I'm taking a few moments from my vacation at the beach to "write in." A mentor recommended a book that I have actually taken time to read. Well, I'll be honest, my e-reader says I'm 65% through it, but I wanted to write in even before I'm finished because I want to talk about surrender. I can't tell you how many times in my life the idea of surrender has been brought to me as a solution to any number of problems, and how many times my efforts to fix things myself have led to, you guessed it, more problems. Surrender is scary. Our cultural stories may tell us that surrender is bad. We must take control of our destiny and make our own luck.
Yet, so many spiritual texts state otherwise. We are told to surrender to the will or the plans of a higher power. The author of the book I'm reading talks about surrendering to the flow of life. When I consider such a thing as surrender, I feel a sour tightening of my stomach and I notice a voice that says, "What?! What if you don't have enough money? What if you don't get to do the things you want to do or have the things you want to have? What if you have to do things you don't want to do?!" However, as I sit and watch the waves of the ocean and the kids on their boards riding the waves, I can't help but notice that the waves will come, there is no changing them to suit the rider. It is for the rider to accept the wave that comes and get on her board or not. When one of the riders reaches the shore, I see the look of exhilaration on her face. The thrill comes not from controlling the wave, but from edge of life where fear, faith, and action come together and for a few moments, she flies across the water. It makes me think that a life lived in surrender must always offer that exhilaration.
My act of surrender today is that I will join my partner on a jet ski this evening. I'm more of a good book and a hammock kind of girl, but this request has been made, so I will surrender my plan for dinner and a movie. The thought of getting on a jetski brings up feelings of tension, tingly butterflies in my stomach, annoyance, and fear. But then, I think about the coming moments of flying across the water and I admit, I feel a little excited...
But I also consider this, what are the things of life onto which I am holding tightly with fear of not getting what I want or of losing what I have? What masks am I wearing that keep me safe from judgement or rejection? What action am I avoiding that keeps me from the flow of life?
How might you surrender more deeply into the flow of life? What fear might be binding you today? How are you telling the waves how to roll? What relief might come from releasing that energy?
The book I'm reading is
I want to update this post to share what happened when I went jet skiing. It. Was. AWESOME! I felt all the fear, all the tension, the butterflies, and I got out there on choppy water, took my time learning how to operate this thing and how it would respond and by the end of the hour I was barreling across the water, soaking wet, wind in my hair yelling, "WEEEEEEEE!" And for a moment, I was dangerous and I was wild and I was free.
Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C
As a therapist, mother, daughter, partner, and seeker, I am always on the journey toward a more peaceful, authentic life. I hope to share knowledge, insights, and the ongoing unknowns I find along the path...