I have yet to master the concept of surrender, but it's something I strive for. Im a professional planner with an experiential Ph.D. in doing. For as long as I can remember, I've had a hard time relinquishing control of my life, as though somewhere in the midst of arriving in the right, predictable circumstances, I can let go of the fear that things may not go exactly as planned. Yet what I'm beginning to realize is that our false sense of control is make-believe anywhere, living smack dab between Santa and the Easter Bunny. Needless to say, I've let go of the thought that I have much say in what surprises pop up on a daily basis, much less my futile attempts to predict the future.
A new concept has given me a freedom I’ve never known, though. I call it Adventureland. In this game, you get to wake up everyday with the possibility that anything is possible. Changes to my schedule or to my expectations of anything I think I should have a say in are all little tests to see how well I surrender. It’s a game of malleability, humility, and graciousness for what I may not necessarily understand in the moment.
Someone once told me that the only thing we do have control over is the lens by which we view the world, the people in it, and ourselves. Everything else is up for grabs, illogical, and spontaneously unpredictable. So if we take on that challenge, we can create a pair of glasses that view the world as a wondrous mystery, never meant to be figured out in the first place. We can view people with compassion, with a reckless love, and infinite patience. We can even view ourselves with that same unconditional understanding and love.
When we have mastered our minds, the external circumstances have less power over us. What our mom said, how our best friend reacted to the news, whether we lose our job, make an unexpected move, let go of a relationship or enter into a new one; all the highs and lows don’t rock us out of our own little boat. We learn to sail our ship despite the height of the waves, the dangerous jetting rocks or the crystal clear blue skies and glassy calmness.
Adventureland is my new lens and it allows me to view the world in her awesomeness, while I stay focused on my attitude, not on trying to predict the weather, the storms, the sunny days, and everything else. It’s a daily practice, a lifetime pursuit as well as a mental and spiritual workout. To be centered, grounded, and confident in the midst of any situation, to trust that you have cultivated the right tools, have appropriate armor, and a strong enough constitution to handle anything gives you a freedom that surpasses your need to control.
It starts with deep breaths, closed eyes, and a mental check of all the blessings already present in life. Appreciation and love cast out fear, insecurity, and doubt. To be whole, full, and rich with endless possibilities for our lives is accepting life on life’s terms and not our own. Surrendering is a choice I’m trying to make more often since it’s the only way I know how to let go and enjoy this magnificent journey, while not lamenting over the details that did not go exactly according to my rather limited plans. May we all have the courage to revel in the unknown and prefer adventures to safe passage.
Images courtesy of Destinationweddings.com, Erh.noaa.gov