I’ve been pondering this particular rewrite for several weeks now. While thinking about it, I created the featured image so that I could offer you a visual representation of what surrender looks like “to me.” What’s fascinating is that, in the process, what I was creating taught me a little something about surrender that I had never really thought about before.
In the original story, this chapter was an anecdote about the time a good friend offered to let me stay with her so that we could work on getting me sober. My stomach was in knots, and my mind was chattering non-stop; telling me that if I went away, I would surely lose my business. In hindsight, I think it was the alcohol talking. I see no common sense behind the idea. When you’re stuck in those addiction-mind-games, you fail to see that you will “most certainly” lose anything that you’re holding onto if you continue to drink (or use), so trying to convince myself that taking time out to “help myself” would be the straw that would break the camel’s back was preposterous.
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”– Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Anyway, that was my first experience with surrender; I had the marvelous realization that nothing was more important than getting the help that I needed. I had to let go—and go. Still, it would be hard to define surrender at the time. I just knew that I was letting go of whatever it was that was keeping me imprisoned—and I was going after whatever it was that would set me free.
What I noticed about the image is that the things that we hold onto (or that hold onto us)—power, money, clutter, habits, desires and worry (to name a few)—are things that we often “think” or “feel” that we need. I thought it was interesting that they are at the top, and you have to wonder if the poor girl spent half of her life pursuing these things. I mean, she must have had to work really hard to get up there to attain them, right? Some of these things don’t come easy, so it’s almost understandable that she is trying so hard to hold on.
In contrast, the things that we “actually” need—contentment, joy, love, serenity, peace and acceptance (to name a few)—are at the bottom, growing freely. If I were to guess, I’d say that if this poor girl were to let go, she would actually crash land into a soft cushion of all of the things that will make her a happier human being. How weird is that? We fight to get the things that can destroy us, but we fall into the things that we need.
It made me realize that we work really hard to get the things that we “think” are important. We have to push and climb, struggle, sweat and go through a shit load of pain… but we keep going. We WILL get there, dammit, and nobody can stop us. So, it’s no wonder we hold on so tightly when we know we have to let them go.
But the things that we REALLY need, all of those things at the bottom… don’t require hard work hard at all. We just need to let go and take the plunge. I mean, how many times have you talked to someone about their dreams or goals and heard them say something like…
“Well, my short term goals are acceptance and peace, and my long term goals are love, joy, and contentment. I know, I know… I have a long hard road ahead, but I will never give up. I am willing to sacrifice my blood, sweat and tears to make it happen.”
It just doesn’t happen. Not in my world anyway.
Thinking about this reminded me of Adam and Eve, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I often wonder if that tree had something to do with our inclination to think that “we know best,” because that inclination can kill us. I think that’s why I added the snake (that was actually an afterthought). These things that we desire, crave, and fight for—the things that we “think” we need—are like temptations, and they can actually cause us harm. They taunt us, beckon us, and then… when we get close enough… they entangle us. Like the spider’s web traps it’s prey.
That being said, I think that another way to look at surrender is that it is the willingness to let go of the things that we “think” we need, in order to accept the things that God wants to offer us. No sweat required.
We just need to open our hands.
Thank you for reading—
I hope you found something of value here!