“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.”-Toni Morrison
This is the quote that opens the chapter on surrender in Sarah Lewis’s book entitled “The Rise: creativity, the gift of failure, and the search for mastery”. I am so happy that I bought this book after hearing her speak with Brené Brown in her podcast ‘Dare to Lead’, you can listen here(exclusively on Spotify).
I recently took a deep dive back into surrender since last writing about it a while back, read here. Who knew that at that time in my life, I was beginning to more deeply understand the fullness of surrender. I wrote: “I love how the jewel of surrender invites us to be an active participant in life. Throughout leading classes this week I felt channeled through me the realization that: when we actively leave our heart open to things as they are, to witness life as it unfolds, that is the act of participation! We are simultaneously surrendering to what is, as we witness it. And, I came to feel and realized that in doing this, we can be simultaneously leaving ourselves open to seeing where life is directing us, where life is moving us. We can therefore, through the jewel of surrender, quite possibly see our purpose in life, or even the purpose of life itself. When we surrender to that divine entity greater than ourselves, which is simultaneously who we are, we can better wade through the waters of life when those waters are choppy and thrashing. And when those waters are pristine, still and peaceful, then we can enjoy them even more.”
I went on to say, “It personally took me many years to come to fully understand that surrender does not equate to letting go and giving up. Surrender does not mean stopping life and not taking action. Rather, surrender means stepping into life, and stepping into our own light, and being courageous in those steps. Being willing to take those steps no matter what the outcome, to live life fully, and to just surrender to where it lands us is what ishvara pranidhana is about. This brings me circling back again to the idea that when we surrender to life’s flow, that we may also simultaneously be available to see where life is taking us, what it is presenting us, and where we might serve others in the best way possible. That creative flow reminds me of spanda, two weeks ago. And perhaps how spanda is kind of like the holy Spirit, moving us towards the light, towards the love, always”
Wow, hopefully you will feel the thread of resonance that follow, as well as some new entry points, new point of view, and new ways of feeling into what surrender has in store for each of us!…
In the book “The Rise”, Sarah Lewis shares that surrender is more of a giving over, and not a giving up. In giving over into the moment, at any moment, we actually are more available to the moment. What I mean by available is that we can become an explorer. We become what I am beginning to call an ‘archaeologist of our own life and soul’. In that moment when we have given over to our senses, and our consciousness, and we have stepped into the practice of being in the moment, to see everything that is within it, with all of our senses and faculties, it is in that moment that we have greatest choice; it’s in that moment that we become what Sarah Lewis calls “our optimal self”. Why? Because, in that moment we are not so tight and rigid that we cannot see, feel, or hear the insights, the possibilities, or the ways in which we can redirect our own self, or the energies that are coming at us. **I feel that this requires us to be brave enough to surrender to what’s been given for us to do, so we give over to it, in order to live. It requires fortitude. And when I say ‘been given for us to do’, I’m also thinking of Sarah Lewis in her book and last week in our intention, to which I did not write a blog about, but you can listen to the podcast here. She states that the biggest lesson that the universe keeps putting in front of her and that she has to keep learning and unlearning and relearning is the lesson of ” knowing what is given for me to do”. And when she says what is given for her to do she is meaning… ” I’m talking about what I feel I have been given to do by all that is, by the beyond, by God, if you call it God. And by that I mean what’s my soul mission?” I believe our soul’s mission is inscribed in the stars and the ether and the cosmos. Call it the akashic records, call it love, call it life, but I wholeheartedly believe that each of us is here with a purpose, even if that purpose is to awaken enough to recognize that we are here and that we matter.
So what happens when we start living life, we start to awaken to these deeper knowings? What happens when we begin to feel that our work and our striving feels as if it’s two steps forward and then two steps back? What happens when it feels as if we’re just continually climbing up an impossible and infinite mountain? This is where I feel surrender has its greatest alchemy and potency. I have come to feel that there is a discipline that we must practice in order to surrender. That we need discipline in surrender, to surrender. The idea of not fighting what we cannot control and instead redirecting that energy, and that thought, similar to how Sarah Lewis talks in her book about the practice of aikido. The discipline and the practices that we continually need to implement in order to be able to surrender. It is only in the surrendered moments, this moment, the moment when and where we are focused, that our experience is of that very second. This is when we can feel the essence that is assisting us, the Universe. It is when we are most in touch with our true self.
Sarah Lewis talks about an Arctic explorer, Ben Saunders, who in his solo journeys to both the North and South Pole, talks about the shifting ice caps that he’s journeying on and how in the morning he would wake up and check his GPS and see that the ice caps had shifted so greatly that he was back at the starting point of where he had started the day before. So, he began to tune in with the wind, the temperatures, and the climates cues. He states, “clearly you can’t change anything that’s going on in this harsh place, but you start to understand it’s rhythms and seasons. You come to a place of surrender to the physical environment. ” I feel that this is so symbolic of what this new idea of discipline to surrender speaks to directly. In those moments where we feel like we’re not making any great change, or we feel we’re being challenged, we are stressed, or even in pain, it could even be chronic physical pain, that we practice surrender. We surrender to the moment, we become present. That’s all our action ever needs to be, aware of what is and whats within us.
We surrender in a way where we are empowered to be present-moment focused that we are able to feel the season of our life in that moment, we are able to behold the pain in our body, or to witness the pain in our heart, or to just see the situation we are living in in this moment alone, not making a story up about it, not referencing the past nor wishing for a future, but just really being present right now. Ben Saunders goes on to say, ” there were days where it seemed completely impossible, and I couldn’t even come contemplate the ultimate goal. There were days when I just look at a bit of ice in front of me on the right bearing north, and just think, all I’m going to think about is getting to that bit of ice there, that’s 30 ft away, and when I get there, if I get there, that will be a success. It’ll be the right direction, and then I can think about the rest of it. So there were days like that where I just had to break it down into the smallest possible steps. “ I invite you to do that right now dear reader, feel free to pause and sit quietly with your eyes closed in a quiet place. Take a couple of grounding breaths that just center your thoughts more into the present moment. And then just be in the moment and notice what you notice, feel what you feel, without holding judgment upon whatever your experience is. Just be in the experience notice what you notice, allow whatever comes in or comes up to just be that. Be in acceptance of what you notice, be the observer and the witness.
Sarah Lewis and her book writes, “When you surrender enough, you feel the heft of a situation or an environment and can better judge how to move with it.” I love how she states prior that, “Surrender heightens perceptions.” She talks about the practice of Aikido here and how she interviewed and studied with a teacher for a while in order to inform her book. The Aikido teacher offered her a quote, “A tactile analogy of how we can hold two objects of the same size and density, say two glasses, one empty and one full of water, and feel their different weights, but we tighten and squeeze our arm and hand muscles more, we won’t perceive the difference in the two weights nearly as much.” Sarah Lewis continued on, “When we are stressed, we lose access to information. And when people are out there on the edge, they need to have access to all the information they can.” That edge can be conflict. Yet, the founder of Aikido saw that edge as the “energy of the world itself”. I’m thinking again here how we have to be brave enough to surrender what’s been given to us to do, whether literally in the moment or more on that macro level of one soul’s mission, so that we can give over to it in order to live and thrive. I’m thinking of the Toni Morrison quote again, and how much is packed into that one statement, “If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it!”
Once you give up the control, you really become the true driver! I love how Ben Saunders started to speak of his solo time out in the Arctic with the word ‘we’! To me that signifies the remembrance that we are surrendering to be present in the moment and to see where we are simultaneously being guided by Source, and where we can guide our self! Source shows us possibility. We are co-creators with Source! Mysterious, scary, daunting, but you sense the path; seeing ideas, insights, feel faith, resonance, and you can feel the positive change! This all allows for our own greater capacity to come forth when we surrender! I’m feeling in my own life, that I want to begin to always say ‘we’ so that I can remember this. And that I am truly “They”, as each of us are, we are our authentic self here in physical form on this planet as unique individuals, and equally as much we are love itself. I Am That, That Am I! I Am Because We Are!
And to remember that we are that, I am that, that am I, is what I realized is one audacious goal, at least that I have in this lifetime; enlightenment. Sarah Lewis talks about how audacious goals can be a form that leads, or be a form of generation and movement in one’s path of mastery. And though I still sometimes can’t wrap my own brain around what an audacious goal would be, I have now found that enlightenment is quite an audacious goal. By definition, audacious means ” showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks”. So truly, for me personally, enlightenment is an audacious goal and to be my true authentic self is an audacious goal because it requires of me being willing to show up in my light and to be bold and take risks when I reveal my light. Another audacious goal of mine is to serve as many people as I possibly can in there journey of healing; and for them to FEEL their worth and have an experience of inner peace.
Before I close, what happens when we are at our wit’s end? What happens when we feel as if we can no longer go on? What happens when we feel like surrender truly is just giving up and that’s what we feel to do? This is where I loved that in her book The Rise, Sarah Lewis shares Hooke’s Law. Hooke’s Law states that “the force of an extended spring is equivalent to how far it is stretched.” She says to “convert our own energy and operate at full force, often we must first surrender.” But as I had my husband explained this physics law to me multiple times until I could feel into how this applies to life, this is my take on the law… Imagine a slinky toy if you don’t know what that is click here. To me this is the knowledge of however far we are stretch, like the slinky, our Light and our energy, our Greatness is equivalent!! Your Greatness is equal to how far you are “stretched”! I remember the adage that ‘God won’t give you what you can’t handle’. And this is where I remember my dear friend, Stephenie, and how she speaks to the serenity prayer everyday: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
So in a way, we just surrender to our own glow! Our own life. Or, maybe you will feel it as giving over to what is in your life, and understand its rhythms and seasons and break it down to the smallest step possible. When we are present we can more better innately and intuitively do this. You are wise, your body is wise.
“You are a discoverer, craftsman, artist, scientist, archaeologist of your own life and soul. Stay tuned in. Stay tuned! Your life is amazing! You are amazing!”-Shawna Emerick 😉
All my love and surrender,
Breathe and Believe.
“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.”-Toni Morrison