Letting go of the reins

Image: Fabian Burghardt

There’s not many things the ego enjoys more than control. Do you ever look down at your hands and notice your knuckles are white from gripping the reins so tightly?

Yeah… Me too…

Well — what would happen if you were to let go of the reins? What would happen if you gave up control? Just for a minute.

Yes, it’d probably feel like you were going to die. Every time I do it, I feel like Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves where he rides his horse across the battlefield, head back, hands stretched out, and eyes closed just waiting for the bullet to pierce his flesh (what a GREAT scene, btw).

But I’m still here. Typing away to you. Safe and sound. I think I‘m finally beginning to understand what’s really going on…

We hold the reins because we think they give us control. By gripping those reins, we really believe we’re controlling our life. But here’s the thing we’d see if we were to step away from the horserace and see the big picture…

We’d see that this horse we’re on is in the back of a big ole’ truck that’s pulling us around going where it wants to go.

There’s so much that’s out of our control. As strenuous as they are, our little manipulations are only humoring us.

There’s nothing wrong with them. And a sense of control is a comforting thing. But it’s not what’s steering the ship.

I know. It sounds a lot like determinism. And it kind of is. But we have a lot of leeway about how we spend our time on top of that horse in the back of this truck. We can relax and enjoy the view a bit. Or we can stand up on top of the horse and surf it to try to show off for our friends. Maybe we can grab a sandwich and eat it as we fly along. Or invite someone else in.

We still have a lot of freedom up in this rig. Just not the kind we think we did. Is that terrifying to you? Or freeing?

Better duck. Low bridge coming up.


Jonas Ellison is a transformational coach and writer who helps people find their Mojo using spiritual, philosophical, psychological, and practical tools. To get his short vignettes in your inbox daily, click here.

If you enjoyed this piece, proclaim your love to the world by recommending it below. Thanks!