surrender

we interrupt your regularly scheduled ~this moment~ because i can’t narrow it down to one picture and today, i’ve got words. 🙂

one of the things that has come home to me from various angles lately is a need in myself for surrender. it was a topic that stuck out to me in caroline myss’s book anatomy of the spirit where she discussed how the healing work of certain chakras is about surrendering to a higher power. letting go and trusting in a higher power was always a big topic in 12 step circles, and my days spent in al-anon are always going to be powerful influences for me, even though i am not currently engaged in the program. it was one gateway that led me back to focusing on healing myself, rather than continuing to deplete my energy railing against a situation i had no control over. in yoga classes i have absorbed the idea of finding the balance point between strength and surrender in each pose, and as with everything, learning this in my body has really helped me apply the concept in other areas of my life, moreso than learning the concept, you know, conceptually.

i think i somehow confused this form of surrender with the other version: the one with the waving white flag. the one that is more like succumb than surrender. subsiding, slumping, succumbing to an inevitable fate, total loss of control, being taken over by the surrounding chaos.  to me, surrender is more of a realization of where myself ends and the rest of the universe begins. a realization of what i can do, a full embracing of doing those things, and a step back from the illusion of control over those other things.


right now, in this moment, i feel as though i am approaching that balance point and starting to understand surrender. i have done a lot of struggling with control, and my relationship with trying to obtain or maintain control. i never understood “letting go” and letting a higher power do things for me, i sort of had a fuzzy understanding that letting go doesn’t mean “do no more leg work”, but that didn’t get me to the point of grasping what it does mean. i still do the leg work. and i still make choices and discern which way to go, based on all the available information. then…

it’s the “then” part i am only just beginning to get. my “equilibrium” state used to be to do leg work, then continue to clench and feel stress and try to hold up the world with the tendons in my neck straining for all they’re worth, on high alert anticipating there being more i need to do, feeling twisted and wrung out by every piece of unsolicited advice and “should” and “have to” that comes my way… but now i do all the leg work and then… i rest. i have done what i could, and now i can be with what is. this is what is. it’s not perfect, it’s not a finished product, it’s just the here and now and the flow. it’s where i’ve arrived, based on where i’ve been and how far i’ve come. there’s no more to do, there is just “be”.

even as i feel i am grasping this concept, it is like water slipping through my fingers to try to articulate. in my tangible world right now, things are changing moment to moment, and each moment has high stress potential. coparent has been irrational and verbally caustic towards me, while remaining a devoted dada to quinn, and the reality of sharing parenting can feel like a cage. a sentence. a collar around my neck that i want to bite and scratch at, in order to get free of it. very difficult decisions are in front of me, some situations that are seemingly impossible to resolve, and the decisions evolve or evaporate or pop up suddenly, with contradicting input coming from every side. well-meaning advice and input can have the effect of adding to the tumult rather than comforting, if i am not centered to begin with, and able to deflect what i don’t need, match up what feels consistent with my beliefs, and keep walking with the knowledge that i’ve got this. if i didn’t know myself very well, i could easily have been swept away or engulfed by all this. and i’ve been, at other times, not very acquainted with myself at all. i’m so grateful that is no longer the case!

it would be easy for someone to succumb in the face of this stuff, rather than surrender. at the end of the day, i cannot get away from what is. i’ll be sharing parenting, and there’s no way around that. i do have all kinds of freedom though. lots and lots and lots of choice, an infinite amount really. it doesn’t mean things will go “my way” and it doesn’t free me of having to deal with a person i find to be very trying. but i can walk through it with integrity, then look back and see myself for who i am, and drink in the truth that everything i need, i have.

surrender is not giving in, and losing oneself. it’s the opposite. it’s being filled right up to the brim.

what’s your take on what it means to surrender?

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8 comments to surrender

  • MJ

    I think you put what surrender is, beautifully. Surrender is acceptance without denigration, and inviting peace despite fear. You are on your way and i see you unfolding like a beautiful bloom. Peace, love and light to you mb :)…

  • Wow, mb. I have been thinking of surrender recently, but your take on it and the depth are amazing. I'd barely started to entertain the idea of it and it's role in my life. I hadn't thought of it in contrast to succumbing. Yes, I can feel the difference. And I really love how you explained what it feels like to get advice. It resonated with me. When I'm not aligned, people's advice feels like more waves pushing me this way or that. I know it's well-intentioned, but it makes me want to hold it in longer before I share sometimes, except the process of expressing it often helps me get aligned. Ah, to know the right people <3 mb, have I told you lately how much I just love you? <3
    wildzen recently posted..Creativity and Good Stuff All Over the Place

    • marybethrew

      yes… advice feeling like waves- it was hard for me to identify this until recently, as i've been more centered in my own beliefs, not that i'm no longer open to input, (i'll never be closed!) but i can see now that even when advice or input would resonate with me on some level, if i wasn't sure of myself, it could still throw me for a loop. hard to put my finger on, still. and i do know that most advice is well intentioned, so i do not wish to sound ungrateful or, like i said, closed off. it's just a subtle perspective shift i think, for me.

  • Thank you very much for this. For me, surrendering to the Divine Will sums it up. I believe that God is in everything – person, animal, plant, object; animate & inanimate. For me when I watch life, I sit back & just observe. I wonder too, why did this happen & not that etc but ultimately I know it is all in good faith & will.

    Here is a article from my teacher on surrender;
    http://www.yogamag.net/archives/1995/ajan95/bend….

    & another from his teacher, longer one but definitely worth a look:
    http://www.yogamag.net/archives/1993/fnov93/say69

    I also have been reading a book called, wait for it, "The Surrendered Wife" by Laura Doyle, it is for women in all different types of relationships. It has really helped me & a few of my friends too. It is great & basically you hand over power to receive more back. Again very interesting & worth seeing if your library has a copy.

    Love Katie x

    • marybethrew

      i have to thank you katie, for your "wait for it" remark AND for being a regular commenter here and so i know you are coming from a really really really grounded, good place. 🙂 but i wanted to run away screaming when i read the title of that book! lol. there, the cat's out of the bag. not only have i never wanted to hand power over to a man, i never even got comfortable with the notion of becoming a wife at all (and have never become one…), not even a supposedly liberated one. lol. i have some issues there maybe? 😉 still, because it came from you, i am going to give this some thought (can't help but think about it actually- it kind of got lodged in my brain over the weekend and kept rattling around in there lol.) whoo! deep thoughts. i know there is more to this than just what a comment can hold, so maybe i will hit you up over email to chat more about it. 🙂 anyway, wanted to say thank you for your thoughts. the articles from your teacher and teacher's teacher are excellent- thank you so much for the links! the mentions of honesty, flexibility, humility, all resonated with me big time, i really like the imagery of the tree bending with the wind, too!

  • You've expressed this so well. I wish I had this kind of clarity.

    I've been thinking of surrender as allowing myself to exhale and let things go. I have done so much holding of breath and anxious shallow inhalations. Now it's time to take deep breaths and exhale and let go of all those things that I can't or shouldn't control and to stop surrendering in areas where I need to stand up and take control.
    tinsenpup recently posted..this moment – Unrequited Love

  • I feel this way right now…like I am surrendering. I knew I needed to, but kept refusing to let go. Then the biopsy forced me to slow down to a point that I realized letting go was not only best, but it was necessary. And I could do it.

    It's a process, though, isn't it? At least for me. I meaning, giving up may be something you can do overnight, but like you said, surrendering doesn't mean not doing any work.
    Lisa C recently posted..Joy Pockets

  • megan

    i still find myself reading and reflecting on this post and learning lots each time. Thank you for this gift! xoxoxo

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