LEAN IN | Surrender


A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me a book to read. She’d been devouring it herself and had new wisdom to share from her readings daily. The book was titled “The Surrender Experiment” and surrender henceforth became this major theme in both of our lives, and our own experiments ensued. 

The story is an honest recounting of one man’s experience when he loosened the grip and leaned into the flow of life. It involved a LOT of saying yes when he felt resistant, and over and over again he learned that when he let go of the impulse to control a situation and steer things in one direction or another, that he wound up somewhere even more spectacular than he could have conjured up himself. The concept in and of itself sounds simple, but we are conditioned to resist like crazy and to wrap white knuckles around what we “think” is right for us. To maintain the illusion of control as we set forth in pursuit of what we desire.

Surrender invites us to release, to allow for ease to weave its way into our lives and yet, it is certainly not always easy. Self-limiting beliefs and old programming rooted in fear have us on hamster wheels that we’re reluctant to get off of for a couple of reasons: A) simply because we’ve been on them for so. damn. long. - and don’t know another way other than to buy into those stories and/or B) we haven't even heightened our awareness enough to realize that we're on them. And frankly once you finally stop spinning, there isn’t always a warm and fuzzy route waiting to soothe your tired legs. We hang on to things like jobs, relationships, homes, personas and identifying factors, etc, because the “letting go” is the scary part, even if it means we finally stop resisting. On the other side of that surrender is often a mirror upon which to view yourself with fresh eyes.

Lately I’ve often heard myself saying that I don’t have any desire to generate force. What this equates to for me in the scope of surrender, is that I seek the path of least resistance. That means my awareness has to level-up so that I’m able to be completely honest with myself when the origin point of the resistance - is me. And then I apply this awareness on micro and macro scales.

Let’s say I’m dying to get to a yoga class on Sunday morning, but my alarm didn’t go off, and I spill my tea on the floor as I’m racing against the clock, and then I hit every single red light on the way and I’d make it to class by the skin of my teeth - if I make it anything close to on-time, at all. Perhaps I could pause and receive the information being delivered, and notice where I could head in a direction of greater ease. Rather than arriving to class on the cusp of a boiling point and completely aggravated at being late, maybe I soften. Maybe I let these hiccups re-direct the ship. Maybe I don’t go to yoga. Maybe I surrender my preference to The Universe and acknowledge that there’s another way.  And then, maybe I let surrender weave its way into facets of my life that are stickier than a yoga class. Maybe I pay attention to when I keep spilling tea.

Here’s what surrender looks like, in action:

  • Tune in: Turn my awareness on and notice where I’m being met with resistance, or where I myself am resisting. 
  • Get real: Cultivating curiosity around where the resistance is coming from. Is there a block that’s keeping me stuck here that I have the opportunity to work through?
  • Lean in: Equipped with all of this information, relax the grip. There is a breakthrough on the other side of these sticking points, and the further we lean, the freer we become.