Surrender. Let go. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s the most direct route to awareness, creativity and expression of self. Contrary to its simplistic sound, it’s one of life’s hardest lessons. And it’s a practice I’ve vowed to refine this year.
Much as we like to think we can control our destiny, there are many things we have little or no influence over. Events beyond our control unfold daily as our world spins around us. They affect our lives and the lives of those close to us, upsetting the most thoughtfully laid out plans. What we can control however, is our response to those events. How we react determines if we thrive and experience a life of joy and fulfillment, or wither, spinning our gears on anger, frustration and feelings of hopelessness.
Here are five attributes that create growth through surrender.
- Focus. Dr. Steven Covey claims the opportunities and challenges we face fall into one of two categories: the Circle of Influence and the larger Circle of Concern. Focusing on those areas we can influence, like our responses or our health, directs our energy positively and constructively. Worrying over those we can’t control, like the economy, terrorism or the weather, redirects and depletes energy.
- Flexibility. Like a tree that has become old and brittle, those who are rigid and refuse to bend, break when the wind gets strong. Those who are flexible like a sapling, survive and get stronger. We choose our reactions. When challenges arise, be prepared to work on an alternative, rather than wasting energy on resistance.
- Acceptance. We know that things over which we have no or little control are going to happen. It’s during these times that test our mettle that we learn about our capabilities, often discovering strengths we didn’t know existed. When I got pitched off a dirt bike and landed in the trillium patch, I knew immediately I had just had a course correction. I had to accept that and move on.
- Resilience. The quicker we get back on our feet after being knocked down, the sooner we get going again. Or we can choose to lie there and feel sorry for ourselves. In Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment, Leslie Porterfield, who has consistently broken world speed records, talks about the many times she has fallen and had to pick herself up again. It’s how she’s become successful in business and the fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle.
- Resourcefulness. There is almost always more than one way to do something. We can remain set in our ways and cling to the familiar and miss out on new opportunities. Or we can surrender, clearing the way to look at things in a different, and often more effective way.
Choosing surrender over resistance frees our minds of worry and fear and clears the way for joy and abundance. It’s a signal that we’re open and trusting and the Universe responds with gifts beyond our imagination. Surrender allows for spontaneity and synchronicity because we’re no longer tangled up with outdated thoughts and beliefs.
Learning to surrender is a life-long process and requires many lessons to acquire proficiency. This year, I’m going to study hard. The rewards are worth it.