99: UNcontrol


Ethic. Process. Aspiration. Practice. Come learn what else UNcontrol is and what it means and why we should engage it in the work of personal and collective freedom.



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Speaker 1: How to make love. Now, is that from recipe or from scratch?

Speaker 2: This is how to make love. Wow.

Speaker 3: Oh gosh.

Speaker 2: Oh my God. Yeah. A little to the left. And master a show that tests the edges of what love is, worthiness, empathy, beauty, sex, positive, the borders. It can cross how we do integrity in all of our relationships, and its hidden costs and shadows. In

Speaker 3: A world where we other people, where we build walls, we just tear down walls,

Speaker 2: Fuck finding it or falling into it. Our future depends on making it. Hello? Hello,

Speaker 4: Hello. My loves Laura here you are saddled into episode 99 and a podcast designed to work out those love, justice, courage, and liberation muscles. I'm glad you're here, my friends, and glad to talk a little bit today about control and uncontrol and what the fuck that is and why it's an essential practice and how it relates to liberation and freedom and how you can work on it in your head and your heart and your body. So hunker down, grab a whiskey, grab a tea, get ready to talk all about how to make love by learning how to uncontrol.

Speaker 4: Okay, so I'm going to start by being really honest with you all, which is that I am a total, absolute control freak if left to my own devices and not situated in a practice of mindfulness. In other words, when I'm not meditating, when I'm not really mindful of my mental hygiene, when I'm moving around and multitasking and not fully present, I reach for control all the time. But what do I mean by control? I mean the urge, the desire, the will, the tactics of exerting power, of trying to influence or direct circumstances or direct people. And I'm not talking about self-care control right now, like the safety and stability we all deserve so that we can all be free and so that we can be fully and freely expressed. I'm talking about the need to feel in control, the desire to be in control, the urge to control things, people, perceptions, opinions, reputations.

Speaker 4: You might be thinking that's not so bad, right? I mean, we all care about how we're perceived. We all want to be regarded well, and yes, sure, but there's a difference between care and control, between caring about my reputation and trying to control my reputation. And there's certainly a difference in caring about another person and trying to control another person. But most of us do this all day every day. I do this all day every day. We try to use the power that we have to make folks think certain things or feel certain things to get people to do certain things. And we use this power to direct and push and manipulate things into place according to us. And that sort of control, while we all do it, is not good for us. It's not good for others, and it's definitely not helpful to the work of liberation.

Speaker 4: Well, because it's sort of the antithesis to freedom. Freedom is offering and cultivating space and spaciousness in which others get to exist with agency and consent and choice, and in which we ourselves get to exist free from the mental trappings that tend to sort of ensnare us or hook us free from being caught in a reactive relationship with our thoughts. In other words, there's enough space for us to make mindful choices and consent ourselves to what we're thinking, to what we're doing, to who we're being and control squashes that space control is. It's a reactive stance, seeing something that makes us uncomfortable or feel uncomfortable and choosing to react to it rather than to let it be or to exist with it or to make peace with it. And so control is also unhealthy for the sheer fact that it just isn't natural, meaning we don't live in a controlled world or a controlled human experience.

Speaker 4: We live in chaos. We live in mortal bodies that will die no matter what we do, no matter who we love, no matter how we dilute ourselves and we're susceptible to all of the elements and our existence, our feelings, our reality is simply chaos. Reaching for control gives us that dopamine hit and allows us for a few minutes at least to forget what's true and to believe in an alternate reality where we can control our fate and our existence and where our loved ones don't die and where we don't die. But then we need more and more dopamine hits as the world around us and relationships around us remind us that we are vulnerable and fundamentally not in control. And then before we know it, we're living lives of control. We're leading through and with control. We're loving through and with control and through conditions, and we're back to where we started.

Speaker 4: We've stripped away those conditions and those elements of freedom that are required for liberation in the world and required for our own mental, emotional and spiritual liberation. So what's a girl to do y'all? I'm going to answer that question in just a moment, and we're going to talk about uncontrol and how to do it and what it is. And in the interim, I have a request and an invitation for you. If this podcast is something that you regularly tune into or you share or you learn from, would you become a Patreon? And what that means is that you sign up as a stance of support for me, for the work I do for this podcast. It's a way of having the backs of artists and creators who make things you value and learn from and supporting them so that they can keep doing what they do.

Speaker 4: So Patreons enable my livelihood and work, but they also enable this podcast in really important ways. They help pay for transcripts so that episodes are more accessible. Patreons help enable my commitment to pay remuneration and honorariums to guests of color and indigenous guests who share their wisdom and labor with us. You can be a Patreon for as little as a dollar a month, literally, and it makes a huge, huge difference. So if you are interested, you go to patreon.com and you type in how to make love, and you'll see me there. Thanks. I appreciate it. Now let's get into uncontrol. I define Uncontrol as an ethic and a practice of freedom that actively seeks to divest from controlling tendencies and actively invest in the habits, tendencies, ways of being and skills that cultivate space agency. And freedom. Uncontrolled to me is the commitment to and the process of undoing and unlearning those tendencies of control.

Speaker 4: It's an unfolding. It's a sort of peeling away a rediscovery of who we are or who we could be as cultivators and practitioners of freedom. Now, there's a lot in there that definition alone, my friends could be digested and offer you a workout for a long time. If we were to stop right here and you worked with those definitions to build your own practice of uncontrol or your own definition of uncontrolled, you'd build or continue to build some pretty radical things in your life at work and your relationships. But let's remember, we're talking about a constant practice. It's not a one and done. There's not a proficiency marker or there's not a certification. There's not a destination point. Uncontrolled is primarily in my mind at least a commitment, a lifelong dare I say, commitment to keep finding the things that generate the impulse to control, and then working through those things and massaging them out.

Speaker 4: So this work requires us to empty out a lot of stuff. It's not for the faint of heart. It is labor. It is laborious. It will be countercultural, meaning people around you or the culture around you, or even maybe even the organization around you may not reward you for it. It probably will be mundane. It's probably going to be exhausting piecing and sifting through the reactions and the tendencies that we've crafted over decades and sorting them out to explore who we are without control. But that is the work, and it will ask you to let go of things. It's going to demand that you change. And some of those changes will feel like loss and some of those changes will create heartbreak. And that's all okay. It's all beautiful, beautiful work, but it will be work, maybe the work of a lifetime, the art of a lifetime, the offering of a lifetime, the letting go of a lifetime.

Speaker 4: I'm not sure what it will end up being for you, my friends. And at the end of the day, I'm not asking you to purge your need or desire for control. I'm not asking you to make it go away. I'm asking you to rere relate to it first to rere, relate to control and what it means in your life. And then to relate to yourself, to get to know who you are without control and see what you think and how you feel and how you move around in the world and how others feel around you. So how can you do that? Well, the first thing is to take one single thing that resonated from this episode and live it. One single insight can be enough. It can be radical even. So take one idea, one quote, one thought, and first, just live with it for a while, which means to think about it regularly, to take it places with you, to reflect on it, to write about it.

Speaker 4: Just live with it, let it seep into you, and then practice it, integrate it, play with it. I'd start there and you might get a lifetime of work just from that alone. The other way to practice can include finding the impulses and the narratives that fuel your desire to control and actively working to divest from them. So what are the conditions that keep you invested in maintaining control? And they can be really simple little things like for me, one of the big things that I'm super controlling around is my physical space and environment. I like things to be just so, and that's fine when I have agreements with other people that I'm living with or we've all consented to how and where things should be. Or frankly, it's okay when I'm alone and I can be as crotchety and curmudgeonly as I want. But when I believe that things should be just so, I have a tendency to passively aggressively control other people into maintaining what I perceive order to be, how I define order.

Speaker 4: And when I look underneath that, I see anxiety about disorder. When I look underneath it, I find perfectionism. I find some childhood trauma. I find grief about loss. I find fear. I find insecurity. I find a tendency to isolate and reject love. I find all kinds of shit. Yes, just the desire to control my physical surrounding. And that's what I mean when I say we have to divest. We have to find the shit that still needs tending to, and we have to heal it. Sometimes it's about divesting from the impulses, which means you have to learn to catch them. You have to learn to catch the impulse and catch the thoughts and catch the itches that want to be scratched and ask you to pick up control. And you have to choose something else instead. And sometimes it's about healing and making investments into different tendencies that are harder to choose, like being honest with my loved ones about when I'm feeling anxiety and sharing that experience with them rather than trying to manage and control their behaviors or my environment. The last thing I'll leave you with here today, my friends, is that you need to define uncontrolled for yourself. I shared my definitions and my orientations and my andragogy about it, but what does it mean to you? How does it connect to freedom for you? This is hard work, but it's life-changing work. Or it can be it's culture changing work, or it can be relationship changing work, changing work. So until next time, may you make a fuck ton of love, and may you consider how uncontrolled might be a part of that expression of love.

Speaker 4: I'll see you next time. Bye for now.