Sweet Sweet Surrender
Repeat after me:
I will learn to let go what I cannot change.
I have to be honest, last week this sentiment was a toughie. Out of nowhere, I got hit with a bad cold. A bad, bad cold. And to make matters worse, my mouth was absolutely riddled with cold sores. Not the ones you can see, but the ones inside the mouth, that hurt like crazy when you talk, chew, smile, or brush your teeth. I know, super fun, right?
There was more than one occasion when I tried to eat something and it burned or I accidentally touched a cold sore the wrong way with my fork and calamity ensued (tears, expletives, lots of frustration).
Nevertheless, something good happened during that week of depressed immunity, something I've been wrestling with for a long time.
I realized that there was nothing else I could do but surrender. I tried all my holistic remedies, all my prayers, and even some prescription medication and nothing worked. There was no other option but to actually let go. To even embrace being sick, eat a lot of applesauce and, work to find grace and even gratitude in this chapter of life's lessons.
It wasn't easy, but when something comes up in our lives we can't control - be it a swift and powerful sickness or perhaps something more intense or sudden - being fired, a death in the family, an unexpected move, etc. - we have a few options as to how we react. We can bristle against the situation, push with all our might believing we somehow have the power to control everything, or we can actively practice the art of surrender.
Art isn't always easy to understand, nor is it always pretty, but an artist works to create something of meaning for a higher creative purpose. The art of surrender doesn't mean waving the white flag of being conquered, but it does mean giving up the burden and illusion of complete control.
Surrender is an active dance with the flow of reality. A beautiful acceptance that we don't have the power to control the weather, a sudden sickness, and the changing tides of life.
But we always do have the power to ease our death-grip of ownership over everything, and the ability to lean into the flow of life. Even when sick, we can be grateful for the forced slow-down, the need to REALLY listen-in to our body, and the great appreciation of eventual wellness.
When working with surrender, I and many of my clients have found the following Serenity Prayer to be a valuable tool:
God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
And when all else fails, there's always LeAnn Rimes.