Surrender to win

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.

Deep, yo.


Limantour Beach, sand art and photo by me

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!


Limantour Beach mandala: Playa corazón #1, mandala and photo by me

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.


Limantour Beach mandala: Playa corazón #2, mandala and photo by me

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.


Take a deeper dive — more articles like this one...

Clarity when things look blurry

clarity vision

Insight, vision, and the art of seeing

seeing vision insight covid-19

Simplify the season.


Stillness. Solstice. Simplicity.


Retreat into the darkness — let go and surrender to win

surrender to win

Sacred pause — summer solstice



I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

  1. Dear Sue, Thank you for these New Moon guidelines—my husband has a Taurus birthday this week—so this is very timely to tune into his energy. I am an Aries so we balance each other out, on most days.

    As for me, I ended today feeling frazzled, despite getting out for a walk. My motto this year of “No, not know” has still left me with too long a list of To Do’s and I need to pull out my sword of discernment again and prune my tree of life and give it rest, water, and organic fertilizer. I need to curtail doing some of the things that I am doing in my biz that are not paying off and streamline and simplify once again.

    My love of learning new things, my idea generation, and generosity keep getting me into more projects than I can do at one time. I know all about this and am gifted at helping my clients get focused, but I seem to be doing too much again and I crave simplicity. So out with my Sword of Subtraction again this week. Thank you for the prompt. Enjoy your retreat and sending you lots of healing love and energy!


    • Gail, I love love love the Sword of Subtraction, what a beautiful image!

      What can you release from your ToDo list?

      Love and blessings,

  2. So much wisdom, I loved reading this. In a world of action and “you can do it”, surrendering has gone out of fashion methinks, and it’s such a powerful thing to do! I love the description of your dis-ease journey and marvel at how much you are learning from it.

    I have recently surrendered to my imperfections in my relationship to food and my weight. I used to have an eating disorder, and while I haven’t had compulsive behaviour around food for a while, I did put on some weight in the last three years and was constantly struggling to lose it again, without success. So I decided that I’m a little curvier at the moment (I’m by no means overweight, just more than I used to be) and I decided that it’s beautiful and lush (instead of inwardly yelling at myself for being “fat and ugly”). I eat exactly what I feel like eating. I enjoy good, healthy food, and when I feel like it, I eat less healthy food. Without judgement, without worry that I might gain another pound, for the first time in my life. It’s doing me the world of good, and I love myself more completely than ever before 🙂

    • Sibylle, beautiful and lush! What loving words. I’m going to use them too.

      Thank you so much!

      Love and light,

  3. What a lovely post and it is fantastic that you are taking some time out. In the last couple of days I have done some serious de-cluttering, been meditating and just started a gratitude / positive thoughts journal—powerful stuff!

    Having suffered burnout in the past, I understand the need for balance and now run my own businesses. You say you have tried many things for your digestion so I presume you have tried Aloe Vera. I just wanted to mention it in case you haven’t. I drink it daily and it gives me extra energy and it has cured my son of his (unexplained) digestive complaint. Not all aloe is the same, and if you would like to try the purest kind, please look at this. I sell these products to help people and all profits go to Action For Me. Please email or ring me if you would like more information. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it.

    I hope your break is rejuvenating and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    A x  

    • Anna, thanks so much for joining the conversation, and for your advice about aloe. It is an important part of the good stuff I put in my body every day.

      Love and blessings,

  4. Hi Sue,

    What a powerful post/reminder of the importance of being mindful. Surrender has always been a tricky thing for me – letting go of all expectation of the outcome… beautiful and yet somewhat elusive. Today I am going to pay attention, to practice as much mindfulness as I can muster.

    I am grateful to have discovered your blog. I will be following:) xoxo Tia


    • Mustering mindfulness, I love it. May we each have many mindful, loving, productive moments today. And tomorrow…

      Love and light,

  5. Sue, you amaze and inspire me. This was a delicious post, talk of stool samples and all! 

    I have been playing hide and seek with some of my more creative parts — I hide and they seek expression and fresh air. I enjoy my morning meditation/prayer practice but the days are long and full and most often end with TV watching. Not the most inspiring way to end one day and prepare for the next, and perhaps a bedtime gratitude writing ritual will feed my soul, bring sweet dreams and clear my head of what got done or not done in the 16 hours since waking.

    Have a great time at Harbin this weekend. And, by the way, are those your sand and seaside collages? Lovely… Thanks as always for sharing so deeply from your heart and soul.

    xoxoxoxo Sharon~*

    • Sharon, love, yes, those are my artworks and my photography. I just updated the captions to say so, thanks for the reminder.

      I’m ending my day with tv these days, as well. Thanks for the suggestion of a positive bedtime ritual. Helpful.

      Love you,

  6. Aaaah, surrender!  Such an ‘easy’ sounding concept…so difficult to actually DO!  I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue 10 years ago (they were wrong, it was MS, but that’s another story!), and when I finally surrendered and accepted that my energy wasn’t able to support the life I used to live anymore, I learned how to deal with it…and eventually got ‘better’.  Talking to the illness was also a huge breakthrough for me – my energy problems were sent to make me take care of myself.  Now I do…and when I don’t, my energy suffers!  Gratitude, love, surrender = deep healing.  May you be wrapped in healing, loving arms always Sue.  xxx

    • Donna, thank you so much for sharing this with me. I’m honored, and I feel so supported. The lessons you’ve learned are tremendously useful and I appreciate you taking the time to download them for me and my tribe.


  7. Hi Sue,

    I, too, am on a long health journey, including  as of late, some crazy digestive stuff. This post is timely for me.

    Enjoying contemplating your questions, too.

    One of the greatest truths that has come to me when I surrendered is that I am supported. I don’t need to effort so much for things to turn out right in my life.

    As for releasing, I am in the process of releasing the vision I had for my career. I’m in the scary phase right now – nothing solid in front of me – and looking forward to the exhilirating phase.


    • Hi Crystal, thanks so much for sharing your truth with me. I’d love to know more. What’s going on with your business/career?


Chime in!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *