In the past when I heard the word ‘surrender’ I envisaged white flags and lost battles. A part of me always felt that those who surrendered in war were simply willing to end the madness. I also noticed that for most people, surrender meant admitting defeat and handing yourself over to another.
Indeed the Oxford dictionary provides various definitions including: “Stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority”(1). Dictionary definitions aside, an experience I had while going for a morning walk recently showed me that there can be great power in surrender.
I left my home early in the morning. The sun was shining sideways with a pale yellow glow and I was surprised and enchanted by seven colourful hot air balloons floating above me: it was a truly glorious morning. I felt deep appreciation for my decision to ‘walk myself’ and continued on towards the local shared bike and walking track.
The early morning sun belied the fact that it was very cold and I could feel myself bracing against the chilly air despite the fact that I was dressed in very warm clothing. I stepped up my pace, hoping that this would help me to warm up.
All the while I couldn’t help but notice that the people I shared the path with were wearing much less clothing than I was. I felt like I stood out in my puffy, furry jacket and decided that perhaps I was imagining it to be colder than it was. Even though I was still feeling chilled, I chose to leave my jacket open.
This particular path is very popular with families, walkers, joggers and cyclists and that morning it was very busy and bustling. Cyclists were ‘dinging’ their bells and joggers were pounding the track.
I enjoyed observing it all and felt the huge contrast of the natural beauty of the path and the activity of the humans on the track. I didn’t get very far before I noticed that my arms felt extremely hard and tense and my hands were balled into fists in my pockets. It felt awful. I decided it was time to zip up my jacket and pull up the hood. Fitting in was not worth sacrificing the beauty of my walk and the easy grace in my body.
As I walked I was enveloped by the word ’surrender’ and I allowed my arms to let go of the tension they held. I saw a stunning tree off the main track and allowed myself to walk towards it and admire its beauty for a few moments. All the while I asked my body to surrender and with each breath I could feel it let go of another layer of hardness and protection. I was now ready to take my hands from my pockets and my body had warmed up enough to allow this without interrupting my ability to surrender to me.
I felt such a grace and lightness in my body as I walked. The surrender I had allowed in my arms radiated through my whole body and I felt incredibly aware of every movement. Each time I felt tension in my body I allowed it to release.
After 10 minutes or so I began to appreciate how still and supportive my walk had become. The path was still extremely busy but the quality of everyone around me had changed. Several bikes whizzed past but incredibly not a single cyclist chose to ring their bell or yell ‘passing!’ as almost all of them had done just moments before. It was as though the path had become sacred and there was a trust and a knowing between us that transcended the need to yell or ‘ding’ a bell.
This extraordinary ordinary walk left me in no doubt of the power of true surrender. I could feel that this surrender is not a giving up or a giving away. I was able to see that I allow myself to surrender to my own divine essence when I listen to and support my body.
Surrender begins when I accept my own loveliness, act on my awareness and choose to trust in the fact that I am divine.I can now see that disregarding my body and the way I feel makes it impossible to surrender to myself. How amazing can life be if I stop resisting my natural way of being (surrender) and submit to the authority of my own body?
I have felt just how powerful surrender is and my walk has inspired me to keep choosing wisely.
- Oxford Dictionaries: Language Matters, retrieved from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/surrender
by Leonne Sharkey, Melbourne