Are You Giving Up Or Are You Surrendering?
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a
bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
On April 29, my daughter will be18. Whew, let me take that in for a second.
Here we are moments after her birth. She's searching for me and I'm searching in space. Why? Partly because I was gut wrenched on what to do next now that I'm a "mom." Partly because I was processing a message in my head. Not a thought but a voice. At first, it was a whisper "let it go." Exhausted I didn't understand so the only thing I let go was making sense of this voice and it's message.
Then it came again but stronger, "LET IT GO." After seven miscarriages, this statement now struck at the very core of my fears. Is this a warning to not get attached for she might die? I turned the "best" moment of my life turned into an exercise of catastrophizing. Typical.
It came again gentler and clearer this time. "Learn to surrender to something higher than yourself. Let it all go." Although the words were clearer the message was not. To me letting go meant giving up. I was damned that after I got this far in life, I was going to soften or (gasp) release the death grip I had on my life.
Fast forward three years and as Bailey was playing on her own and I laid on the couch crying and unable to move, due to fibromyalgia and a host of other syndromes that left me in chronic pain, I heard it again. Depression and chronic pain had me at my wits end. Medicines helped but created a whole other set of issues. It was a bridge that allowed me to mother and exist but this was no life. Then I heard it again:
"You must learn to surrender everything or die trying to control everything."
Now this made more sense. I had tried so hard to control EVERYTHING and this was draining me to the point that I didn't even recognize myself. I gave as a wife, mother, yogi, employee. Commuting 2 hours each way to go to work. Something finally broke. I just couldn't continue anymore and then fear set it. I felt like I was giving up on myself and felt defeated. So I looked up the words and made sense of them.
Giving up feels intense and extreme because it is a black-and-white solution. Most of life is in the gray.
Surrender feels peaceful and is often accompanied by a sense of relief, and giving up feels hopeless and like a defeat.
My commute was killing me. It wasn't until I literally said "OK universe I can't take this pain any longer. I give it to you and I surrender to whatever is supposed to be for me."
A few weeks later my grandparents admitted that they were very ill and needed caregiving. They lived in Miami. There was no way I could commute in the opposite direction for two hours and tend to them. That was the sign I needed. I resigned from my job and spent the next 3 years helping them till they passed. The decision felt peaceful and was actually a relief.
I have learned that it takes much more internal fortitude and yet much less energy to see and accept things. It doesn't mean I agree. Nor does it mean that I can't change things. It means that instead of going on autopilot and live with blinders I really pay attention to what's being presented to me. It's either going to be a door opening or a door closing. If I make it out to be more than that, I'm fooling myself.
This is highlighted in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as the practice of Ishvara-pranidhana. Yoga Sutra 1.23; To completely surrender our individual ego identities to our own higher Self.
Give it a try. When you just can't anymore because you feel like you're fighting a war outnumbered, surrender your burdens to something bigger than yourself. Whatever that "something bigger" means to YOU.
All my love,