Sometimes we just need to surrender. Yes, there's something about releasing and letting go. Once we manage to accomplish that, even for a few moments, it’s like a wave of peace washing over us. Stress lifts, colors brighten and the world just seems a little more “right”.
Another benefit manifests itself in the process of total surrender. When one is relaxed and not grasping for control, we become more open to receive. You know the old expression about not being able to receive with a clenched fist? Well it’s true. When we’re grasping at everything around us, holding on to people and material things with a death-grip, our hands and hearts are closed to the abundance that's trying desperately to find us.
I believe abundance, love and joy continually flow to us from God—or the Universe, if you prefer. Anyway, we’re our own worst enemy with all of that. The energy we expend swimming upstream, fighting the same battles over-and-over and trying to totally control the world around us is exhausting. That draining, needless energy blocks the flow of what is rightfully ours; it’s like building a wall of bricks around us, keeping away the peace, joy and abundance.
Worry plays a big part in trying to control things. Worry assumes that we are in control, in the first place. It assumes it is up to us to figure everything out. When we worry, it's because we don't know exactly what lies ahead—how people will act and what will occur, so we can prepare. I guess we expect that seeing into the future is a reality for everybody. Fact is, we can't see the future and we aren’t in control in the first place. The only thing we control is our attitude and our behavior this very minute. And, spending those minutes in a state of worry is draining and simply a waste of time. Frankly, I’d prefer to spend those precious moments with my eyes wide open, expecting the surprises that await as the day rolls out, doing the best I can with the tasks at hand and trusting that whatever happens is exactly what's supposed to happen.
Those of us who have a tendency to want to control others need to remember that changing other people is impossible, most of us can barely control our own behavior and emotions. Here's a great lesson those in AA learn: Let go and let God. It doesn't get more simple, or profound than that!
This is the ultimate goal for all of us in this life: totally surrender to the flow of our individual journey and allow the gifts that await us, to flow into our lives— as challenging a goal as that might be. But if we can remember to now the perfect outcome will eventually win out and anticipate a positive life with gratitude, the end results will always be magnified.
If you're one of those people, who find that impossible, here's a little step, I teach in my stress workshops. One example are those cute little worry dolls that come from Guatemala. These are small, handmade dolls which are probably no more than 2 ½” tall and 1” wide; pretty little things that are woven and colorful. I hand a few of those out to each of my workshop attendees. Legend has it that Guatemalan children would tell their “trouble dolls” (in Spanish, Muñeca quitapena) their worries, place them under their pillow at night and in the morning they’d wake up with the wisdom or knowledge to deal with whatever issue was at hand. This was a tangible way to let go of issues and a way to practice the method of release.
That process is just another way to just remind ourselves to turn the problem that worries us over to God, and let Him handle it. Not as easy as it sounds since even some very devout Christians have a hard time truly mastering the art of surrender or releasing control. Being able to do so has nothing to do with religion or even belief in God, instead, it's just the ability to simply let go of that death-grip some have on life. Whatever has your intense focus, monopolozes your thoughts and dominates your dialogue—drop it, give it up, throw it away or whatever you need to do but eventually let go so God's bountiful energy can flow to you like it's supposed to. Every time we grasp and grab at parts of life, we clench our fist making it impossible to receive.
This is where age has its advantage. With enough life experience under our belt, it's easier to reflect and realize that somehow the deal, that was meant to, eventually closed; income always showed up – maybe not as much as we wanted, but certainly as much as we needed; and the relationship always worked out for the best—whether it eventually ended or flourished into something lasting and good. Regardless, everything always works out—without our total control.
Age and wisdom are welcome gifts and if anyone ever asked me what the one lesson I found most valuable in bring me peace, I’d say it came in two parts. First, learing to let go. Letting go of lousy relationships, letting go of frustrations and disappointments, letting go of negative emotions and releasing the fear-based energy that screws up our lives. The second part of that would be then trusting in the process, knowing the answers would always come and being open, with a grateful heart, to all the blessings that await. Those aren’t really two separate things, I guess, they're part of the same package. You could sum it all up by simply saying: release and receive.