My t’ai chi teacher drilled Surrender To Win into me for years
And I’m still learning what surrender means, more being revealed, as it always is, slowly, slowly…
Most people don’t get the “surrender” concept at all at first when I talk about t’ai chi. Instead, they say, “Oh, yes, that soft art where you use your opponent’s energy against herself, right?”
It’s easy to see it that way. But as with all powerful spiritual traditions, I’ve learned, in the 40 years I’ve been practicing this art, that it’s deeper than that. Surrender to win is nothing less than giving up any and all investment in the outcome, all outcomes.
Using my opponent’s energy against herself, for me, connotes a whole bunch of wiliness, planning, strategy. The moments when I truly get the concept, when I’m truly surrendered, I have dived into the mystery with willingness, awareness and trust. Willing to be led wherever I’m supposed to go, whether it’s where I think I want to be or need to be. Aware that there are messages and lessons in the act of being led, if only I can open myself up to them. Trust in the journey, trust that I’ll get what I’m supposed to get when I’m supposed to get it.
Last week, I marked the 18-month point of being sick.
That’s 18 months with a so-far undiagnosable severe digestive problem. One that is pretty tiring, and that has me spending far too much time in the bathroom, and far too little time out and about, because my energy is so depleted.
I’ve been “on it”, of course. I’ve been seeing a variety of healing professionals throughout this process, from acupuncturists, to nutrition doctors, to chi nei tsang practitioners, to MDs. I’ve had two stool analyses (eewwww). I’ve tried many different diet combinations, and loads of different supplements, herbal treatments and a pharmaceutical option that nearly killed me. I’ve even started a soul retrieval process with a shaman—way far into my psychic red zone (see willingness, above).
Spiritual awakenings come in surprising ways sometimes
Over the last couple of months, I actually came around to a fierce and radical acceptance. Luckily for me, I found myself listening to and reading about finding that space of compassionate love for what is, for my dis-ease. I have a meditation I do regularly (thank you Deepak!) in which I visualize myself seated across from my illness, and connecting with it/her with love, with mercy, with compassion.
I have another practice that I learned from my Sufi teacher (thank you, Mark Silver!) where I turn away from my problems (from trying to fix it, solve it) and turn instead toward the Divine, toward love, and call down mercy and compassion. In this practice I get to take the liberating stance that yes, there can be love even here.
Love and gratitude and surrender. I don’t know what winning looks like here, and I don’t have to know!
I took myself off to the beach for a couple of days
I needed to retreat, to create some space to go inside and be with what is. I got some powerful realizations:
- It’s time to take a break from chasing a cure, I’m taking a month off of all supplements and medicines.
- It’s time to look at core issues about my relationship with food and with being present, in this now moment, and the next. When I’m eating, when I’m connecting with my tribe, when I’m talking to a client, when I’m working on your brand and website.
- I accept the invitation to be more mindful when I eat, to take more time, to chew my food, to reduce distractions. Yes [gulp], I relinquish listening to the radio while fiddling with my iPad while I iron while I eat. And I invite all the discomfort that is already present in me around this; I’ve been putting layers of things and doings between myself and myself for a long long time, and—I can hear you saying Duh with love and compassion—I’m pretty sure this mindlessness has an impact on my health and well-being.
- I am grateful that I know how to be grateful, because I can go there. I can easily sink into gratitude, gratitude that I can walk, that I can see, that I can move, that I can love and be loved, that it could be oh so much worse. I’m even grateful that sometimes I can glimpse the gift here. That my challenge and my struggle and my willingness has already helped, and will continue to help, others in my tribe. Such a gift!
- I am going to clean up my diet even more. Starting in a week, when I return from the hot springs (another retreat), I will make some more changes that hopefully will be kinder to my belly.
What have you surrendered?
What gifts have come to you when you have surrendered? Please take a minute and join the conversation in the comments section below.
New Moon Solar Eclipse in Taurus, Thursday 5/9, 5:28p.m. Pacific
This is the second of this Spring’s trio of eclipses (remember the Scorpio Full Moon Lunar Eclipse two weeks ago? phew, glad that’s over!). Unlike your average New Moon, a Solar Eclipse typically involves an ending, revealing what we have to let go of, what needs to be released, to clear space for a new start. Now’s a good time to look at your gifts and challenges around self-worth, self-love, self-acceptance, over-attachment to material security and the status quo, and resistance to change—all Taurus attributes.
This Eclipse calls you to plant seeds that will take you in new (risky! scary!) directions that arise from your deepest values, passions and desires, if you can just let yourself. Lean on your most solid sense of self-worth (the kind you might need loved ones to remind you that you have—go ahead, ask them!). Trust your passionate impulse and embrace life, your life. Step out of any clinging old low-vibration Taurus energy which will have you seeking your worth through money, possessions and material security. Don’t let yourself be held back from the juicy, risky, abundant and powerful changes this New Moon can kick off for you. Instead, open up and get going in the direction of your most magnificent new start, your calling, your audacious meant-to-be.
Three suggestions for your New Moon working, for your business, for your body, for your soul:
Take some time, as close to the actual New Moon as you can to do this work. (Any time in the three-day-window of Wednesday-Thursday-Friday will work just fine.) You can work at your altar, or be outside, or any place you feel connected to Spirit. As always, pick the one question that rises to the top, that feels most important, and take some time meditating on it. I find that in New Moon workings, dealing as we are with internal energies, it’s more useful to concentrate on one idea rather than many.
- Where are you stuck in your business? What risky ideas excite you and terrify you at the same time? If you could wave your wand, what would you offer to your tribe in the next three to six months? What’s stopping you?
- What’s keeping you from feeling strong and capable? What can you add, or change, in your fitness routine that will allow you to feel connected, and grounded, and energized? When’s the last time you hugged your favorite tree, or flung yourself upon the sand?
- What’s keeping you from feeling connected to Source, to the Divine? What’s keeping you from giving yourself the gift of stillness, today, and tomorrow, so that you can hear the whisper of the Divine, and feel her veiling you in love, compassion, mercy and safety? Start now, precious…
I would love to hear what you’re releasing, and what you’re beginning! Please let me know in the comments.