Korea Notes: out of control, into growth

I don’t have control issues.
do I have control issues? No, no.
I mean, I don’t think I have control issues.
Do I?

The inevitable truth is that, yes my relationship with control in my life causes problems. On my artist palette, there’s some blend between control, anxiety, and isolation that manages to splatter onto my daily canvas of life. Every time I have the same inner-monologue trying to think about how I feel, being out of control.

Over the last two months or so, the thoughts of being away, not-having, and lacking have drained my spirit. Missing home, changing relationships, losing my last grandparent, two close cousins with fresh cancer diagnoses, and being with six-year olds everyday all weigh very heavy every day. In the background of all this: not connecting with birth family, being in country where I feel profoundly out of place, bitterness, disappointment, and frustration knocking at my processing doors, it all is a disorienting miasma.

I have been so stuck in that. And that’s ok.

As an adoptee, I have a specific relationship with loss and longing. Particularly in the context of ambiguity, I am dually skilled at, yet prone to not knowing and always seeking.

I can always come up with things I lost, do not have, will not have, or can only wonder about. Those are strangely concrete to me. And have easily become foundations for my identity and life. Being given up. Being unwanted. Being a yellow sheep. Unbelonging. And that’s an easy trap to fall into. It’s a battle for my personhood to be around what feels like concrete truths in the ambiguity of life. To be stuck in this narrative is to embrace and accept that my life is one of deficit and to be definitively missing.

And for f—‘s sake, to be UNSTUCK from that is a breath of fresh air.

It takes a grand stepping-away-from for me to come out of the miasma and into gratitude. To move to another country, study, find a job, move living spaces, find community, clean my apartment, not drink too much, and look into the future takes tremendous courage. To love children everyday (in a flawed, problematic English Ed. system, yet) is a beautiful thing. I write and perform at a monthly open mic. I have opportunities to work with some of my current kids next year. I still have my empathy. I still have my love. I still have my creativity.

So, we have this dichotomy of growing or not. Sucking or not. Suffering or survival. But I don’t think “Growing” is actually camping in a growth mindset all the time. As a former soccer coach, I truly believe in growth mentality, but I don’t think it’s possible to always have that.

I do think that growing happens in the process between the two, however. It happens in the moment of occupying the space between not-having and I-will-have. That’s a place where we are forced to be vulnerable, to step aside and to remain in “being”, to notice what is true reality for us at that moment.

Growth is hard. Growth takes courage.

For example as a tree grows, it’s inherent that it must push up into the unknown.

Those of you feeling isolated, discouraged, and/or helpless. I see you.

It will be okay. You are amazing. You have so much around and in you worth jumping for joy about. I pray for peace, stillness, and temptation to move within you.

As always, thanks for reading.

karl

One thought on “Korea Notes: out of control, into growth

  1. I bumped into this on LinkedIn. Very nicely written – profound, insightful, poetic… Best wishes on your continued quest. Stay safe and well. Greg

    PS. So many of the pictures of the beautiful children in your post reminded me of the shy, smiling boy who wandered over to see me at Salem a couple of decades ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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