Sweet Surrender: Shadowwork Season Is Here.
I can see in my life where everything I’ve tried to control was based on a fear of losing, not having enough, not trusting…and I’ve tried to control everything from my eating habits to my intimate relationships to my bank account.
I look especially to my intimate relationships and notice that whenever I was not trying to control the relationship, my partner was. It seems controlling behavior is programmed into humanity. Of course that makes sense given that fear is bred into our consciousness at every turn of the dial, channel, and station.
Surrender is a newer phenomenon for me, one that I’ve been practicing only half the time that I’ve known fear. Years ago a dear soul taught me that the spiritual path is one of trust and surrender. I took that lesson and deepened my own path of spiritual development and quickly learned that trust and surrender are the foundational building blocks of the greatest power of all: Love.
The creation story of Christendom speaks of a God that is Love. A God that created the Earth we know and then rested; surrendering his creation to the process of manifestation and trusting that his creation would evolve and take shape according to his will. I look once again into my own life, at my own manifestations and can see the divine pattern within of creating, surrendering and trusting- after all: as above, so below, as within, so without.
So. To surrender is to love and trust. What you may ask? Yourself. To control is to fear and not trust. What you may ask? Yourself.
I think now is a good time to mention that surrender is a phenomenon distinct from ‘giving up’. Sometimes when you hear surrender you may feel like you’re being asked to give up (on) something or someone. I know that’s how I experienced surrender when I first began my practice. And by the way I refer to surrender as a path and a practice as surrender is not our default behavior and it requires an intentionality and willingness that must be cultivated. Surrender is not a ‘giving up’, rather it is a ‘giving over’ of one’s desires or creations to the process of manifestation (for simplicity sake, in this context the process of manifestation is the process by which something moves from the realm of thought or cause into the realm of effect or physical form).
Look at your outer world, your external circumstances. Find three (yes only three for now) areas you are trying to control. What areas are they? What fear is motivating you in each of those areas? What evidence do you have to not trust yourself in those areas? Perhaps you overeat? Or overspend? Or allow your intimate partners to cross your personal boundaries again and again. Or maybe you avoid relationships to control your emotions and experience of heartbreak. Perhaps you save every dollar you can to control your experience of losing your lifestyle. Of maybe you train and workout to control your body.
Notice how whichever way you express control in your life it’s both valid and disempowering at the same time. Fear is a double edged sword as much as Love is. Fear motivates us to survive as well as suffocates our experience of being alive. Fear keeps you from driving off of a cliff as well as from having authentic conversations with your loved ones.
Distinguishing survival fear from situational tension is essential to being able to surrender to yourself (to manifesting your best life)/ loving and trusting yourself. You are not going to erase your survival fear; it’s an intrinsic part of being human. You can however transform and transmute your situational tension into stepping stones on your path of surrender.
Currently there is a lot of talk about self care and self love, and not a lot of practical conversation around deepening the practices. So while it’s easy to understand why self love is important (I mean who doesn’t want to feel whole and complete, enjoy relationships with others, experience enhanced immunity and look healthy and vibrant?), it’s not always as clear on what actions will allow an authentic love of self to emerge.
Self Love starts with self awareness.
Look inside at the areas in your life that you struggle to control yourself or others. What is your authentic desire or intention in each of those areas? Deeper intimacy? A safe place to live? Enough food for you and your family? Most often as human our desires are rather simple and seek to fulfill our basic needs. This is why fear and our desire to control is so strong in these areas.
For now I invite you to sit with whatever arises for you in reading this. Don’t rush to fix or solve anything that you discover, rather allow yourself to be present to the impact of your behavior on yourself, and others. We will address appropriate resolution to what you discover in a future post.