In my own life, I have discovered that surrender can offer an invitation to embrace life more fully by deepening our trust and awakening our sense of acceptance.
I would venture that for most of us the term ‘surrender’ is synonymous with giving up or conceding defeat. Surrender is often viewed as the last option; the place we land when there is simply no other choice. But in my own life, I have discovered that surrender can offer an invitation to embrace life more fully by deepening our trust and awakening our sense of acceptance.
Surrender means different things to each of us, at different times in our lives. Depending on our definition and our circumstances, surrender might mean an invitation to embrace what is, or to let go of resistance, or it might mean to stay open to the unknown and stop grasping at potential outcomes. Also, at times, surrender might simply be calling us to relax more into the moment.
We let grace infuse us, and learn to take small steps as we begin to shift our orientation towards surrender.
Surrender can become a path into more lightness, joy and gratitude in our hearts and in our daily lives. But how do we learn to live the way of surrender? We let grace infuse us, and learn to take small steps as we begin to shift our orientation towards surrender.
Surrender found me during a time in my life when I was experiencing intense loss and grief from infertility, my sister’s death from cancer, and chronic insomnia. During that time, my husband and I visited the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. It was there, in the profound silence of the monastery that I first began to hear the call to surrender. As I joined the monks in their daily community prayer schedule—praying seven times a day, from morning vigils at 3:15 a.m. to evening compline at 7:30 p.m.—I began to feel a palpable sense of the beauty and freedom of surrender.
Our week at the monastery soon came to a close, and it was time to go home. I somehow knew my time there had been a turning point, inviting me to live with more surrender, embrace my sense of loss, and connect with more hope, faith, and the power of love.
I was determined to find peace. Even though it was a struggle at times, I knew deep down that the awakening of surrender in my heart was a gift and a grace. Eventually, my husband and I ended up not being able to conceive, and through surrendering and finding more inner clarity and peace we decided not to have children. I also learned to handle my insomnia with more trust, and shift my attitude to one of gratitude for the sleep and rest I did receive each night.
Seven Ways to Practice Surrender Today:
- Practice patience with whatever is occurring—ask yourself if you need to back off from putting pressure on yourself or a situation you are handling, right now.
- Seek moments of solitude and silence—practice mindful breathing throughout the day by stopping and taking three deep breaths at your desk, in between phone calls or meetings, or before you get out of the car to go to work, the gym, or the grocery store. Have faith that small moments add up.
- Suspend judgment of yourself and others—be kind to yourself and those around you. A simple practice is to smile more, and to allow a soft and sincere smile to change your entire energy. Throughout the day, smile at yourself and others with gentleness.
- Relax your body when possible—notice if your jaw is tight, and release it; notice if your shoulders are hunched up towards your ears, and drop them; and notice when you’re leaning forward in your chair, and sit back.
- Be grateful for all the little things—a cup of tea, comfortable shoes, a poem or a prayer, or helpful words from a friend.
- Stay in the present moment—ground yourself by focusing on your feet and asking: Where am I, and What am I doing?
- Meet your resistance with an open heart—Oh, there’s my resistance. And then ask yourself: What’s the invitation here for surrendering?
Within each day is an invitation to embrace surrender and open up to more joy and gratitude in big and small ways. Surrender is a grace and a choice we can make every day.