Surrender is one of my favorite topics to teach, because it seems so counterintuitive at first. In fact, for much of 2015, my purpose word was “yield” as I was learning to soften and surrender in my life.
There tends to be a lot of confusion around the idea of surrender, and I get that. It’s completely understandable for us to associate the idea of “surrender” with giving up, quitting, or ceasing to care.
“If I’m not attached to the way things will turn out, how can I accomplish anything? How can I have any ambition? If I let go, aren’t I just giving up, floating around the world without purpose? Doesn’t that make me a nihilist?”
But the truth is, surrender is actually an integral part of our ability to cultivate a connected, meaningful, low stress life–but if we can’t understand what it truly means, there’s no way we can fully embrace it. Surrender isn’t giving up hope or not being an active participant in your own life–it’s the affirmation that we can’t control outcomes, and trying to do so will only cause us pain.
It means that you consciously and purposefully choose the direction of your life, channel your highest full energy towards that intention….and then let go of the rest.
We can’t control what happens-we try like hell, to our own detriment-but we absolutely can’t. And when we attach to the way we think and believe things are supposed to turn out, the only thing we get in return is suffering. Our narrative becomes “this isn’t how it was supposed to be!” or “this is so unfair!”.
The worst part about this is while we’re suffering and lamenting how unfair everything is, we’re so engaged with our suffering that we miss the opportunity to see what’s right in front of us. We don’t see the opportunities presented by obstacles because we are more heavily focused on our desired outcome than desiredfeelings.
But the truth is, attachment to desired outcome is a game we simply cannot win.
When we expect things to develop in a certain way, and it doesn’t work out, we end up with two choices: settle completely in our role as the victim, or aggressively judge ourselves and blame others for why things didn’t turn out as planned.
But there’s actually a third option, one that only manifests once we let go of the outcome, one that can only be utilized when we learn to surrender. There’s a desired feeling that we can only inhale when we learn to yield: Freedom.
When we get clear on our intentions and desired feelings, instead of attaching to desired outcomes, we experience an intoxicating sense of freedom–the kind of freedom that only exists when we understand that nothing that happens is under our control.
I want you to ask yourself a crucial question: how do I want to feel in my life?
What freedoms do I crave? What types of experiences, relationships, and career do I want to have? What lights me up and makes me come alive? How do I never want to feel in my life again?
Figure out the direction you’d like to go, and what you need to align with in order to manifest those things, and back it up consciously and consistently with your energy and your actions.
Then let the rest go.
When you can learn to let go, you’ll twist and turn with life’s obstacles, rather than against them. You’ll have the clarity necessary to see what arises and use it to your advantage, instead of struggling against it. You’ll have awareness and acceptance, which will allow you to learn from life’s obstacles and carve the path you’re meant to follow.
You’ll stop feeling so much unnecessary stress, shame, and frustration if you can learn how to let go of desired outcomes and get in touch with desired feelings.
If you can learn to surrender, to use your immense power to direct your energy, you’ll be capable of being fully at peace with the constant flow of your life.