Several years back, there was a group of us that gathered in the Evergreen Lounge after class each week. One of our group had these lovely positive message cards - symbolism of animals. We would each draw one from the pack and read it to the table. One of our group regularly pulled the swan. I’d like to think I remember the message of the swan because I simply heard it so often but I think there is something more to my remembering.
“Don’t give up, give over.”
When I first read those words “give over” I had no clue what they meant. Most messages related to surrender, like “go with the flow” or “be with what is” and “give over” were lost to me. I had no relationship with these words. They were not something that was taught to me in childhood so my adult body/mind was clueless. It wasn’t until a few years ago when
I started playing with what surrender wasn’t, that I started to get somewhere. I know what surrender is not - controlling, resisting, pushing, grasping and pulling. So that is where
I began. When I came upon the “what it isn’t practice” it was like a light went on. I had real life, tactile experience now to sense. I had a relationship with all of those other words. So, I would often ask myself; “Am I pushing? Am I pulling? Am I grasping? etc. And then stop and then listen. Often, if the answer was yes, there was accompanying tension - tight jaw, tense belly, hard eyes and a voice saying “yes, but…”.
So why am I writing about this, at this time? Well, as many of you know, I was sick (and missed) the last week of the session. I received a lovely virus that wreaked havoc on my throat, ears and eyes. Twelve days later, I am just now starting to feel I am on level ground again. I have not been sick like this, for such a long period of time, in a very long time. I thought I would be totally miserable and stressed. I wasn’t.
I stayed even keeled and level headed, for the majority of the time.
Yes, I felt woozy, uncomfortable, and I was in pain some of the time. But I never dropped into a depression, got irrationally irritable or felt hopeless. I cannot be 100% certain, but I suspect it had to do with making a commitment, when the first signs of sore throat appeared, to surrender. I consumed herbs, foods and drugs that would ease my discomfort and support my health, I rested a lot, BUT I didn’t do those things with pushing, pulling, or controlling in mind like “this has to work!”. I simply did what was available to me and then surrendered to the process of being sick and of healing. When I felt impatience arise, I reminded myself to soften into it. When fear of health, finances, etc arose, I asked myself, “what do I gain by stressing out?”. When the searing pain in my ears came on, I relaxed my face and got curious about the sensation I was feeling - experiencing them instead of resisting them.
Ok, buckle up!
I am grateful (yup, grateful!) for this slow-to-heal-multi-faceted “thing” so that I had a chance to really, really practice surrender. To do what I could in the moment and then to give over and simply
“be with/experience” what is.
So, as I do when i share musings, I offer up some questions:
If something is here, right now, and you cannot do anything to change it, can you allow it to be?
Can you see or feel precious energy being used up as you resist what is?
Can you see/feel the excess mental and physical tension being created and held as you hold onto