The Art of Surrender

By: Sarah Carter, LCSW

“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking. It’s akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding on to.” -Jon Kabbat Zinn

Does life ever feel overwhelming? Do you find yourself having difficulty with managing the challenges that you are faced with? Do you ever find yourself wondering when you will overcome the physical or emotional challenges that you are faced with?

Surrendering to what we cannot control can be very difficult. It means surrendering what we want and accepting the circumstances that we are facing. It can be an incredible empowering process that allows us to accept ourselves and circumstances without judgement. We can then meet our circumstances with understanding and compassion.

Mindfulness is a way of responding to our everyday lives with attention, focus, kindness, compassion, and ease. It allows us the opportunity to sink into non-judgmental awareness and cultivate wisdom through each moment that we experience. We can simply breathe into or observe the moments of our life by leaning in, instead of running, avoiding or creating distraction that ultimately may lead to disconnecting from our true selves.

We often create our own distress or suffering from fighting with life or resisting the things we don’t want to experience. Our brains are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. However, when we continually avoid pain to “escape” emotions or experiences to these behaviors we create a myriad of problems because painful experiences are part of our life experiences.  Life can become a beautiful unfolding process that teaches us and expands us if we allow it to create generosity, understanding, empathy and wisdom. Of course, the alternative is disconnecting and or numbing to the experiences that we have identified as painful. When we take a step back and look at our experiences, we can see the beauty that is cultivated through our painful, joyful, and even neutral experiences. It creates a whole-hearted and rich life and one that is cultivated as we move through our own understanding of life as it unfolds moment-by moment.

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