Spiritual discovery is a long and arduous road - and it’s been a long course of self-discovery for me. I’ve learnt more than I ever anticipated about the world, and particularly about myself. Realising that you are a far more complex creature than you give yourself credit for can be great thing, but also coming to terms with your shortfalls can be... nearly heartbreaking, at the very least. My penny drop moment occurred when I delved into a study of the word "control". I needed to control everything in my life. Every. Single. Thing. Are you trying to control everything too? Do you know it, and can you feel yourself being kept from freedom because you have this intense need, this urge to have everything in its rightful place? Does everything have to be just the way you want it to be? You’re not alone. Not just me, but thousands upon millions of us approach life with that same outlook. We grab onto our goals, relationships, work, everything with a grip so tight we eventually suffocate the things we love and are trying to protect. Control, in the real world, is counter-intuitive. We’re under the impression that to make anything flourish, we need to control every last element, keep everything under a watchful eye, unless - heaven-forbid - the unexpected happens. How can you have freedom when you are being controlled? That’s right - you are the one being controlled. Your emotions, happiness, you even place your successes in the hands of whatever you are “controlling” and let it rule you. For me, it was my relationship. You truly start to crush the life out of a well-meaning relationship when you need to control it. Whether it was important or not, my partner and I would bicker and fight about everything - because it needed to be controlled in my head! What movie to watch. What meal to eat. What we were doing day to day. It didn’t matter, control mattered. Control, control, control. I’ve very (very!) slowly discovered that there are two things key in lifting this urge for complete and utter domination. Number one, vulnerability. Number two, what I'm calling "surrendering of preference". Let's look a bit closer at this tumultuous topic. Control come from a place of insecurity, that much we know instinctively. Someone who is feeling insecure usually finds it difficult to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable and open and feel wrong, shameful, and almost like a challenge to their worthiness as a person. Secondly, surrendering what you want to do, in favour of another option. This can be even more difficult for a lot of people as they often do not realise they are overriding suggestions, wants, and needs from other people. It might seem natural to suggest a restaurant you like, but if you don't even consider a dialogue with your partner on what they'd like to eat, we've become guilty. A small action like that can mean the world to someone, and you may even enjoy it - if not, you can still enjoy the positives of making them happy. I've found that, over time, we need to realign ourselves and reconsider our relationships, our shortfalls, our options going into the future. Everyone should learn to let go of this incessant urge to clutch on to control. It'll be a hard road to travel, but one that will better you as a person. Enjoy each others presence more. Spend less time bickering. My partner and I experience far more joy and love now, than we ever did before, and sometimes, all it takes is a push to take that step back. Your homework for this week is to try and take an objective view on your life. Look at the situations you put yourself in, assess them, and ask yourself what you're trying to control. It might be your parent's decisions, your friend's time, your finances, maybe your diet. When you can identify the rogue element, you can see how it's controlling you, not the other way around. You can move on, let go, be present, and attune yourself to what you need most in that moment. You are your own best friend. Control isn't necessary for happiness, and love will flow easily when you embrace the notion of freedom. Learn-Laugh-Love.