By Maggie Lyon

Control, or lack thereof, is one of the greatest sources of suffering.

For someone like me, whom I affectionately call a control freak in recovery, with a chaotic walking-on-eggshells childhood, it is obvious why I became (in my teens) so obsessed with having maniacal control over all aspects of my environment. At age sixteen, the most obvious place to start was with my body.

If you haven’t read or heard by now, I became a major anorexic at this time. This brutally domineering mindset lasted on and off in bouts well into my twenties. I’d be lying to say its creepy little ways didn’t present in more feeble moments (and when I got severely ill) in my early thirties.

Anorexia is, of course, all about control, and it has, in various moments, thoroughly taken over my life by leeching out into arenas far beyond what went into my mouth. There have literally been times when I couldn’t stomach any kind of mess. If something didn’t fit into my intense vision of perfection, it got tossed, and fast.

Well, guess what? Life is inherently messy, so my struggle to clamp down, rein in, dominate, and dictate has bred incredible suffering over the years. It has also, luckily, given me rich material to work with in my spiritual practices.

With many hours of meditation, yoga, breathing, studying, reading, and healing under my belt, I understand ever more deeply our need for control as sheer human folly—one that manifests in a variety of ways depending on our individual wiring.

How, do tell, does grasping for control appear in and occupy your life?

More than getting into the nuances of control itself, I am much more interested in encouraging you to commit to giving it up—on purpose. Yes, what I’m talking about is seeing, just seeing, what happens when you loosen your grip, throw your hands up into the air, and allow for things, for life, for everything to just happen and flow as it does, without stepping in. In other words, SURRENDER.

What’s amazing is that when we consciously release our misery–inducing, controlling ways, we feel better! By this, I mean freer, more at ease, relaxed, and reassured in a manner that can only come from profoundly letting go. It’s like sending a message directly to the universe announcing that we are finally ready to trust in its infinite divinity and in grace. How cool is that?

Willing to give it a shot? Let me know how it goes! I’ll be here waiting, letting life beautifully and organically arise, just as it is.

In sweet surrender,


Maggie Lyon is a writer on wellness and spirituality, a motivational speaker, and a holistic lifestyle consultant. A practitioner of Zen Buddhism and Iyengar yoga for the past twenty years, Maggie is committed to guiding others on their individual quests to awaken to the sweetness in life. Follow Maggie on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photo by Beverly & Pack.