Instead of the word Surrender, I could use Acceptance – they are inter-changeable in this instance. However it amuses me to use the word Surrender, because the very word used to bring up so much resistance within me. It was one of the Life Lessons I took the longest to learn.
I didn’t like the idea of surrender.
In fact I hated it. Because I didn’t really understand what it meant.
It seemed to me that surrender was giving up. I felt that if I surrendered, I would be a helpless victim. Tossed about by life. That if I surrendered to whatever was happening – the worst would happen. Ironically, it is actually when we don’t surrender that we feel this way. I clung to the illusion of control for as long as I could.
Surrender is easy when there is trust.
It is incredibly difficult to achieve if we have negative beliefs about life and the nature of Creator and Creation. Understandably so. This is why I always say, work on your beliefs, discover what sub-conscious programs are controlling you, understand what your worldview is, and re-program yourself with new beliefs that serve you well.
Last week I had to surrender deeply into dying. Perhaps the ultimate surrender of all.
I have believed a story about myself for the last 13 years – the story is this… that the cancer was a gift to help me grow and learn. It has certainly done that. I also believed that the cancer would continue to develop until I reached a certain point where I was ready to begin really sharing in earnest what I have learned, and then my body would begin to heal. Shades of Anita Moorjani, in her book Dying to be Me. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do. It will change your ideas about life and death.
In the last few months, I have reached clarity about what I would be sharing; what my life will be dedicated to if I live, and I can see why it has taken me so long to get to this point. But that is another story. I feel I am at the point of stepping out in a bolder way, my body appears to be responding favourably to the Chinese Medicine herbs I am taking – some of the more obvious tumours are reducing, and then WHAM, I am hit with challenging physical symptoms and the news that the Doctors believe I will die quite soon.
I admit, I was puzzled. It seemed like the timing was off. Here I was, at the exact point where, for 13 years I had believed my body would begin to heal – and the opposite appeared to be happening. For the first time in 13 years of living with cancer, I was in hospital, and the cancer was impacting hugely on my quality of life.
I realised I had to drop my story. I had to drop the story that had sustained me and given me meaning for 13 years.
I had to surrender into dying.
So I did,
I let go of my story, accepting the physical reality of the CT scan results.
I surrendered, deeply, to dying.
I find it difficult to explain in words, exactly what I did when I surrendered to dying. I am going to try to use words to describe it. They may be inadequate. If they are, I apologise. It may be difficult for those who haven’t meditated to understand what I mean when I talk about sinking deeper and deeper into Being.
I close my eyes, and breathing slowly, rhythmically, go deeper, deeper into my Being, I completely accept the reality of the scans. Completely accept there is a life-threatening tumour encroaching on my heart. Letting go of any resistance. It Is What It is. Feeling the perfection of Divine Timing. Sinking deeper and deeper.. Understanding that everything is unfolding perfectly… sinking deeper and deeper… and then, surrendering to dying. Sinking deeper and deeper…. letting go of any resistance to dying, knowing that if my Soul has finished its learning, its time to go Home… sinking deeper and deeper… the timing is perfect….. sinking deeper and deeper….. knowing everything is unfolding perfectly….. sinking deeper and deeper.
My mind is mostly silent. The chatter is stilled as I sink deeper and deeper into simply Being. There is only peace and love and joy, warmth and silence.
I go in and out of this state for most of an afternoon. Surrendering to dying. Until I reach complete acceptance and know that dying is just as perfect as healing and living. Peace reigns.
The next evening, my heart is playing up, and I tell my sister who is staying with me that I may have to go back to hospital, that I am waiting for that moment when I know I need to go. I sit, without anxiety, in complete calmness.. waiting. My heart jumps and lurches, thumps and races, reacting perhaps to the pressure of the tumour. It struggles to maintain equilibrium. I sit… and wait. I talk to my Soul, I say, “Let’s do this, take the next step and let me see what happens”. Will I die, and go Home? Will I do what Anita Moorjani did? … she went into a coma, her organs shutting down, left her body and went Home, only to be told to go back, its not her time, she has wisdom to share. She said “I’m not going back to that body” and was told that she would heal. She returned, and three weeks later, her body was cancer free. Now she shares the wisdom, inspiring and uplifting thousands of people.
I sit and wait. Eventually, my heart settles, the crisis is past. I sit in gratitude, thankful for this experience that has shown me I have surrendered to death. No anxiety, no fear – just calm acceptance.
My family, when I had told them that I needed to surrender to dying, were concerned it meant I had given up on life and was wanting to die. This is not what surrender is. It is not giving up. My surrendering to dying meant completely accepting death as an equally acceptable option as healing and living. This put me in a place of total peace. No fear. And from this fearless, peaceful state, I can live in the present. Enjoying my life and the many gifts each day brings. I can focus on sharing what I have learned. I don’t worry about the future.. it’s going to unfold exactly as its meant to. I know I can trust that completely.
Never under-estimate the power of surrender. The power of Acceptance of What Is.
When we live life in a state of Acceptance of What Is, stopping our fight against reality, dropping our judgments that it “shouldn’t be this way”, “this is bad”, “Its not fair”…. then we function in a much calmer and more balanced way. We are able to make clearer decisions because our minds aren’t clouded by emotional turmoil. We aren’t stuck in victim-hood. We don’t feel dis-empowered. We are in a much better position to make rational changes if that is possible. If change isn’t possible, we relax, peacefully accepting reality and trusting that everything is perfect. Surrender isn’t passivity and resignation. It is alert, relaxed awareness.
I find this a much more joyful, peaceful, loving way to live than fighting against reality and being worried and anxious, wasting energy trying to control the uncontrollable – Life.
So, how to learn to surrender? Accept What Is. Don’t fight it, don’t resist it. When you fight and resist, you close yourself off. The best way I can describe it, is that on an energetic level, you have wrapped your arms around yourself, drawn your knees up and tucked your head down. You are in a closed, defensive position, and you have stopped the flow of Life through you. Now you are relying on the energy your body can generate from stress hormones. You are going to wear yourself out, because that energy is finite. Your mind is anxious, closed, returning again and again to whatever the perceived problem is. Now you are in a closed circuit, your energy is looping, looping. Because you are closed down, it is hard for clarity, a change in perception, inspiration, opportunity to find a way in.
Breathe and relax. Breathe and relax. You have a choice…. you can either trust Life or not. You can choose to believe that Life happens TO you (unfortunately, our default choice), or you can choose to believe that life happens FOR you. The first choice makes you feel like a victim, because life often doesn’t go to plan. The second makes you feel empowered, because you know you can use everything to learn and grow and become stronger and happier.
Speak reassuringly to your mind – just like you would to someone else who is anxious. Breathe and relax. Reassure your mind that it is safe to accept, safe to be open, safe to relax. And Breathe and relax. If you do this consistently, it re-programs your mind to think in a more positive, uplifting way. Who wouldn’t want that?
Living in a state of Surrender or Acceptance is remaining completely open – all the time. It brings enormous rewards, both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Life is Good.