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Everything’s under control…I swear

Day 1 of 21 of Bindu Wiles’ 21.5.800 project. I slept 8 hours last night. I woke up feeling more or less refreshed (though still a bit hungover from a weekend without much sleep, no alcohol involved.) I meditated first thing. I weighed myself and noticed I have dropped 3.5 lbs since I stopped having caffeinated coffee, dairy, sugar, refined carbs and wheat, even though I ate dinner really late last night and went to bed on a full stomach. So how do I feel? Hopeful. Satisfied. In control.

In control. That one is sticky and tricky and sneaky. I believe ever-so-strongly in the power of responsibility and personal choice. It’s one of my highest values. And I love the feeling of being in control. Ah, Control . . . she’s a seductress wielding to-do lists and Filofaxes and well-filled-out calendars. She’s an excellent driver and has a laser sharp sense of direction. She’s clear about her desires. She’s decisive. She’s a top-notch negotiator, and her motto is: “Clarity is power.” I love her because she makes me feel safe. She sits next to me as I schedule my days within an inch of my life and tells me how fabulous I am. She whispers in my ear as I organize dates with men who, smiling, uneasily fall into the fold of my agenda. Planning is her religion. She makes me feel safe.

Her sister, Surrender, doesn’t come around as much, but when she does, Control is nowhere to be found. There’s no animosity between the two, they simply understand that both are happier and better able to flourish when the other isn’t around. Surrender wears chiffon and walks like she’s floating. She sings a lot and never knows what time it is. She uses her intuition to make decisions and she giggles with delight when the world pleasantly surprises her eight million times a day. She takes bubble baths. She chooses things based on what feels good. She calls quietly to me to do nothing but watch the steam wind its way out of my teacup. She invites me to allow other perfectly capable people to make decisions. She likes to sit in the passenger’s seat and look out the window as someone else drives. She loves limbo, the grey area, liminal space, and the unknown. When Surrender is visiting I feel a bit wobbly and nauseous. Yet, when she leaves and I think back on our time together, it always seems that everything worked out perfectly and things happened that were so much better than anything I could have planned or even thought up on my own.

I once was upset with a boyfriend who I was berating for never stepping up and planning anything. I felt like I was always suggesting dates, organizing the details, and taking care of logistics. I wanted him to take the reins sometimes. He replied lovingly, “I would gladly take the reins if you would simply let go of them.” Wow. The hydrogen peroxide sting of truth.

I’m an Aries warrior princess and I like to be in control. I’m a natural leader and the CEO of a company 750 strong and growing. I like being in the driver’s seat.This weekend I was in Chicago and my friend Brian, possibly the most chivalrous and highly-capable man on the planet, was showing my cousin and I around the beautiful windy city (named that not because of the weather, but actually because of politics. Who knew?) I have never been to Chicago before and I had no clue where we were headed as he led us to a restaurant he had in mind. As we came to a crosswalk I felt myself leading him to turn left —and he followed! We looked at each other and burst into laughter as I realized that I was taking the reins to direct a man in a city he’s lived in for his entire life and that I’d never been to, to a restaurant I had never been to, nor did I have any clue as to where it was. But I had such a strong instinct to turn left that he’d actually followed my lead, and didn’t realize it until we had walked a few steps in that direction. My homegirl Control strikes again — as we say in my family, “Seldom right, but never in doubt.”

I clearly don’t have this one figured out. I’m an enthusiastic backseat driver and as I look at my calendar for the week ahead, and even the summer ahead, there’s barely time to breathe — and this makes me happy on some level. I’m sheepishly and delightfully aware, though, of how my instinct to control edges out possibilities for magic, wonder, and synchronicity. I have no conclusion other than a wee prayer: May Control be at my side only when absolutely necessary (such as when I’m paying my taxes or driving on a crowded freeway.) May I learn to trust that Surrender has my back just as much as Control, perhaps even more so sometimes. May I have faith in the wisdom of letting go. May I allow someone else to do it sometimes, whatever “it” is. May I Surrender.


  • Kate, my love…what a beautiful message and so true for many many women, including myself. Thanks for the great reminder to let Surrender take the lead every now and then…heehee, sounds like an oxymoron, but you know what I mean! Hope to see you soon!

  • What a brilliant analogy of the sisters. And how refreshing to hear you reveal your struggle with this – and so eloquently put into words that familiar sensation while inspiring us, reminding us that it’s a journey. Thank you!!

  • girlfriend. brilliant.


  • Hi Kate:

    I am from Mexico City, Sorry for my spelling.

    I feel identified with you, I am also an Aries and always want to be in control, I have been married for 16 years and until now I have seen myself more clearly. I dont like my husband to tell me how things should be, I use to do what I want and dont consider him too much. He is also a dominant person.

    I am glad that you are aware of your natural way of being, its not bad, nor good, simply its your way. But. It is important to know oneself in order to make adjustmens in your life. In order to receive from others. Being too dominant we cant be open to receive. But you are in the right track. The most important step is that you are aware of this. The shamans of ancient México use to say that it is like the north wind (dominant), and the south wind (nurture), its important to have balance in both.

  • Kate!
    So fun to find you running your fingers through an opposition that has pre-occupied me wholly this year! Let me throw this curve ball at you:

    What happens if we link control/competence to a necessary arrogance we developed & clung to when we were little & not safe, but needing to believe we were…

    & then link surrender to a humility which allows us to admit that control & safety are both (once necessary) illusions, we simply no longer need?

    wild stuff, right?

    After much thought & research, I now attempt to navigate my day by focussing on what I care most deeply about, which then allows me the freedom/self-permission to let go of everything else more easily…

    great post!

  • Again Kate, you touch something that brings tears to my eyes. Quite a talent.

  • Well put. I think a lot of us can relate to and appreciate that dilemma!

  • Talya

    Great post, Kate! So beautiful. I love that phrase, “Seldom right, but never in doubt!” Ha!

  • Wow. It feels like you shined a flashlight on my soul, Kate. Or something not quite as bright as a flashlight. Maybe you just bring your own beautiful lightning bug to the party!

  • Cathy

    Beautifully written…I just sent it to my daughter, who will be in her last year of college in the fall. I wish the “sisters” had been so clearly stated when I was younger!
    If it’s okay, I’m going to print it out and substitute sisters for “brothers” and give it to my son, who will be starting college…the boys need to hear the same message!!! Lol…

    PS…I started following your work because I am a follower of your Mom! Thanks to both of you!

  • Jessica Jones


    This is so beautifully written it brought tears to my eyes! You are such a genuis when it comes to writing and articulating what so many of us feel! Thanks for reminding me that it is a blessing to surrender and let go sometimes!

    With Love and Gratitude!

  • Aynsley

    I opened my eyes, flicked on my blackberry and found this message….you know when something just hits you at the exact right moment at the exact right day and just when you need exactly what it says? You did that for me and I am so grateful right now. I want to find you and hug you!
    Gratitude to you on this wonderful day you goddess!

  • Kate,

    Love this passage.
    The tender acknowledgment and embrace of various parts of yourself was inspiring to me.
    Thank you, Aries sister!


  • Ginny Schubert

    Kate, this is beautifully written. I was just reminded yesterday, I’m living too much in my head and not enough by spirit! Your words are a confirmation.

  • Patricia

    Whew! I’m so glad I decided to read this, as I was rushing to squeeze just one more thing into this hour. Those two sisters, control and surrender, what a good way to describe it. I’m off to a slower, more surrendered shower now. thanks!

  • Sandra Chiu

    Love the message! Totally relate. On some days my mantra is FUCK IT.


  • I just returned from my PBS tour, slept until 11:45AM this morning ( I love that about myself) And this was the first thing I read when I got up. Can you even imagine what it’s like to have your youngest daughter describe precisely and artfully two aspects of herself that her mother has seen since she could walk? What I REALLY like is that your warrior has come forth to lay CLAIM to your life. To help you OWN your power. Miss Surrender held the reins for a long while there– and though we all adore her, she needed the Aries Warrior Princess to come forth and hold up the spotlight so she could SHINE BRIGHTLY. So I’m thinking– would it be okay if I invited both sisters to dinner or up to Maine for a weekend? I know they don’t always get along. But if you don’t mind, I adore both of them.And I’m willing to bet they could learn to get along and be in the same room if they were willing to completely accept and adore each other. As much as I do! BTW, Know why I learned tango? To acquire the skill of SURRENDERING. So delicious.

    • Janis Lorang Sieve

      @Christiane Northrup,MD, I love that about yourself too! I remember one of your lectures that gave me permission to sleep 15 hours if I needed it. Have watched your current PBS show once through, and subsequent favorite parts the rest of the week. Many boosts there for me that were a needed reminder that I am one fine person. You are such an inspiration, and I will also invite these sisters to come along with me…… BTW, the tango music was a nice sensous touch! I haven’t thought about surrendering as delicious, but it certainly is. It feels delicious!

  • Ellen Swerewski

    What a wonderful blog. Are you a writer? If not, you should write a book….or is writing a blog like writing a book!!! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Always such a struggle between control and surrender. As women, it’s difficult to surrender. Thank you.

  • Kate, this is absolutely wonderful!! I love the part about walking in Chicago. (Hope you went somewhere yummy for dinner – that’s my city and there are so many good spots to try…)

    How aware you are to have such a deep understanding of both sides of the coin. I love that you described feeling, “wobbly and nauseous” when hanging out with Ms. Surrender. It’s funny – I feel much the same way when being Ms. “Control”. Thank you for sharing your perspective… was a delight to read. Happy to be on this 21.5.800 adventure with you and look forward to staying connected. Cheers!

  • I agree that this was wonderful. It was deep and thought provoking and yes, beautifully written.
    What a great experience to read this upon awakening!
    thanks kate

  • Joan

    If you have kids it fixes the control idea right away. ;-)

  • Sophia

    I need to surrender. Thanks Kate!

  • I adore this depiction of the ladies Control and Surrender. I loved this personification of them, as it really helped me relate to them. But for me, these do indeed inhabit the same space and what often results is a classic case of envy between the sisters. What to do about that I wonder? Control hits herself over the head because she is not Surrender, and Surrender feels guilt about chiffon-ing it up, wondering if she should be more like her sister. AIE.

    There is a beautiful energy about this post, and your blog. I’m glad I found you.

    • Kate

      @Janice, That is such a good point about sister envy. I know that one well in dealing with Control and Surrender. I think the best thing is to be aware of where you are at any given moment and embrace it. I heard a great quote the other day: “If you think the grass is always greener, water your own grass.” I think that pretty much sums it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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