Surrender. A word I did not use much until I had children, and then it emerged as one of the central experiences of motherhood. Yet one does not have to be a parent to embrace this concept. The ability to surrender is a powerful tool for mastering your thoughts and emotions.
The next time you feel upset, ask yourself if there is something you have not surrendered to. Chances are you are resisting something that exists (or perhaps does not exist) in the present moment. If you resist reality, that resistance causes suffering.
To surrender, in its subtlest form, is to cease resisting. In its most theatrical definition, it is the act of “abandoning oneself entirely” to the moment. To surrender is to let go of your own expectations of that moment (but I wanted a day off . . . I wanted us to be together . . . I wanted to curl up and read a book . . . I wanted to drink tea without anyone climbing me . . . I want, I want . . .)
As a mother of a four year old and a one year old, with a service-oriented career, I find that I can enjoy each day more when I do not allow my own agenda and desires to create resentment. By surrendering I can hear what each moment is asking of me. By staying present (and not drifting off in my mind to my expectations) I see and hear my children more vividly. I notice their little facial expressions. I overhear the amazing story lines they create in play while somehow managing to spread the toys out all over the floor in such a manner that every single square foot of flooring in the home has at least one toy on it. And despite being tired and behind on work I can laugh more and enjoy this wild role of Mother.
Surrendering does not make you a doormat. You do not have to give in to the demands of a screaming toddler. You do not have to take on more than you can handle. You can still express yourself. You still choose what actions you are going to take in any given situation. You are not surrendering to other people—you are surrendering to the present moment. To the reality that is manifesting itself right then and there.
There is a hidden benefit in surrendering. By letting go of your own expectations, you release the energy you were wasting on clinging and you can now direct your resources towards choosing the right course of action. You do not have to love what is happening, you do not have to think it is right, or fair. But in accepting the present moment, you can use your energy to do what has to be done. And by letting go of all the thoughts around resistance, you also create room for inspiration. Not only can you choose the right action for that moment, but you can also gain insight into what that difficult moment can teach you. Our most challenging moments in life are full of lessons and hidden messages, and if we embrace the difficulty we can learn and grow from that experience. Allowing life to unfold allows you to experience it with less suffering and more clarity.
Thank you for reading, and if you find something of value on these pages, please share it. The time I spend writing is well spent if just one idea here improves someone’s life.