Today we are going to talk about surrender.
Confession: I kind of loathe this topic.
But it keeps appearing in the lives of my clients as well as my own, so today I am coming out of the Spirituality closet and talking about it.
First of all, I'll admit that "surrender" makes me think of bandana-clad outlaws laying down their shotguns and raising their hands in the air as they walk away from their sweaty horses. Surrender sounds like a whole army dropping to its knees, swords and shields clattering to the dirt. Or a giant wooden battleship raising a dingy white flag on the high seas so as to say, Stop shooting! We give up!
(You can see what kinds of adventure movies we watched at Dad's house. Swiss Family Robinson, anyone?)
Surrender has always sounded like a fancy euphemism for losing.
And I hate losing.
As a card-carrying "J" type on the Myers & Briggs framework (meaning, my anxiety soars when I don't have a plan), as someone who uses multiple calendars and notification systems, as someone who strongly prefers certainty and schedules and lists and agendas and winning, I am learning to surrender.
Because sometimes the planning and containment and agendas don't work.
And I am learning that surrender doesn't mean losing.
Surrender has come to mean something else to me.
It means trust.
Instead of planning and pushing and mapping, I'm waiting.
Instead of running down a goal, I'm intending.
Instead of fitting my anxiety into a tidy little box, instead of squeezing, instead of containing and controlling, I'm watching.
I'm trusting. As in, the verb. Trust is the action I am taking, the choice that I am making.
(I'm also freaking out, you know, doing all the embarrassing anxiety behaviors like picking off my nail polish, eating raisins (??!) to keep myself occupied, and generally avoiding any and all housework. It's not particularly pretty just yet.)
But, I'm learning.
I'm learning to trust the intelligence of life.
Because there’s an invisible, benevolent universe that constantly conspires to help each of us, showing us exactly what we need to learn, connecting us with the right experiences and the right teachers (including the curt barista, the homeless man in Union Square, and the beloveds in your home). Everything is here to help. This starry universe loves me, it loves you, and its beautiful schemes are designed to wake us up. To gently take us by the shoulders and push us in the right direction, like a little kid carefully shoving a tiny toy sailboat into a lake.
If you've gotten this far in your one wild and precious life, I think you're winning. You've been safe and loved and connected enough to get here. And so have I.
So, we can surrender. We can give up control. Rather, we can give up the illusion of control (ha ha HA!) and, in my case, put down the bag of raisins.
I trust that whatever - or whoever - lands in front of me is an invitation to learn. I surrender. I am relaxing into uncertainty and waiting, watching, intending. I am waving the white flag. And I trust that, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes, I'm still winning.
P.S. In practical terms, here's HOW I'm doing surrender: instead of asking WHY is this happening TO me?!, I'm trying to sit quietly with a different question (and without the raisins): How is this happening FOR me? I hope that helps.
P.P.S. Does this actually help? Is there a dimension of your life that might benefit from some surrender? I'd love to know.