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Relinquishing Control

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Illustration by Molly Askey-Goldsbury

By Bryn Bamber

Someone in my class asks if we can share a taxi from the airport. I check my flight times and I realize I booked both my flights on the same day by mistake. My breathing gets short and shallow. My shoulders tense up. When did I book this? Will I have to pay the cancellation fee?

My jaw clenches. I call the customer service line ready to fight. I talk to a representative and he puts me on hold. I try to slow my breathing down as I wait. I am marginally successful. He says that he is able to cancel my ticket and does it. I still can’t relax my shoulders. I ask him to send me an email confirming that it was cancelled. He says that he will.

I sit in front of my computer refreshing my inbox, waiting for the email to come in. My breath is still short.

The email comes in. I look for another plane ticket. I cringe at the price. I double-check that I have the right dates and book it. I relax a little bit but not fully.

I am worried about my finances. This spring I went down to working four days a week, so I can spend more time focusing on my writing and building my business. Then, this summer, I moved into an apartment on my own that I love, but that costs much more than my last place. And this fall I am starting a part-time body-based therapy program.

All of these decisions are good for my spirit but bad for my pocketbook. Part of me wants to look for a cheaper apartment or go back to working five days a week. My heart crumples when I seriously consider either of these ideas.

I was recently woken up in the middle of the night by a dream. In the dream I had been going into off limit areas and the building has been watching me. Now I’m on their bad list. An old boss of mine finds out (in the dream she is my current boss) and is mad at me. I ask about keeping my job and she says, “We’ll see.”

There is a big WANTED billboard of me so when a security guard comes to arrest me, I hold out my wrists and cooperate. But when he tries to move me into an unmarked car, I know something is off and begin to struggle. I try frantically to text the boss and my sister to tell them to call the police if they don’t hear from me in 24 hours. My phone is slow. I can’t get through. I climb to the top of a flagpole and try to text from there but it still doesn’t work.

Two security guards are now climbing up the flagpole after me, so I begin to climb down. I know better than to try to fight them from up high. I let go and we all fall down in a heap. I wake up.

When I write about the dream afterwards I realize that the old boss represents a part of me that wants to control everything. This part is not good at accepting help and often takes on other people’s responsibilities to make sure they go well. This part punishes me if I relax or trust that things are going to work out, this part wants to control at all costs. And the security guards represent more re-enforcements.

These are the parts in me that are very worried about my finances and are desperately scrambling for control.

But then in the dream there is also the other part: the part that refuses to get into the car and is willing to fight for my freedom.

Swami Radha’s guru, Swami Sivananda wrote, “Do not be guided and influenced by public opinion. March boldly and cheerfully in the path of Truth, consulting your conscience and hearing the inner, small, sweet voice of the soul.”

And I can see with a lot of my worries about finances, I am worried about what others will think of me and if they will question my choice to take the financial risk. I want to listen to the small, sweet voice of the soul, even in places that aren’t always seen as spiritual like my work for a non-profit and my personal financial planning.

So, I’m listening. I’ve given myself a six-month grace period to work on making money through my business. After six months, I’ll evaluate my financial situation again. By doing that, I can think things through, be logical and practical but also leave space for the voice of the soul.

 

About Bryn Bamber

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Bryn Bamber is an educator, writer and Yasodhara Yoga teacher who is obsessed with bridging the gap between dissatisfaction and the desire to live a life filled with meaning.  Her writing has been published in Scratch Magazine and at brynbamber.com.

Read her other articles in Finding Yoga.


“I want to listen to the small, sweet voice of the soul, even in places that aren’t always seen as spiritual like my work for a non-profit and my personal financial planning.”

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