There’s work in surrendering. It doesn’t mean “to do nothing” or even “to be passive”. It is rarely easy. Instead, surrender means to lay down your weapons, to be vulnerable in yielding to something else, letting down the defense, the plan, the control.
And anyone who has ever done that knows it is hard, hard work.
I’m thinking of surrender in terms of birth, (which I usually do), which leads me to drawing parallels between birth and parenting and then all of life, (as it usually does)...
In order to give birth we must get our head out of the way, set our knowledge & desire for control aside. For most, this is a concerted effort. We work to build up our knowledge, devouring books on natural birth or newborn care. This knowledge is incredible power for helping us make informed choices, oh yes. This is big and important. But somewhere along the line, we must surrender to the process. We must let go in order to open to our fullest potential.
Whether the surrender comes with ease or with struggle, there is really no alternative. I mean sure, we can keep grasping at our plan, we can keep all of our defenses up, but somehow, some way, a baby is born no matter what. Autumn surely comes and plant and people will die. Spring will follow Winter even if it snows on the daffodil buds. And what I see is we can be overtaken by the Grace of it all, or we can surrender and really Be in the Grace of it all. In the former, we are probably feeling as though the overwhelming waves of life are nothing like Grace … so I advocate for the latter.
Surrender - letting go of the grasping at our supposed control, clinging for dear life to image we want for ourselves. And big, huge, Holy Trust in the process. Trust in the space, clarity and ginormous opening that is created through surrendering. Trusting that the path is ours to walk, is our divine path, even when it looks dark (there is a light somewhere, I am certain … it’s in our own hearts). There’s exquisite beauty in a woman surrendering to the great power of birth, moaning all the way as her baby surrenders, too, to the act of being born. When the “birth plan” is tossed aside, and a woman surrenders her fears for trust of her self & baby so much she can say “yes” to intervention, that too is a beautiful surrender. Both ways and all ways in between involve our active participation.
True surrendering is not giving up. It is a choice to soften and open and allow the New, Truly Divine Plan to wash over us, to emerge as us.
Surrender is not complacency. I’m not saying that we have no control so we must just give up to “it all”. Oh no. I am not advocating that you allow others to have power over you. There are definite aspects of life we can control, or at the least, we can influence. The two biggies that I see are: 1.) Attitude! and 2.) We attract what we are, what we think and what we believe. Phew! These two realities offer us power with our lives, power with our situations, a sense of empowerment. If we use these tools mindfully, they keep us from being over-powered. But if we are living our life from a place of fear, clinging, and force then that is what we are attracting. Consequently, we are likely pretty bummed, worried, and frustrated about our situation, and so the cycle repeats itself. Sometimes we just don’t want to surrender.
The magical part to me is how an attitude adjustment can radiate out into all aspects of our life. Seeing the wild, raw beauty of life, refocusing on courage and softening the heart, believing you are worthy, practicing deep gratitude … attitudes like these cultivate more courage, more beauty, more acceptance, more self-worth, and more of whatever you are grateful for. I see this play out daily in my own life and the lives of others. I try to find the good, because it nearly always creates more good. I can’t control much of what happens to me, but I can control my attitude. By controlling my attitude I am finding the good in the present, influencing my future, and influencing how I will handle my future.
Within the act of surrendering, wether effort-full or easy, there is a softening of the desire to control life. We want to control it! I know I do at times. I want it my way. And, in truth, I am afraid of what is beyond my control. When I allow myself to surrender I am softening and opening to see what is in store. Wonder replaces fear. Slowly, I become more adept at co-creating with life and enjoying it as it is instead of always aiming to control.
Birth is an ultimate opportunity to surrender. It prepares us for the journey of parenthood, of life, for the countless times we toss our own plan aside and laugh or cry at the myth that we’re in control. We surrender to the heartache, anger, the heat of family life and allow pure presence to pervade. We gain clarity on our child, ourselves, our hearts desire through our surrendering. We start to see that we can’t control our birth, our death, our kid, our partner …. Yet we can control our mind, attitude, our openness to Grace.
By surrendering, we are opened wide, and Grace flows ever more.