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The Art of Surrender
February 5, 2018
Surrender is an interesting concept. The idea of it is somewhat easy to understand. But when you face unrelenting unwanted circumstances which feel out of your control, it is like an emotional whiplash.
In a flash, your world becomes very small as the shock sets in. Cold runs through your veins. The rhythm of your heart seems to encompass your entire body. It’s an aggressive jolt in which parts of you shift, turn on, turn off, and you know your life will never be the same.
In general, as humans, we fight change with every ounce of our being. We fear the unknown and some of us try to avoid it at all costs, even if we are unhappy in our current circumstances.
However, this “fear of the unknown” is a lie we tell ourselves. What seems to be known is an illusion rooted in safety and comfort. In reality, everything is unknown. Waking up tomorrow is unknown. Having a job tomorrow is unknown. Relying on your partner to put your best interest first is unknown. The world as you know it remaining the same is unknown. What tomorrow will bring is unknown. What someone is thinking about you is unknown. We use denial, distraction, assumptions, and what appears to be consistent to make us feel safe. We rely on what appears to be consistent. This is until we come eye to eye with the glaringly obvious unknown, and we can no longer run or use our defenses to avoid it. Some describe this moment as scary, others would call it thrilling or a reminder of our fragility and mortality; a reminder we are ALIVE. We may experience any or all of these emotions and many more at the same time. Facing the unknown is essentially the ego loosening grip on it’s comfortable reality.
And often what follows is quite a wild ride. There may be mourning, elation, layers of emotions about having certain emotions like guilt and shame, and wonderment at the awe of life. And then there is the inevitable burnout when you become too exhausted to feel anything. And this is your doorway to surrender.
In the past, you may have felt inspired by witnessing others in a state of surrender. And it may have felt like it was too slippery to grasp in the instance you wanted to. As if you can see it in the distance and imagine the freedom of reveling in it, but feel blocked from accessing it. Because you are.
We currently live in a world of duality. For every personality part, we have an opposing (often repressed) personality part. We can love and hate ourselves. Joy would be unrecognizable without pain. And the vibrational opposite to surrender is resistance. We are very good at resisting, it is second nature. We can easily state (and focus on) what we don’t want, what we fear, what we wish was different, what’s lacking. This can play out in life altering ways such as not allowing oneself to fall in love with anyone. And it also shows up as subtly as the annoyance which bubbles to the surface when stuck in traffic. Any type of resistance to what is is like pushing against a wall. And the irony of life is that what we resist persists. So, by pushing against something you are also fueling it with your energy and therefore calling it to you at the same time. In addition, resisting shuts doors to new opportunities and cuts off being in flow with life. It is resistance which blocks us from leaning into surrender. Resistance appears over and over in our stories about fear and our worst-case scenarios.
How to Surrender:
It is hard to make technical something that is an intuitively emotional process. But here are some steps to move you in that direction: If you can slow yourself down enough to notice when you are using resistance to narrate what you are facing, then you can direct your attention towards any openings you can find about the situation instead. Openings include “silver linings,” ways in which you are not paralyzed with fear, or anything which feels like a deviation from complete resistance to the situation. And if you follow these openings further to create other perspectives, other potential outcomes and discover how this situation is a gift for you, you may begin to become more hopeful. The anxiety may even transform into excitement (this is emotional alchemy). Now that’s not to say that the dread is gone forever and that the panic will never hit you over the head again. That is of course, unknown. But there will be more balance. There will be a full picture instead of one narrow limited perspective stemming from resistance which keeps you stuck in dread. You may feel lighter, and liberated.
And after all, surrender wouldn’t be surrender if it was in relation to a wanted circumstance. There must first be felt resistance in order to flip the coin and experience the act of surrender. And so, we can be thankful for the resistance which creeps up and shows us where our imbalances are around a situation. Where we are biased in our perspective. It is the teacher guiding us to freedom. Trust that you can open your arms and fall backwards into the unknown with your fear by your side, and because of your resistance. Surrender.
If you would like support with facing a difficult situation and letting go of resistance contact me at Alyssa@alyssarand.com