I’m a good kisser. Let’s just start with that.
Yet I recently made out with this guy who told me that I wasn’t kissing “correctly.” Or maybe he didn’t say it quite like that, but by stopping me in the middle of a kiss and instructing me as to where and how I should proceed, it sure felt like I wasn’t doing it correctly.
“Oh no he didn’t!” You say? Well, actually, yeah he did.
Once I got through the shame and embarrassment of thinking I was doing something wrong (which took me all the way back to my first kissing experience as a 16-year-old and actually not knowing what I was doing), I ascertained in the moment that this remark by my future husband (not) had more to do with his controlling tendencies than it did my missing his bottom lip.
But it also showed me where I—and all of us—can get stuck.
When life (through people, experiences, rejections, and challenges) delivers us a response not to our liking, we often retaliate by meeting such resistance with our own pushback—namely, control.
It can show up in a lot of ways: Shutting down. disconnecting, disengaging, closing oneself off, getting angry, or just becoming a total ass to someone. This also shows up in acting, where scenes can trigger emotions that we usually try our hardest to shut down and control in our day to day life.
It’s normal. It happens. But combatting control with control never works. It shuts out all possibility for solution. It shuts out all possibility of truthfully living in the moment in our work. It shuts out generating the kind of awareness that we’re looking for in life.
That is, awareness of how to remain open when what you really want to do is control! If we could but realize how powerful we truly are when we let go of control, we might just never try to control things again.
We can’t be both controlling and powerful at the same time. They’re antithetical to each other. It’s counter-intuitive because we try to control everything in life and we often do a great job in the short run. We get our way, we stay in our comfort zone, we micro-manage, we exercise agendas.
But in the long run we become set in our ways, unbendable, not open to new adventures and experiences, and ultimately…stuck.
When we realize that real empowerment comes from letting go, from allowing something to unfold rather than forcing our agendas, from letting life show us what it wants to reveal rather than our demanding it, life takes on a whole new meaning.
We become freer, have more fun, stop stressing the small stuff, live more in the unknown, and experience surprise and awe and wonder.
Remember those qualities? They used to be abundant when we were kids. As we grow older, our ability to see the world that way becomes diminished because control not only shrinks our capacity to see that other worlds that exist, but also from seeing our world correctly.
It’s still full of surprise and awe and wonder, you just have to give up control to experience it.
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Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was honored by Backstage three years in a row and named the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. It releases on iTunes and DVD in March of 2014. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and CW KTLA. He has been a guest speaker at the GATE 2013 Story Conference, founded by Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, and David Lynch's Masters in Film Program (Maharishi University of Management).
He is also the author of the best-selling creativity book, At Left Brain Turn Right, which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.