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 “light”.
One other benefit manifests itself in the process of total surrender. When one is relaxed and not grasping for control, we are 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 is 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 blocks around us, keeping away the peace, joy and abundance.
Worry is part of the control picture. Worry assumes that we are in control of our lives and that we have to figure things out. When we worry, we’re wanting predictions about what lies ahead – how people are going to act and what is going to occur, so we can prepare. And, we want that information now. Fact is, we aren’t in control of anything except what we’re doing right in the moment. Frankly, I’d prefer to spend those precious moments being open to all 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 what is supposed to happen.
Assuming we have control and the tendency to want to control others is interesting to observe in others since most people can barely control their own behavior and emotions. A great lesson, taught by AA, as well as others is: Let go and let God. Simple and profound.
Although the ultimate goal is to totally surrender to the flow of life and the gifts that await us, it’s a hard swallow for many individuals. Doing so with gratitude magnifies the end result. But, like I said, so many find that nearly impossible. So, for those, I’d introduce a little step, in many of my stress workshops, within the process of eventually letting go. I’d show everyone the cute little worry dolls from Guatemala. These were small, handmade dolls which were probably no more than 2 ½” tall and 1” wide; pretty little things that were woven and colorful. I’d hand a few out to each attendee. 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.
Others just remind themselves to turn their control issues over to God, and let Him handle it – but even some very devout Christians have a hard time truly accomplishing that. The process of surrender or release really has nothing to do with religion or even belief in God. It is the ability to get out of the way and not block the flow of bountiful energy flowing our way. Every time we grasp and grab at parts of life, it’s the same as popping up a barrier in our path. With one barrier after another and worry coloring our emotions – it’s no wonder life can be overly stressful and draining.
Perhaps age has its advantage here. With enough life experience behind us, we can reflect and accept that hindsight is truly 20/20. We realize the deal closed that was meant to be; income always showed up – maybe not as much as we wanted, but certainly as much as we needed; and the relationship always worked out – maybe it ended or maybe it flourished but it was always a matter of timing and always worked out for the best.
Age and wisdom are welcome gifts and if I was ever asked what the one lesson I learned about life that brought with it the most peace, I’d have to say: releasing and letting go. Trusting in the process, knowing the answers would always come and being open, with a grateful heart, to the blessings that are all around us. Those aren’t three separate things, they are part of the same package. I guess, you could simply say: releasing and receiving.