Question: what do you long for, dear friend?
What, in your heart of hearts, do you know you could have if only …
If only, what?
You won the lottery? You had more time? You didn’t have this blasted [INSERT PERSON, PLACE OR THING] holding you back?
If so, then it could be time to surrender — but only if you are willing to let go. (And I do mean completely.)
Here’s the catch.
It’s damn hard to let go.
Most of the time, we think we are all powerful, wielding credit cards, cell phones, tight schedules and big demands. Yet behind all of that posturing is our fear.
We are afraid the ghost of our suffering will catch up with us, that bad memories will bombard us. Or that we’ll run into that former lover, the one we’d do anything to avoid, in the Safeway .
We fear we will lose our steely grip on control and be brought to our knees by circumstance. We are afraid that by losing everything, we will crumble to the ground and die.
Yet when you have nothing — when you finally let go and fall apart — then you are finally free. In that moment, you learn the truth: that all of this resistance and suffering you’ve cooked up is unnecessary. Then you start to see that you can have anything you want … if only you will allow ourselves to trust the Universe to bring it your way.
Ranier Maria Rilke wrote: “Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”
This is the hard part. If we can just relax into that receptivity and stop the incessant striving and pushing, then life can finally, truly turn our way.
Perhaps for you that critical surrender means letting go of a treasured client or contract you’d wanted forever. Without that guaranteed source of income you think you will never make it. You believe you will simply dissolve, and cease to be the glorious You you keep trying to be.
Ah, but friend, what if …
What if the Universe has something better prepared for you that you can’t even fathom?
Can you let go and surrender into that infinite possibility? This is when your heart opens, your love for the world expands and you are finally set free.
When I gave up my 23-year marriage, my big showcase home, my identity as a nice straight lady, and then, subsequently, the woman I thought was the love of my life, I began to surrender and truly fall apart.
For a while I roamed around, staying with friends here and there, not sure exactly what to do. And then, incredibly, my daughter suddenly died. And so, in a curious way, I was reborn. Yet, believe me, I still tried to hold on and avoid the sinkhole that was my grief.
I launched a business only 8 weeks after Teal’s death because I was afraid to stop. When that, and a subsequent business both quietly dried up … well, then I had to let go even further. By then I was retreating frequently to my beloved spiritual retreat — a hippie haven north of the Bay Area where clothing was optional, and you could float around in the meditation pool for hours gazing at fig trees and the evening stars.
Then my spiritual retreat center burned to the ground in a wildfire. So if I wasn’t free before … well, now I was. Like seriously.
So the big lesson became detachment and taking each day as it comes.
But here’s the punchline — I. Truly. Am. Happier.
And all I had to do was let go. Completely. Unbidden, an abundant writing contract landed in my lap. Then a new speaking career was launched. Just yesterday I had a call from a literary agent asking me to show her my memoir when it’s done. Oh yeah, I found the love of my life — and I even get to marry her.
There is something unexpected and sweet about this state of non-attachment. The usual supports are gone; unusual taboos are being lived. In the chaos you realize you are made of unique and beautiful stuff. So you discover you are loved and supported in ways you’d never imagined.
In that ultimate moment of self-reliance, devoid of all your usual props, you can finally know what you are made of. And what you are made of is love. You are not your judgments, your hurts or your long list of to-do’s. Nor are you your self-criticisms and your relentless drive for perfection.
No, dear friend, you are nothing more than your big, beating heart. The degree to which you can know and live this love is the degree to which you will set sail and honor the path you have been given.
There is no valor in holding back in the name of practicality. Do that thing you have been given to do in the small of your heart – the one that propels you forward with an ‘if only …’. That is where the magic is.
If it means some carefully constructed structures must dissolve as you face your worst fears, then so be it. On the other side of all that loss is simply freedom.
You will survive – and, in fact, you will thrive; I can promise you that. That dream of yours is like a great beam of love waiting to pour out into the world and light your path as it lights others. And in that divine consciousness is all the magic and power in the world.
Why resist, dear friend? Why not just dissolve? For I can tell you right now with a smile and an arm around your shoulders: Not only do you deserve it … we all do.
We truly do long for your gifts. So will you just surrender?