Sunday, March 8, 2015

Learning to Surrender

Maybe you're praying that a loved one recovers from a serious illness -- or that you will get that new job, or that your son gets into his top college choice. Whatever the situation, times like these challenge us to go beyond life skills like critical thinking or organization. In these kind of situations, when we truly have no influence in the outcome, only a higher, more spiritual skill will get us through: the ability to surrender.

Knowing how to surrender requires patience and practice. But it's worth it. When I think about my own life, I can see that when I'm able to relinquish my will to a higher power, things are no longer a struggle; life gets easier. I don't waste large amounts of energy trying to maintain an illusion of control. Instead, I find that by letting go of my grip, a power greater than myself seems to take hold and guide me where I need to go.

Our source of suffering is always related to our resistance to what is. The soul doesn't try to control life; the ego does. When your ego has a tight grip around a desire, your peace of mind and happiness are held captive by a compulsive need to control the outcome. After enough pain and suffering, we’ll eventually get the message: “If I don't learn to surrender my will, I will surrender my peace.”

It takes a leap of faith to surrender our way for the right way. It means letting go of how we think things should be and accepting them as they are. When we surrender, it doesn't mean that we throw our hands in the air and do nothing; it means we pay close attention and become aware of our intuition so we can act on this wisdom. Then, once we've done all that we are guided to do, we let go and allow grace to shine a light on a better path -- one that brings about the result that ultimately serves our highest good.

The idea of letting go became clearer to me several years ago when I wanted to move to a new home, in a better location. In my search for a new place it became clear that my rent was going to go up at least $400! I was already living paycheck to paycheck, and I couldn’t figure out how this was going to happen. I was extremely disappointed. Every time I thought about finding a new home, I'd get upset all over again. I tried to think of ways I could increase my income. Finally, I got tired of agonizing over it and let it go. I decided if I was meant to move it would happen, and I stopped obsessing about it.

When an opportunity came to look at a place I really wanted, the owners asked me what I could afford. I told them an amount that was a stretch for me, however, it was under what they were asking. Even though this place was everything I wanted in a home, I knew I didn’t want to be financially strapped. That evening the owners called me and offered me a deal, to rent their place for the amount I had said I could afford, and in return I was to be a property manager for them. As I hung up the phone, I was in awe, feeling both nervous and relieved.  The next morning I found out  a client of mine decided they no longer needed my services and I was let go! Now my income was going to be reduced a few hundred dollars! As I sat there wondering what to do, feeling very discouraged, I said a prayer and turned it over to the Divine, surrendering my will once again. That evening, to my surprise, I received another phone call from someone wanting to hire me. This not only replaced the income, I thought I had lost, but increased it! By letting go and surrendering my will,  I learned an important lesson. Things often work out for the best in ways that we can't possibly imagine and don't expect.

Learning to surrender doesn't require a long, drawn out series of painfully complicated steps. A simple prayer such as "Help me to accept the things I can't change" can go a long way toward giving us the strength we need to let something go. Let your prayer be a call to grace, one that says, "I'll trust my intuition, take the steps that feel right, and do my best to let go of my attachment to the outcome." Surround yourself with reminders that will inspire you to let things go. I have a picture in my office and also a magnet with the saying, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”. When I'm struggling, these signs remind me to trust and let things unfold as they may. And here's the interesting thing about letting go: When we learn to surrender, we then make space for true miracles to happen.

Are you ready for a miracle?

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