Wednesday, March 26, 2008


"The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure. As stars high above earth, you are above everything distressing. But you must awaken to it. Wake up!"
~Baruch Spinoza

Surrender is a dirty word for many people. I've known folks who have been on the spiritual path for longer than I've been alive who still have great resistance to the concept of surrender. When you look at the primary definition on, it's really no wonder: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police. Even the definition that I'm using doesn't sound much better on the surface: to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship. There's great fear that surrendering means we'll have to give something up, or even just give up in general. But what does "giving up" really mean? To me, anyway, it means to stop trying. And boy oh boy, is there ever a lesson for me in that. There is great power in ceasing to try to do anything. It's like Yoda says: "Do or do not. There is no try." The more we try the less we do, not to mention the more we get frustrated.

One day last week I was working on some things having to do with my finances and I could feel myself getting anxious about it--never a good sign. As I was trying to shake off the anxiety, I had an image pop into my head of Liz Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love, when she was lying on her bathroom floor crying and talking to God. This image was quickly followed by one from the movie Saved! where one of the Catholic schoolgirls is kneeling by her bed crying and praying wildly. I thought, well, I've never tried it--who knows, maybe it's exactly what I need to do. So I went into my living room and knelt down, going almost into Child's Pose with my forehead touching the floor. I just started talking out loud, expressing how I was feeling about money and where I was looking for resolution. Before I knew it, a flood of emotion came out and I started to cry, ultimately lying there with my head on my arms repeating, "I just need some help, I just need some help," over and over again. Suddenly, I felt this deep sense of calm and stillness come over me--I moved into a seated position and sat there for a few minutes breathing in my newfound peace. Before I could get up and go back to my work my phone rang--it was a friend who wanted to pay me to do some work for her. I burst out laughing and when I hung up I simply said, Thank you.

I've invested a lot of energy lately trying to surrender--what happened that day was that I actually surrendered. I gave up in the sense that I stopped trying to do anything. My intention was in place, but I was holding on to it so tightly there was no room for the Universe to provide. By letting go, by surrendering, I opened myself up to solutions I never could have forced into being. In the end, surrendering isn't about giving up anything--it's about moving yourself into alignment with Life so you can begin to accept all the good that Life has to offer. This process reminds me of the poem at the beginning of Wayne Dyer's Your Sacred Self:

Broken Dreams
author unknown

As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dream to God
Because He was my Friend.

But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
"How can You be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "what could I do?
You never let them go."

What are you holding on to? What are you ready to receive? Can you begin to see how you might surrender it to the Universe, thereby allowing it to come into fruition? Take the leap of faith with me this week--truly surrender whatever it you find yourself holding onto most tightly. Experience the deep peace that surrender brings, and see what shows up to support you. Namaste.

Photo: "Sweet Surrender," originally uploaded by What's in a name...

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