Let me teach you the most clever life hack I ever learned.
I was trying to find relief not realizing searching for it was its antithesis. Lol.
I’m going to teach you what I learned about surrender and how to use it to leverage the power of who you truly are — life. Surrender isn’t for sissies or warriors. It isn’t for winners or even losers. It isn’t for anybody, actually. It just is. The power behind surrender is always there. Always. It’s only your ideas about who you are that hide it.
See, we have these ideas about who we are. You might know some of the ideas you have. If you’ve been doing ‘the work’ for a lil while, you might know more. Still, you can’t see most of the ideas because they’re behind what you think to do. They’re your character’s motivations. Your character can’t see itself. I don’t mean ‘character’ like your moral quality. I mean like in a play. You forget you’re an actor separate from the limits and drama of your character. You go all-in on the role you’ve been playing… without even knowing you are.
That’s what waking up is. Coming to see you aren’t your character. Your character has been trained like a pigeon or puppy. You learned how to do things for treats, how to not do other things to avoid punishment, and what way you can best fit in with the other characters in the cast. Treats in this context could be attention, money, love, importance, or power. Your character takes a lot of cues from the cast and then backs into knowing who she is. “I must be important because…” “My emotions must not matter because…” But, again, you likely don’t notice you’ve made any of those conclusions. You’re just live ’em out. You see what you do and think, “This is me. this is who I am. I am this character.”
Giving up your character at first is really scary because you have to see it. It can be a little startling to find that what you thought was cute or normal was actually manipulative. You might find that your character lets everyone walk all over them. You may even see that nobody sincerely enjoys your character, they’re just afraid of him. DON’T WORRY. You aren’t your character. And even if you were, so what? Life is about evolution. Even characters can evolve. The objective though is to be characterless. That’s what’s true. That’s what’s simple. That’s what’s easy. I just wanna double underline that no matter what your character did or didn’t do, it’s ok to love and accept them. That’s one form of surrender.
Surrender says, “Hey, it is what it is.” Not-surrender says, “This is terrible. It’s bad this happened. Let me explain and understand and tell everyone why things are like this.” Surrender, as I said, is true. Nobody actually knows why things happened. You can’t. The puzzle is too complex. Plus, you’re a part of what you’re trying to solve. Surrender in this respect can seem like a free pass from responsibility. It’s not. It’s actually ultra-responsibility. When you surrender, you say “Ok.” and then you have pretty much the rest of your attention and energy to do something about what is. Non-surrender often keeps you so busy thinking and talking you can’t do much else.
Surrender in the present can also be called ‘acceptance.’ It happens in your head, not your hands. You can still do stuff when you’ve accepted what is. You just don’t get lost in the stories about what other people might think or how maybe you should have made a different choice. None of that, if we’re real with ourselves, matters. What is, is. Period. The more you can train yourself to notice thoughts that are resistant to life, the more peaceful you’ll be. Thoughts that are resistant are the ones I’ve been talking about. They’re the ones that go on and on and on in your mind or out yo’ mouth about how you don’t like when they do that or you’ll eat less tomorrow or maybe if you explain it like this they’ll understand.
What’s funny about many of the screwy things you do and think, you won’t even notice. You can’t see how badly you’re treating yourself and how hectic your head is until it’s not. It’s kind of like if you grew up eating a lot of low-nutrient food. You have no idea what you’re missing experientially. You don’t even notice anything is wrong. All that can really save you then is grace. When I say that I mean you have an itch that maybe there’s more. You must if you’re reading this and studying these concepts. Grace denies no one who believes. If you call to it, grace will come to you.
That’s part of surrender, too. Surrender, in this respect, means acknowledging that no matter how cool, strong, or rich you think you are, ‘you’ are a part of something much larger. Life. When I say life, I don’t mean ‘time between birth and death.’ I mean all that is. Everything. Everywhere. Always. Other names for it would be god, the universe, & the quantum field. While you might think you’ve been out there warrior’ing on your own little island, you haven’t. You’ve always been surrounded and supported by the rest of life. You can think of it as an ecosystem. Yup, here is this little chipmunk. The chipmunk is over here doing her own thing… in the forest .. with the trees doing their thing… with the dirt doing its… with the rain.. so on and so forth. We exist in a closed system with everything else. All of that is to say, surrender is acknowledging that no matter how loud your hero complex is, you’re in a field full of life and you need only allow it in.
Surrendering to grace, to me, is accepting that you’ve never done anything all by yourself and it’s ok to let the forest help lighten your load. Sure, this could be very simple like asking a neighbor to watch your dog. It can also be profound. Life is in support of life. Surrender is taking the “I have to figure out.. I have to..” claims and transforming them into a willingness to allow the truth (there it is again) that you actually never have done anything by yourself. You have been dancing with life this whole time.
The final expression of surrender I’ll cover today is around attachment. Attachment means you think that something is or will be the source of your [name a feeling]. You might attach to things that are more on the visible side (relationships, titles, money) or maybe on the more invisible side (ideas about who you should be, what life is supposed to be like, what things mean). Attachment is funny in that you often give up something you have to go find it somewhere else. Attachment sounds like, ‘I need to make this work.’ What goes along with that statement, which you may or may not be aware of, is the worry that it won’t. Fear of how you’ll feel if it doesn't. That experience — the worry and fear — covers up the peace and joy you’d experience now except for that you’re concerned you won’t have peace and joy later.
Wild, right? You’re so worried you won’t have conditions later that ‘make’ you happy that you ‘make’ yourself unhappy now. Lol. This isn’t to say you can’t grow, want things, or set goals. No no, it’s only saying that you can become mindful of when you’re doing it in way that makes you miserable now. Being worried is more than ironic. It’s also inefficient. Your brain function is lowered, you experience physiological stress (which is behind a lot of modern health problems), and you’re just not pleasant to be around. Not to mention you really can’t enjoy your life, which is what you’re worried about. Lol again.
When I lay out these things, I’m not pointing out anything new. What I’m doing instead is validating that you aren’t alone in thinking something is weird or off in how we’re trained to live. That while it might be common to be swamped at 100mph and stressed out of your mind, is it worth it? My objective in sharing these notes is to offer you the same thing they gave me — a chance to live my life. A chance to really be there for it.
Surrender isn’t some esoteric concept reserved for people who don’t have bills or goals. It’s a really grounded framework to put into action based in what is always true: 1. You don’t know why things are the way they are. 2. Nobody is operating in a vacuum. 3. It’s useless to be upset about later things at the expense of now.
To nurture your own surrendering practice, here are three steps:
- Get in the habit of noticing when your mind is moving quickly or your mood or energy is low.
- When you notice, do a little shoulder wiggle and snap your fingers (or anything that calls your attention to right now) and take 4 deep breaths. Breaths that make your belly button move.
- Recite a mantra in your mind or aloud to help ground you beyond those negative feelings. “I love you [ your name ]” is a powerful one.
When you aren’t working these steps, you can explore some of the things I said as they pertain to you.
- Why do I want to understand? Can I? What does understanding mean?
- What do I get by thinking I’m doing everything by myself? What might be attractive to me about being stuck in the same place?
- Is there something uncomfortable for me in focusing on where I am? What is my relationship to achievements, things, and ideas? How might that relationship better serve me?
I’ve been working with clients since 2016 to align their minds and habits with what’s in their hearts and who they truly are. I create and facilitate custom programs to clean up beliefs that prevent them from embracing what is and that hold them from their individual voice and genius. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit habitbook.com and book a free info call to see I I’d be a good partner for what you need. I share content regularly on this topic on instagram and have been a guest podcasts you can find here. Much love to you on your journey to where you always are and have been ❤