The Art of Surrender

I was having lunch with a friend and we got on the topic of times in our lives where we have to let go and surrender to what is. Trying to control something out of our control only stresses ourselves out and doesn’t help the situation or our stress levels.

There are many times in my life that I have surrendered, now don’t get me wrong surrendering is an art form and must be used at the right time. Some people can use it as an excuse for giving up on something. I don’t want surrender to be misconstrued with giving up.

There are certain things that we can control in our lives. We can try to make good choices, with what we eat, how we treat our bodies, how we spend our free time, which people we choose to spend our time with, and lifestyle choices that support us or sabotage us in our daily lives. Life is certainly tricky and unique to each and every one of us.

There are many things in our lives that are out of our control; how we grew up, our parents and family we were born into, and hard times that we face in our lives, racism, sexism and classism. Deciding when to surrender can be a powerful tool to use in your life, to help get you through the really tough times.

I made the very difficult decision to file personal bankruptcy back in 2008, once I made the decision, I surrendered the decision to the Trustee who oversaw my case. I could have lost The Wellness Center and my home, but amazingly I walked away with both intact, and created a payment plan for my debt and paid it off within a few years.
When I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, after a year into my service I went into a deep depression. I was crying every day, I couldn’t get out of bed and was obsessed with food and calories. I was sent to the Capital of Nepal, Kathmandu for a psychological evaluation. After seeing a few counselors, the medical nurse, Debbie that was in charge of my case, with certainly said, “pack your bags you are going to be transferred to Washington D.C. for evaluation.” In peace corps terms I was going to be “Pysch Vaced” Yes, it is as bad as it sounds a psychiatric evacuation, for a Peace Corps volunteer it is equivalent to getting discharged from the military service. It feels like you are a failure and it is something to be ashamed about. This was another time I had to surrender. To make matters worse, my whole family was planning on visiting me in just 10 days and I would be in Washington D.C., instead of Nepal! The timing couldn’t have been worse.

I surrendered and accepted that I was going to be sent home, and most likely would never be back to Nepal. The amazing thing that happened, was the Medical Nurse’s request for a medical evaluation was denied! She said in the 10 plus years she had worked with the Peace Corps she had never been denied a medical evacuation request. It was very humbling. While I am not religious, I do believe there are angels that are above looking over me.

I suppose part of surrendering, is surrendering to things that are beyond our human control, and instead surrendering to a higher spirit or power.
All we can do is our best in our day to day lives. To show up for ourselves and for those we care about and love. We will make mistakes (lots of mistakes), take time to reflect on those mistakes and in turn make better decisions for the future. Without reflection, we continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. This truly is the definition of insanity.

Work hard, be thoughtful and conscious in your decisions, be disciplined (there are too many temptations in our society, learn to say no and your life will transform) and at the right times… surrender. When you make mistakes, don’t berate yourself, give yourself limitless self-love and compassion, recognize you are human and move forward.

 

Onwards and Upwards,