Acceptance and surrender

Acceptance and surrender do not mean giving up…Or? This is a big one, and tricky… at least for me.  A bit of background to start.  Acceptance has featured really large for me on my journey, for most of my life.  Or I should actually say that lack of acceptance:  resistance, wanting things to be different (my body, my partner, the world!) have been my MO for as long as I can remember.  

As I reflect, I find that across the decades, increasingly in recent years, months, now almost daily… the importance and value of dropping into acceptance keeps coming across my path.  It is finally landing, starting to sink in.  Acceptance, not resisting what is, can become actually be a way of living life, a way of dealing with the challenges, a way of handling the inevitable vicissitudes.  But it sure ain’t easy.  Old habits run deep.  

Change starts with awareness, then creating a gap between the old patterns and the spaciousness of awareness.  I can take a breath and have some choice about how to respond rather than reacting from old patterns.  Example:  Government says no border crossings, ie no family visits for yet another month.  Old pattern:  Why are they so rigid? This is stupid.  How rotten.  It sucks.  Poor me.  Not much time left.  Acceptance:  What now?  How can we create connections and be with this new reality with openness and curiosity?  Are there unexpected gifts in this situation?  

Surrender and acceptance and change

But Surrender?  Whole different ballgame…or?  Surrender for me has long had the sense of giving up. The mainstream definition is indeed about quitting, throwing in the towel, capitulating.  But wait, there is more.  In exploring both acceptance and its deeper cousin, surrender, I came across this thoughtful essay, Surrender vs. Acceptance, by Michelle Harris. I found it very helpful, and offer this excerpt for your consideration:   

Acceptance…is therefore a non resistance. It’s the opening of your heart, mind and soul to each experience, with non judgment – including the inner experiences, as well as what you witness in your outer experiences. 

I think of surrender as a true spiritual-soul understanding and experience to really ‘feel’ the true source of your self, your true power, and your true connection to the Divine you. A term that literally means a ‘giving up’ to something,  I see it as an aligning of our personality self to your Higher Self. That our ego aspects (born from fear and resistance), are aligned/evolved/integrated into into our Higher aspects. It takes a process of refining and ‘dropping’ the illusions, patterns, limiting thoughts and energies that keep us locked in fear, (and accepting parts of self too), to truly be in surrender to the truth of who you are.

Surrender to me therefore, is the aligning to our true essence, and we accept parts of ourselves to get to that…

Surrender is the beginning
Ah ha!

So there is some giving up, after all, of resistance, ego games and struggles!  And there is acceptance as well, of all of the ego shenanigans, the struggles, the resistance :-). And the courage and skill not to buy into them, believe them.

So how does this fit into my life now?  It’s over two months since my rollerblade splat on concrete, where I not only dislocated my shoulder, but, it has turned out, did quite a bit of damage.  One choice — it could be considered a version of acceptance — would be to accept the limitations as my new normal.   Another choice is to do my best to accept everything gracefully and really lean into the exercises the physiotherapist gives me, celebrating with gratitude what I still can do, how I still can be.  (The importance of mindset, how whoppingly it affects my day-to-day experience, really stands out right about now.)  

To wrap up this small personal subset of the acceptance/surrender/giving up issue: as best I can, I am going to surrender my struggles, my beliefs I can determine the outcome, and trust (ah, here’s another big component!) the unfolding of the universe, knowing I can’t push the river.  As best I can, I will accept my situation/the situation/our situation with grace and ease and spaciousness, and engage as feels right and appropriate, doing everything I can to live fully and give my best shot at a good recovery.  

Finally, can we, is it appropriate to, surrender and accept what is happening politically, with species in the great coral reefs,  inequality, racism?  Those are bigger questions for another time, but what we’ve covered today definitely applies.  In the meantime I offer you an interview with Tami Simon and Michael Singer, called Living From a Place of Surrender.  

I look forward to hearing about your experience about how Acceptance and Surrender do not mean Giving Up.  Or do they?  

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, andgrowth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook  🙂

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