Gratuitous Color Shot #8: Could you elaborate on that?

At the risk of messing with my street cred as “the least Zen person I know,” “kinda tightly wound,” and “a massive overanalyzer,” I am constantly trying to be more accepting of what the universe sees fit to offer me.

Especially when it sends me signs—sometimes literal signs—to chill no matter how ragged and beset I may feel:

Is the message behind the message ‘last one standing’ or ‘doesn’t stand a chance’?

LIKE WOW, RIGHT?

Unless I’m misinterpreting the message and I’m supposed to aim myself at people and try to take them down, way down.

[Which actually fits better with my grudge-holding, argumentative personality. And it’s not as though the universe’s micro- and macro-level choices are above reproach…so why SHOULD I trust it will take me in a useful and/or life-enhancing direction?]

If I’m going to get serious about ceding control/practicing acceptance, however, I really need a Quick Start guide. Because otherwise I don’t see myself mastering Being the Ball anytime soon. I mean when my days aren’t PACKED FULL of trying to influence people over whom I have zero control, they are positively brimming with passive, slack-jawed waiting for various proverbial stars to align in my favor.

Sure, Kathy the Idahoesque Acupuncturist offered a morsel of help when she recommended I visualize being a fish who lets the currents take me where they will.

[Me: “I feel more like a salmon. How about I visualize a salmon getting upstream in spite of the currents?” Her: “No.” Me (silently): “Killjoy.”]

But I need a little bit more direction than that.

Especially since I have to say that stumbling around trying to be the Ball or a Fish or the Wind Beneath My Wings usually leaves me depressed or fed up. And when I hit a certain point of fed-upness I start to detach from my usual outcome-oriented desires/fears, a state of mind I like to call “going all Thelma and Louise.”

POLICE (O.S.)

(over loudspeaker) Place your hands in plain view. Any failure to obey that command will be considered an act of aggression against us.

I repeat, turn your engine off and place your hands in plain view.

INT. CAR – DAY

THELMA
What’re you doing?

LOUISE
(loads gun) I’m not givin’ up.

….

POLICE (O.S.)

(over loudspeaker) I repeat, cut your engine off and place your hands in plain view.

THELMA
Ok then, listen. Let’s not get caught.

LOUISE
What’re you talkin’ about?

THELMA
Let’s keep goin’.

LOUISE
What d’ya mean?

THELMA
(indicating the Grand Canyon) Go.

LOUISE
You sure?

THELMA
Yeah. Yeah.

Maybe Going All Thelma and Louise is a subset of Being the Ball; hell if I know. I also don’t know how people in truly life or death situations weigh their odds without losing their minds.

But when it comes to fraught yet garden-variety decision making, I’m starting to realize it’s only when I really and truly stop trying to please others that I’m likely to be rewarded.

And it kind of bothers me that I usually get what I want when I demonstrate that I’d rather go over a cliff than surrender. How does that jive with what one hears about compromise and cooperation and everyone loving a team player, huh?

But I guess people with power—people who have something others want—often respond better to bravado than supplication. Or often enough, anyway. So after recently negotiating for something fairly big in my generously termed professional life, I’m adjusting to (and cautiously celebrating) the results.

Trouble is, there’s a part of me that can’t stop remembering how good my foot felt on that pedal….

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9 Responses

  1. It is tough to move from a mindset of pedal to the metal not matter what to relaxed tasoist fishy. But I believe in you. As a person with type-A tendencies I am finding a whole lot of joy accepting what is. However the road to acceptance was a seriously bumpy one. I hope your ride is smoother.

  2. Thank you for the salmon! Somehow you/we must have a special energy-reserve, without it one could only swim with the current.
    oh, the ending of that movie makes me feel so sad …

  3. PS: (sorry, again a PS, I reply too fast!): Be the Ball is less thrilling than your interpretation: “Be The Ball includes interviews with more than 100 professional and amateur golfers and instructors – each telling readers how they, too, can reach this higher state of control. Some of the biggest names in golf offer their unique tips, philosophy, and thoughts on becoming the very best golfer in the world. ” bah. http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Golf-Instruction-Book-Mind/dp/0740710907

  4. You know, the first person who devises a fail-proof formula that calculates when to “go with the flow” vs. “pedal to the metal” will surpass Bill Gates in wealth. Until then, it’s a crap shoot. But kudos on your recent successful negotiation! It can be hard to stand firm when there’s a lot at stake.

  5. LBR—

    It’s too bad my Type A tendencies only manifest themselves in overanalyzing vs doing…so much less productive! But thank you for the good wishes as I continue to try to turn around and swim WITH the currents….

    Paula—

    Damn, that IS a much more boring interpretation, though my eye went right to the phrase “higher state of control.” I’m such a backslider!

    [And I recommend the full movie; the ending is less sad that way…or so I think, anyway!]

    Pseu—

    I would be the first to buy that formula with my newly-heavy pockets!

    Thanks much for the congrats. While I did feel (perhaps too!) detached from the outcome, the outcome is definitely going to make things easier.

    [Not to mention it provided the perfect excuse to come down your—and LBR’s—way in a little while!]

  6. I’m a pretty terrible person to try to hand out advice on going with the flow. But trying it in really tiny ways can feel OK… like, not deciding in advance what you’ll do on Sunday afternoon? Or, a big one for me: letting the house guests cook dinner. (A glass of wine helped that one!).

  7. Oh my dear, organized Englishwoman…I regret to say that I don’t have the Planner gene, so your above tips are appreciated but not needed. I need the ones you have for DECIDING what to do, ha!

    That’s why it took me so long to realize I was a control freak, actually. I only freak out when it’s something I really care about, and my caring is quite haphazard!

  8. I am sitting back, mouth agape with the wonder of having found your blog. Soul sister!

    Would write more but need to continue rummaging through this blog. You’ve given new purpose to my desultory bedtime surfing – can I handle the excitement and still get my solid 6 hrs of sleep? My instincts say no, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  9. Layne —

    Welcome and thank you!

    Since I’m not terribly prolific, the benefit of joining in now is that there’s actually a backlog of posts to assess—but not so many that they’ll interfere with a good night’s sleep for long!

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