The idea of surrendering and trusting certainly feels compelling in theory. I don’t know about you, but when I read Lee’s intro, Freida’s and Jen’s stories, and Britta’s practices, I could feel my body relax. I thought, “Yeah, that feels right. I want that surrender. That freedom of trusting myself and the universe.”
Yet, in the times when I most need to surrender and trust, it’s freaking hard to do. There seem to be so many things I feel and circumstances I encounter that make me tense up and get squirmy. I get constricted and want to control. I don’t feel safe to trust and let go, or sometimes not even capable of it. Do you relate to this at all?
At COR, I tend to be the So what do we do about this? guy. Therefore, this month I consider the question: In each moment, how do we actually let go instead of staying stuck in tension or fear? And moreover, how do we trust and surrender even more over time? To complete the month I’m going to give you some actionable teaching to take with you.
Much of the time we are forced out of trust and surrender because we fear what is unknown, and that creates discomfort inside us. While “the unknown” in a general sense can be uncomfortable, more of the time it’s specific qualities within ourselves or consequences of our actions that we personally feel uncertain about. For example, we may notice the question Am I good enough? pop up when thinking about asking someone out or asking for a raise. We may wonder if our family would fall apart if we weren’t there to take care of everyone and took on a more self-caring way of being.
People absolutely hate to be uncomfortable and uncertain, so we move away into something more immediately comfortable and known, even if that thing is bad for us, e.g. any compulsive behavior. We create positive and negative stories about life and ourselves that are easier to swallow, instead of surrendering to what is actually true or what it really wants.
For example, if I’m scared that my current partner doesn’t want the same things as me, I may just go along with their lead instead of taking a stand for what I want. Perhaps I won’t even ask for clarity on important topics because I’m scared of the answer.
By acting this way, we keep ourselves in the safe and speculative, and we don’t surrender to the need to voice our desires and feelings. We don’t trust that the most honest outcome will be okay.
In those moments, not surrendering creates short-term ease but long-term discomfort. What pulls us from the inside but we refuse to surrender to will grow larger, and will require greater measures to maintain comfort which have a greater backlash. For example, shame that turns into drinking, snowballs into larger shame that requires more drinking. Surrender, however, requires upfront discomfort for long-term ease. You have to go straight into what is uncomfortable and uncertain to end up with feelings of natural ease and trust in ourselves.
The practice then is to risk surrendering to what is uncomfortable. We must find the intersection of what we want, what is true to who we are, and that unknown territory that is required to fully live. If we can surrender to claiming our truth, needs, values, and especially the places we dislike in ourselves, we will find ourselves less stuck and more at ease as a reward.
Lee offered that once we trust, we can surrender. And this is incredibly important to remember when we are about to take a risk. We have to trust that everything isn’t going to be totally messed up once we surrender to what is true and unknown, so we garner the courage to actually pull it off. We remind ourselves that we are resilient, and we can handle it.
Yet, in the long term, the opposite principle is also true: The more we can surrender over and over again, the more trust we will feel in ourselves and our environment. Then, the more freedom we will feel to be alive and thriving.
So as you step out of May and move into June, look at where you are creating long-term pain. Where do you avoid the immediate discomfort of surrendering to what is actually happening or needed in the moment, in favor of the known and comfortable?
Find one risk that you could take by letting go of status quo, and take it…and let me know how it goes on Facebook!