Last week I did something I don’t normally let myself do. I watched the news at bedtime. I’m very disciplined about how/when/where I take in bad news. I don’t want to stick my head in the sand but I don’t want to bludgeon myself either. My life as a single mom and a spiritual life coach hinges on my ability to hold space for others all day long so I’m thoughtful about what I expose myself to in order to keep my reserves and my perspective healthy. But last week I hit a tipping point. Does that ever happen to you? My anxiety about not knowing and the threat of full blown war overpowered my commitment to trusting the unfolding of life and protecting my need for peace and rest.
It is breathtaking how quickly we can lose balance and tumble. Even those of us who hold a deeply rooted intention to be present and self aware and harmonious. And the process of climbing up and out of the rabbit hole of anxiety is no small thing. We have to first realize we’ve gone down. And then we have to remember that so often our suffering is a cue to surrender.
Personally I’ve noticed that so much of my suffering in life comes from pushing where I need to let go. Surrendering is like steering into the swerve. It feels hugely antithetical to what our instincts say we should do. When we’re scared we grip harder. We bear down. It’s the only way to stop the bleeding. But often, in our paradoxical world, the opposite is also true.
There is this secret trap door. This other option. This ability within all of us to let go and align with our divinity and transcend ordinary thinking. I think of Emily Dickinson’s poem a lot: If your nerve deny you - go above your nerve. When we create a space in our lives to sit in solitude and silence and connect with our high self it’s like making contact with ground control. Give me permission to nose up a bit or drop down a little. Take me out of the turbulence. Guide me. Everything feels hard and impossible right now. Deliver me to a different altitude. A different attitude. I surrender.
One of the prayers I love best in my morning practice is simple: “Show me.” That’s it. Show me how to live, how to love, how to trust, how to hold my heart open when I’m terrified, how to be useful, how to be an instrument of peace. Show me how to wait with patience. How to move forward with conviction. How to listen. How to speak. Show me. Show me how to coexist with the things that break my heart. Show me how to be whole again. Show me how to live with meaningfulness. With kindness. Show me how to connect. Show me, show me, show me.
We cannot be led until we release our resistance and take hold of the hand that’s extended. We cannot find hope until we surrender our despair. We cannot find solutions to the problems in our world - personally and globally - from a strictly human perspective. We have to open it up and hand it over. We have to let that higher guidance in if we aim to transcend the shut down, hurting places in ourselves and live with inner freedom and joy. A full cup from which to give and to heal this world so dearly in need right now.