Time to Surrender
OOhhhh, this thing we call Life is challenging the life out of us.
So many things are coming against us and any one of them has the potential to break us, in fact, it has already done that to far too many of us. Plans for our life, our work and our families have constantly changed and disappointed and pushed up against our need to control, especially in what seems to be an out-of-control society, (it’s not really, but that’s another blog.)
Surrender in conflict is often equated with defeat or “losing,” but it can open you up to listening more intently and purposefully to others and gaining some real momentum in having an honest conversation and resolution.
I’m going to be honest. This work that I do was not my first choice for myself. Full transparency here, it was not even on the list. Everyone who really knows me is aware of the fact that I wanted to be an entertainer, I wanted to be a star. I started dance classes at three years old, acting in plays, writing plays, soap operas, songs, and poems by the time I was eight, and I was singing in choirs as a teen and beyond. It was all the perfect setup for Hollywood as far as I was concerned.
But a serious brush with racism, vengeance, and terror, when I was seventeen, seemed to destine me for the work of conflict resolution. I did try to have things my way at first. I enrolled in Syracuse University as a theater major but by the time my sophomore year came around, I followed a “call” to change my major to Non-Violent Conflict and Change. (I tell the full story in my book Closing Conflict For Leaders.)
But for me, it was always a temporary detour, a way to make some money to live off of when I finally made my way to Hollywood or even Broadway.
Time passed. I mean lots of time… Thirty-five years to be exact!
And still I yearned for what I dreamed of doing with my life.
Four and a half years ago when I answered another “call” to start my On the Matter of Race Program, I resisted with every fiber of my being. I resisted the whole time I was facilitating it, all the way up until 6 months ago.
Honestly, the road to final surrender has been extremely difficult. But I’m there and I have discovered some key ways to do the work of surrender. I hope they are helpful to you.
Don’t kid yourself – surrender is not a one-time thing.
Believe me, I have “surrendered” to my destiny many times before this last time. It may take several days, weeks or months of letting go of the need to control how your life is turning out, especially when it goes up against your own vision.
Visualizing can help.
I have incorporated closing my eyes and seeing myself fall backwards into the arms of God (my belief) for you it could be whatever/whoever is guiding you in the direction of surrender. A few times I have actually fallen back on to my bed in order to feel what it is like to let go. Believe me, this is so much better than those trust falls that we used to do back in the day.
Write down what letting go of control in this situation means to you.
Fear is often the reason we cling to control. Fear of people, the unknown, following the wrong path, giving up on our dream, poverty, ridicule. You name it and write it down and then ask yourself why this is a fear for you.
Work at understanding your whys.
Where do they come from? I was brought up to believe that you had to stay out of trouble and keep yourself in the control of the adults in your life. I learned to do what everyone else wanted me to do. Interesting that what I actually learned to do was to surrender my control to others. But the idea that being in control was the only way to succeed was deeply ingrained in me. Find out what is working in you.
Get curious about what happens if you just let go.
Fear should never stop us from learning to trust in surrendering to the experience, the moment, the change. Creativity emerges from surrender. Trust in yourself is born out of surrender. Imagination steers the ship of surrender and if you allow yourself to go on the journey you may find that it was not all that safe on shore. Think about what good could happen if you just let go.
I have still been able to use all of my gifts and talents in my work and honestly, I think the surrender is leading me to the world of entertainment through an entirely new and unknown route. Whatever happens though, I have never been more hopeful and committed. It has been a while since I have experienced depression and am looking forward to the unknown.
You can do this. Right now… Visualize yourself falling back into surrender to a new situation that you have been resisting.
Just. Let. Go…