Have an intention. Steer events. Lead.

But stay relaxed in your center. Stay open to signals so you can adapt in the moment.

You will maintain more control this way.