NORMA JEAN: You Just Can't Control Everything

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200I am stumped, yep, stumped. The technical word for it is writers block. Writing a weekly column is pressuring me to be something wiser and better than I feel right now. I want to be more colorful and perhaps put a new twist on things to kick off the new year, but shit, I'm out of ideas, I surrender. I don't know what to write about.Ever feel totally uninspired or pregnant with something that isn't quite ready to come out as you imagine friends and colleagues looking on? This inadequate feeling is most likely linked up with control and pride. Sometimes admitting that life is momentarily unmanageable is the hardest confession of all. One of our most savvy bumper stickers says it all; "Life is what happens to you as you're busy making other plans." And more bumper brilliance; "Shit happens" and all our carefully laid plans go down the tubes.While visiting one of my best friends this week my frolicking little boy tripped over an extension cord and sent a priceless treasure to the floor smashing it to smithereens. The ambiance of happy children at play around the fireplace took a turn towards The Shining as my friend burst into anger and then uncontrollable sobbing. Immediately I judged her whole life by condemning where she chose to place such a fragile item followed by a lot of "if only's." Communication deteriorated from there.Yes, life runs the way it wants to and the nastiest things can happen to the nicest people. We all have plans for people in our lives; parents for their children, lovers for each other. The imaginings about how things ought to be really gives rise to lot of judgment and condemnation when events don't go our way. For some, the mystery that keeps romantic projections of what a lover or friend should be or do for us actually keeps the love from ever having a life of its own and evolving into deep intimacy. Sometimes we talk to people for hours before meeting them a la Alibi Personals and grieve the fantasy-turned-reality as the flesh and blood of another is right there in it's three dimensional glory butting up against our pictures. People who fall into email love find this gap between pure thought and the density of who we are very tricky business. Good phone or screen don't necessarily translate into good lovin'. Walking the talk is the challenge.Surrender is called for when twisting and turning about events or people we can't control. It's hopeless to think we can control anything. To hang in a relationship in a grounded way takes mental health and good communication skills. It's hard to stop judging. Give up projections of the perfect marriage, the dream lover, the best friend. Pay closer attention to the present moment and life's small calamities. In the imperfections we grow the most.Speak to empower people and move their lives forward, not harsh words that undermine them. Powerful speech is the best gift we can give each other.Let love happen, Norma Jean Thompson


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