The Beginners Guide to Surrender in 6 Simple Steps
Surrender is NOT for sissies.
Surrender, by definition, means relinquishing control…a frightening concept for us control freaks. Surrender drops you swiftly into a sea of uncertainty, at the mercy of your worst fears, producing serious doubts about ever being productive again. I’m speaking from experience here.
But, despite the discomfort, I’m fast becoming a fan. Something happened when I stopped struggling to impose my will and surrendered to receiving guidance – financial success started to feel like a spiritual journey.
Primitive cultures and Eastern Religions had rites and rituals to honor the ‘Time- Between’. They took their people out of the villages, into the wilderness, allowing them to connect with their spirit guides, reassess old ways of being, recognize their true purpose.
But no one teaches us, or even encourages, this practice any more.
So, for those of you wishing to take some time out in a rich and rewarding way, I bring you The Beginners Guide to Surrender (so named because it’s written by a total beginner…me!). There’s no need to leave your village, or even your job. Just follow these 6 simple (though not easy) steps.
Step #1 – Eliminate everything but the most essential:
I remember saying to my guy last winter, “I wish I could take the next month off!”
“Why don’t you?” he responded.
I gasped. Taking time off was unthinkable. Or was it? I decided to ease into it slowly, by saying ‘no’ to things that didn’t feed my soul, no matter how lucrative…or tempting. I said ‘no’ to speaking invitations, ‘no’ to networking opportunities, ‘no’ to new clients, ‘no’ to writing my newsletter and blog. If anyone asked, I was on sabbatical until further notice. I continued a little teaching and coaching, but only because I wanted to.
As a result I was left with a lot of down-time…which, of course, is the whole point.
But to many, down-time is a dirty word. And I know why: we’ll do anything to avoid the dreaded step two.
Step #2 – Allow uncomfortable feelings to surface:
Uncertainty, fear , self doubt–all those demons we’ve been artfully dodging through over-work, over-eating, over-spending and other drugs of choice—will inevitably rear their ugly heads.
For me, my biggest fear was being invisible, disappearing, not mattering. I knew that was exactly what I had to face. Because, I knew very well, on the other side of fear is power. And, more than anything, I wanted to retrieve all the power I had given away in a myriad of ways. So, too, I yearned to retrieve all that creativity I felt I lost. To that end, I also knew that uncertainty, as anxiety producing as it was for me, is the natural beginning of all creative acts, a primal state of pure energy, a very fertile time.
It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but I buckled in for the ride. As I wrote in Overcoming Underearning: “When you learn to face that which makes you fearful, it need never control you again.” I genuinely believe that!
Step #3 – Reassess, reevaluate:
The first question most people ask themselves, when facing uncertainty, is: what should I do? I’m here to tell you, that’s the LAST question to pose. The first questions should always be: What do I need to let go of? Where am I giving my power away? A big piece of surrender is letting go of what’s holding us back, reclaiming our power. How do you know what needs to go? Whatever you’re most afraid to release.
For me, I was willing to let go of writing, speaking, my business in general, my identity in particular….I was willing to make space for whatever was to come next.
I used the time to ask myself questions: What am I here to do? How do I want to live? Who do I desire to help? Where do I want to make a difference?
I journaled, meditated, read A Course in Miracles, joined a mastermind group, processed my insights daily with friends.
Self reflection became my major focus.
Surrender means taking time to go within. It also means looking outward with new eyes. That’s what Step #4 is all about.
Step #4 – Receive consciously:
Receiving is an acquired skill most of us have never learned. I’ve come to see that Successful Surrender requires Conscious Receiving. And the first Rule of Conscious Receiving is: Give Up Judgment. In other words:
- Everything that happens, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, is seen as a message or a gift.
- There is no negative, there is no positive, there is only information.
- Whatever occurs during Surrender is simply feedback about your future.
For example, during this period, I got an idea for a book, was all excited, and sent it my agent. He rejected it immediately. Normally, I’d be devastated…and, admittedly, I was for a bit. But I began looking for the gift, the message, the lesson. I figured it wasn’t time for the book but I’d be shown when it was. And if not the book, something else will surface.
I continued to journal, meditate, self-reflect . Then, a few weeks ago, someone asked me when I was going to do another newsletter. Of course, I took it as a sign. As I wrote it, I felt compelled to blog. Who knows what’s next!
Step #5 – Enjoy yourself:
Surrender doesn’t need to be so serious. In fact, it shouldn’t be. I believe fun factors heavily in healing. I set an intention to include lots of play and pampering into my schedule, to be vigilant for opportunities to nourish myself. My boyfriend moved in, and what a joy he’s been. I have regular massages. I work out religiously at the gym. I visited my kids and my grandkids. I made plans to go to Sedona with friends. I’m always looking for a good laugh or a big hug, whatever lights me up.
Step # 6 – Do what comes next:
I’m convinced, as I follow these steps, opportunities -often disguised as coincidences – will arise. In fact, I’m counting on that fact. My job is just to do what’s next, grabbing whatever the Universe tosses my way. I’m still in the thick of surrender, but I swear, I see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just not sure what I’ll find in that light. But I trust it will be glorious! Not necessarily glitzy or grandiose. But deeply satisfying and truly meaningful. Oh what a grand adventure life is!
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