This afternoon, the idea of surrender came up in a conversation. Like my friend, I used to think that to surrender to someone else's idea or to a new way of thinking meant I was giving up, turning into a doormat, being a woos. I've spent a lot of years figuring myself out and finding some sense of strength, worth and power. So why would I give that up...?
Luckily, I've learned that's not what surrender means. To me, surrender now means being willing to listen to a suggestion from somebody with more experience than I have. It means trying something different for a while, even if it's uncomfortable at first. It means being willing to give up something that doesn't work for me anymore, so I can replace it with something that does. Surrender means acknowledging, grudgingly or gracefully, that I don't have all the answers.
Dr. Gabor Mate, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, was recently interviewed on CBC's Tapestry program. He gave an example of surrender that really makes sense to me. He told about someone who had decided to surrender not only his own drug and alcohol use, but also his drug-selling business. This guy gathered up all his drug paraphernalia and address books and threw them into a big garbage bag, and then took it all out to the trash. His decision and choices were surrender in action -- not just a theory or an intention, but making it so.
It's my intention to keep surrendering what isn't working for me, because when I've done this in the past, I have always benefitted. Sometimes I'm not so willing at first, or even after a while. Sometimes I just keep rolling around in the garbage for a while longer. But I can surrender my stubborn refusal to admit change is sometimes necessary. I can follow another's suggestion. I can at least be willing to be willing to be willing.
Fortunately, it doesn't take much to get started. I can surrender to the possibility of surrender.