The Sweet Sound of Surrender

January 24th, 2011

Do you sometimes feel like you are holding on for dear life? Holding on to people and places, perspectives and plans, as if you’re holding a baby in a shower. You imagine that to loosen your grip even a little would lead to disaster. After all, it’s a baby, delicate and tiny, and it’s slippery. True enough, but the thing is that you’re not holding a baby in the shower. It’s more like you’re holding soap and the tighter you hold it the more likely it is to slip through your fingers and crash to the floor.

What would happen if you stopped holding on for dear life and tried letting go for dear life? Let go of your carefully laid plans and your tightly controlled life in order to claim the dear Life that is waiting to greet you. It’s bigger and better than anything you could dream up with your over protective mind. Your protective mind convinces you that life is too fragile and too serious to leave anything to chance. But what if life is not as serious as you imagine.

What if the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about? Practice a little hokey pokey right now. Put your toe in and feel the waters of surrender, then pull it out and compare the feeling- surrender or control, which feels more alive? Put your hand in and feel the temperature of trust, then pull it out and see if you feel anywhere near as alive as you did inside surrender. Practice dipping into surrender, and then in moments of abandon, put your whole self in and feel the freedom. Put your whole self in and shake it all about to fully experience what it is to truly be alive. Put your whole being in and dance in the moment, with all the optimism you can muster.

Once you’ve done the hokey pokey, trust me, you won’t want to go back. It’s like your first time downhill skiing, terrifying and enlivening at the same time. Or the first time you free fall in love, frightening and irresistible in the same breath.  In these moments, surrender becomes your new reality. You discover that you enjoy this new dance after all and wonder why it took you so long to give in to surrender’s charm. It’s these real life experiences of new freedom that give you insight into the true self, the one that was always meant to be and has nothing to fear or protect. Surrender is the prelude to transformation. It’s the hokey pokey theory of transformation- put your whole being in surrender’s dance and turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.

Here is a short list of things that most of us would love to surrender- beliefs that are an affront to your common sense, self limiting beliefs, co-dependent relationships, financial burdens, lingering grief, unsolvable problems. Make your own list, and enjoy letting things go, one at a time.

Here are some of the benefits in surrender- you feel more spontaneous, less inhibited, your experience more surprise (which is close to wonder), less anxiety, less baggage, better sleep, greater wellness, more peace of mind. And more.

So are you up for a little boogie on the hokey pokey dance floor of surrender?

But I hear your protective mind now. “He doesn’t understand”. It’s saying, “Life is slippery. You’ve got to be careful.”

Your protective mind has a partial truth. Your life is worth more than to give it away mindlessly. Your trust is worth more than to give it naively. Listen to your protective mind where its being wise. But your protective mind is also guarding things that don’t need to be guarded. Its protecting you in some ways. In other ways, its holding you back.

It may be protecting the “you” of yesterday or the relationship that feels familiar but is actually killing you inside. Do the hokey pokey outside of protection’s comfort zone and into the possibilities of your life NOW, as it is and could be.

Surrender Beyond Submission

Surrender is anything but passive. It’s more alive and proactive than anything you experience when you think you can control  or protect life. Don’t confuse submission and surrender. Submission is passive. Surrender is active. Submission is deadening. Surrender is enlivening. Submission squashes the ego; surrender transcends it. Submission is when you give in (less). Surrender is when you give over (more). Submission is often forced or an obligation. Surrender is a point beyond conscious decision where you intuitively and let go. Submission feels like entrapment. Surrender feels like liberty. As Blaise Pascal said, “All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling”. The only conscious steps you can take are to remove the barriers to surrender like peeling back the layers of an onion.

How can you tell if you are submitting or surrendering? If you feel guilt or a loss of personal power, you are likely submitting. If you feel more alive and more yourself in an essential way, then you are likely surrendering. If you feel put upon and isolated, you are likely submitting. If you feel liberated and connected, then you are likely surrendering.

Two monks were traveling in the woods when they met a woman who couldn’t cross the river because of the current. One of the monks asked her if he could pick her up and carry her across. She agreed. They crossed the river and let her down. They went their separate ways. After another mile or so, one monk was feeling anxious and troubled and finally told his friend, “You were wrong to carry that woman over the river. It is against our tradition to touch a woman.” The monk who had carried the woman responded, “My friend. I set the woman down miles back. You on the other hand are STILL carrying her.”

In this case, the decision not to carry the woman was based in submission to tradition’s rules. The decision to carry her was based in surrender.

Are you carrying people, relationships, ideas, beliefs, plans, that you would be better off surrendering? Prepare yourself for a sweet surrender by peeling the back the layers of self protection. Yes it might hurt. Yes it’s frightening. Yes it will be different. Yes, you might need to give up some cherished idea of who you are, some familiar comfort you find in the grief. But surrender is a prelude to something far greater- a transformation that will leave you feeling so alive that you will wonder why you didn’t try this years ago.

In the words of Elvis, your heart will be on fire, burning with a strange desire to be one with the moment. All the stars will tell the story of surrender’s love and all its glory. Make this a time of magic, and a time of love. Won’t you please surrender?

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  1. Ness Lum says:

    Appreciate your blog. It particularly resonates with me today, especially the part about the difference between submitting and surrendering. Thanks!

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