Wrestling with Surrender

Back when I still did ‘word of the year’ (which, to be fair was like 2018 and 2019 before I abandoned the concept), one of my words was ‘Surrender’.

Surrender is a funny word. It sounds like giving up, like an absence of action.

But if you’re someone who was trained by life that you’re the only person you can rely on, that nothing good will happen if you’re not in charge, and trusting anyone outside of yourself is a guarantee for , ‘control’ is an unconscious reflex.

Making surrender a wilful, intentional and repetitive act if it’s going to exist within you at all.

This week, I’ve worked separately on three other pieces for Miscellany:

  • one about the problems with conflating personal experience to universal truth,
  • another questioning the wisdom of the ‘high frequency’ codes, and
  • a third about choosing our beliefs.

But I wasn’t *feeling* any of them.

Instead, the word surrender turned itself over in my mind.

My body is still in recovery from chronic burnout;

I’m on day 10 of my THIRD virus since February;

with a list of things ‘to do’ as long as a boa constrictor;

and a body that is very insistent that we never return to the burn-us-to-the-ground hustling that built my business in the first place.

How do you know if it’s surrender or giving up?

How do you know if it’s surrender or being lazy?

How do you know if it’s surrender or procrastination?

How do you know if it’s surrender… full stop.

Thus, I’m writing about this instead. 

What does surrender mean? 

Sometimes surrender means to stop pushing and trust – but some of us have learned, correctly, that if we stop pushing nothing and no one else pushes for us. 

It also begs the question – who or what are we surrendering to? 

I’ve noticed the stirring of a universal energy that feels like support, but my personal experience won’t be the same as everyone’s. 

The best way I can think of surrendering is the difference between a tight, gripped hand trying to death-grip, white-knuckle everything, 

And a palm open, upturned

We think we’re in control of everything when we grip tightly. 

But actually, the tighter our grip, the less space there is… for anything. 

When we open our hands and hold them out flat and upright – 

Yes, there’s more space for things to jostle and move and maybe fall off – 

But we also hold an infinite number of atoms from the palm of our hand to the ends of the universe. 

With all this in mind, here’s the meaning I *think* I’ve landed on: 

Surrender is actively opening our hands to the universe. 

It’s acknowledging that there are more things out of our control than in it. 

It’s focusing on what’s in our power and giving ourselves grace and compassion for the things that simply aren’t – even if we feel our bodies *should* be up to it or our mental capacity *should* be more.  

And if it’s within your belief system, it’s accepting supporting from whatever external energy you have access to – whether that for you is God (or Yahweh or Allah), the Ancestors, the Universe, *insert yours here*.  

I’ll be continuing to work with surrender, I’m sure. 

If you’d like to do some reflective work around it too, here are a couple questions you can use: 

‘Where in my life am I gripping so tightly that there is no space for anything to breathe/magic to happen?’ 

‘Is there anywhere in my life where I feel there is space to surrender? If yes, where and what does that look like?’ 

Remember, surrender doesn’t mean giving up. 

Maybe it just means loosening our grip enough to let the possibility of magic come in.

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