roll over and float

Sometimes I just have to get the fuck out of my own way.

You see, I am somewhat of a control freak, and by somewhat, I mean total. I know this and it is a work in progress, every minute of every day I work on letting go of the illusion that I can control anything and try to turn my will over to a power greater than myself.  This is not religious rhetoric. This is a simple belief in a power greater than myself. It is something I will never fully understand or comprehend, I suppose that’s what you call faith.

My MO has always been to figure out how I think I would like things to be, and then take steps to control people, events and emotions to arrive at that desired outcome. I believed that was called motivation, drive, willpower. Rarely if ever did the outcome unfold the way I wanted it, and if it did, I found out that what I thought I wanted was not at all what I needed.

I have learned that there is a difference in making a choice, or decision, and trying to control an outcome by calculated measures. Before this realization, my so-called choices and decisions were all derived from speculative outcomes born of fantasy and illusion.

Therefore, these were never real choices, only real delusions.

I have discovered this was the parasitic root of most of my paralyzing depression, anxiety, and subsequent panic attacks. Throw alcoholism and pill-popping on top of it and you the recipe for repeated crisis. All of those expectations were just houses of cards waiting to topple over and become disappointments and resentments. My life was lived in the past and the future. I currently live in reality, where I gratefully accept – and am satisfied by – the beauty of the present.

A good friend recently said the words, “just roll over and float.” I cannot even begin to describe what a tremendous and profound impact those 5 little words have had on my life. They have become my mantra. I have spent my life fighting in the quicksand, and now, I understand that I can lay on my back, feel the sunshine on my face, and let the current carry me where it will.

This means making a decision based on the now. How will it effect me or others now, not tomorrow, not down the road, now. My only desired outcome needs to be goodness, love, respect and honorableness. If all of those are in tact, the rest will come to fruition beautifully, because the seeds of good intention have been sown.

Make the right choice, live in the moment, be grateful, show humility, and most importantly…roll over and float.

24 replies

  1. Have you seen this poem? It’s been a favorite of mine for years.

    First Lesson

    Lie back daughter, let your head
    be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
    Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
    your arms wide, lie out on the stream
    and look high at the gulls. A dead-
    man’s float is face down. You will dive
    and swim soon enough where this tidewater
    ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
    me, when you tire on the long thrash
    to your island, lie up, and survive.
    As you float now, where I held you
    and let go, remember when fear
    cramps your heart what I told you:
    lie gently and wide to the light-year
    stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

    ~ Philip Booth

  2. I was a CONTROL FREAK for many years. Like if I could control things, then bad things wouldn’t happen. Defence mechanism, I suppose, to a chaotic childhood. Now, after plenty o’ brain reorganization courtesy my bazillion therapists et al, I’m learning that “roll over and float” which is so much more poetic, and rich with imagery that I dig. Well said, TF.
    p.s. I still like to control things, but I’m much less devastated when I can’t.

  3. Yeah, I really liked this one. I used to have arguments with myself, you know? Like I was always getting ready to throw down with someone. The sad thing is I always lost, even if I won (in my head). And you know what, none of those arguments ever, EVER, happened in real life. It’s great to finally give in and just let things be. The only thing we can control is ourselves. Realizing that is what finally set me free.

  4. wow: your words: “I have discovered this was the parasitic root of most of my paralyzing depression, anxiety, and subsequent panic attacks. Throw alcoholism and pill-popping on top of it and you the recipe for repeated crisis.” Seriously THIS. IS. ME. And add to the fact I am also a control freak. Ahh, but good to know Im not alone. You always think the drinks, the meds will help the anxiety, but everything gets worse and we start spinning out of control, hence making our own lives worse, like you said “get out of our own way”

    • You are most certainly not alone. I got sober in November, then my husband moved out, now almost divorced. Although this has been one of the most difficult years of my life, it has also been the most enlightening and happiest. Let go of that resentment, it is like taking poison and hoping the other person will get sick.

  5. I’m totally in the middle of writing a “higher power” post, so I started reading this, and I’m going to stop until I finish so I don’t accidentally a) plagiarize you or b) get too intimidated and stop writing it.

    • I have had that happen too, stumbling upon a post along the same lines as what i’m writing. I have to put mine on hold because it has infected my process too much. sorry sister, i’ll be back to writing about poop tomorrow.

    • I have always been the drowning type, typically involving grey goose, lemon and a splash of club soda. life is much better now…

  6. Great post! Since my relapse I’ve been saying (to myself & in my blog posts) that the only one I can control is me! I can’t control anyone else, what they think or say. Just me. It’s so hard to let go of trying to control every one & thing. Daily (many times a day in fact) I have to remind myself of this. I love when I read posts that really hit home. I need those reminders constantly. I am not alone. WE are not alone. Thank you for posting :)

    • I’m so glad you came across this and that it was helpful. WE are absolutely not alone, this is not an easy path, especially at the beginning. Relapse happens, so does recovery, but you have to want it and be willing to go to any length to get it. If there is anything to do to help you through, please just reach out…we all need a leg up sometimes. be well my friend.

  7. [...] I am unhappy with right now, and although I write these fabulously positive posts on acceptance: (roll over and float) (how to eat an elephant) and vulnerability and the like, sometimes I have a hard time heeding my [...]

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