Creative surrender: “Relax, nothing is under control.”

Lifelog  •  13 Oct 2021

Any self-motivated and driven creator or writer will know – having control and autonomy of how you run your creative projects is important. Sometimes that sense of control extends to the outcome as well, and it drives us nuts when things are outside of our influence.

But seeing this quote hit me like a truck:

You are afraid of surrender because you don’t want to lose control. But you never had control; all you had was anxiety. ~ @elizabeth_gilbert_writer, author of the famous Eat Pray Love book

As a Type A personality, I was always that annoying, over-achieving, strong-willed friend or colleague; always unsatisfied, always needing control and autonomy, and hard-working to the point of killing myself. All because of I didn’t want to lose control on how I run my life and my projects.

Because surrender is scary.

For me, at least. Looking back, surrender is a theme that had surfaced repeatedly in my life. A lesson that I find it hard to learn.

I always thought if I can have more control, then I won’t have to surrender. I will have things done in a way that’s beneficial to myself, and I won’t get hurt or damaged or disappointed, in any way.

But looks like Miss Gilbert was right. All I had in the end was not more control, but mounting anxiety. All from harbouring expectations of control on circumstances and people where I really had none to speak of. In fact, the harder I gripped, the worse blowback I received. On my health especially.

That’s the law of inversion, an unsaid law of how the universe operates, right smack in my face there. I got to—have to—“gently loosen my white-knuckled grip on life”, it seems.

Relax, nothing is under control.