Our daughter came home recently from a whirlwind trip through Europe as sick as I’ve ever seen her. Too many countries, late nights, lack of sleep, close quarters was the perfect combination to totally wipe her out. Upon her return, she had a lot she wanted to accomplish and people to see; the spirit was willing the body was impossibly not able. It was very clear that the only thing she could do was to allow herself to be sick and respond to what was needed in the present moment which was parking herself on the couch for 5 days, sleeping when her body told her to, allowing others to do for her, and letting go of what she thought her homecoming was going to look like.
It reminded me of a similar learning when my mother was gravely ill and we were going from doctor to doctor, test to test, to figure out what was wrong and what to do to help her. I was trying to keep my business going, trying to tend to my family, my home obligations, and be available to my mom. I had one of those “shake you to the core” moments when I was sitting with her during a transfusion and the nurse came in to tell me that she thought she would have to be admitted. I had clients waiting and other obligations imminently pending. I remember saying, complaining, that “all I’m doing is running to doctors and this is now my whole life.” And, then, it hit me, like a brick; yes, it is all I’m going to be doing now and yes, now, it is my whole life, or at least what my current life was going to be totally devoted to. And, in that moment, there was such a sense of relief and letting go and not trying to make the moment what it could no longer be. I now recall it as one of the most significant, magical, and freeing experiences that I’ve ever had. It allowed me to let go of what my life had been up to that point, to let go of what I was trying to make it be, and to flow and be available to whatever came up. It allowed me to present and clear as to what each moment called for and to be free to respond, without critique or regret. It also allowed me to be the best daughter I could be and that the shifting and re-prioritizing was in deference to that. It also allowed me to be present to the flow of all things; that this chapter was temporary as well.
In my office I have a sign on the wall that says, “If something brings you down, it is because somewhere you have a secret stash of clinging.” Surrender comes from the awareness that life has to unfold in its own way, as do people and that there is a pain, a strain, to make life and people be what they cannot. How many times have you heard people complaining about a child, a parent, a partner, an employee who, “if only they would………blank, blank, blank”?
Sometimes people can adjust, grow, listen, shift. Sometimes there can be more money, or the flight can be changed, or the employee does take to heart the performance review, the wife really hears what bothers her husband, the tumor is just a cyst. But lots of times people and events show up in our lives, fixed and unyielding. It’s those times that we’re provoked to go into overdrive and affix meanings and blame and intention and intrigue. We want to make circumstances and people be what they cannot. So, what to do?
• You can breathe into it, to feel the power of what the present has to offer.
• You can ask for help
• You can remind yourself that, even “this” is temporary
• It’s not always about you, or connected to something else. That acceptance can open you up to a new insight or a departure from resentment. Being present to the present is freeing
• Experiencing a situation or a conversation as a sole event and not the “same old, same old.” Sometimes, oftentimes, people are just being who THEY are, not who they are in relation to you.
Surrender is the letting go of what our mind is telling us is reality to allow us to fully engage with what really is.