Friday, March 25, 2011

what I learned about surrender

Another great call on another great topic!

We opened the call talking about the yin and yang of surrender, how there's good surrender and bad surrender (as I discussed in my last post). And that led us to talk about bad surrender, or "surrendering to temptation" -- which, we agreed, was very similar to getting lost in unhealthy passion. What is it that tempts us to surrender things we hold dear, and what is it that reminds us to dig in our heels and stand up for ourselves?

Some of us surrender to others so we can have "peace" or "tranquility" -- the upset stays within us, where we can control it. Others surrender to others in hopes of getting what they want. There is also that alluring sense of "I'm not supposed to do this" in surrendering to temptation; a feeling that we're getting away with something.

So what do we get when we hold strong? A stronger relationship with our higher selves. A sense that we are being guided by what's best for us instead of what we want right now. An alignment with our fate. I call this part of myself the Babysitter Self. She keeps me from eating late at night, drinking too much, or calling someone who drives me nuts just because I'm lonely.

And how do we get to hang out with the higher self? By making decisions that are in alignment with our values. To do that, my relationship with my coach (the indomitable Robin Jones) has been incredibly valuable. His faith in me has helped me build my strength in myself and, on those unpleasant occasions when my strength goes on vacation, knowing that he believes in me has propelled me to great victories. Similarly, my sister has been an incredible source of strength for me, loving me in her tough and gentle way. (The idea of admitting to my sister that I surrendered a value I hold dear is enough to make me think twice about doing it.)

Interestingly enough, we also uncovered that surrender is both about acceptance and release -- which is kind of funny if you think of that as something coming in and something going out. When we accept things the way they are, we surrender to reality (as it is) instead of fantasy (as we would like it to be). When we release expectations, we can accept things more easily, and have fewer expectations. It's like a snake eating its tail... except more beautiful and less gross.

I admitted on the call to not having felt the "religious" experience of surrender -- some big, sweeping emotion taking me over and letting myself dive into the depths of it. I've wanted that all month, and it hasn't happened. (In fact, just the opposite, as I've found myself in a position that required me to hold quite firm.) But that sparked a discussion about trusting the universe, letting go and letting god, and the challenge of having faith; believing that if I stop searching for something that the universe will provide it for me.

Surrender's not over yet, but already I've found myself focusing more on Release than surrender. Because releasing is something I can do -- I can release the judgments I have about myself. I can release the beliefs I have about aging. And I can release them more gracefully than I can surrender to them.

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