Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Surrender..the art of letting go.........

I've often talked about surrender and when I do I am often asked, why would you want to give up your power? So let's be clear......surrender isn't about giving up your is about FINDING your power....the inner power that we all possess. When you surrender something you are no longer connected to the outcome.....THUS, whatever you are surrendering no longer has power over YOU. In essence you RECLAIM your power. Remember, I've stated before that what we give attention to, is what we manifest. If we are experiencing a negative experience, something we have no control over, yet we continue to try to "fix" it or give attention to it....we are thus manifesting MORE of it. This goes back to what I spoke of in my blog entry "Compassion"....if we let go of the OUTCOME....we surrender ourselves to accept ALL possibilities. The universe is INFINITE!!! If we hang on to one possibility of how things will be, then we are likely to miss out on the millions of other outcomes.

I see this often in relationships. ( and have personally experienced it in several!) One person has one idea of an outcome...the other person has a totally different idea. When we suddenly come to realize our partner's agenda doesn't match our own we panic! We try to "fix" it or manipulate it in some way. Instead, we should simply surrender. WHAT??? I can imagine that many of you had an emotional reaction to my last sentence. Does this mean we give our power to THEM?? No, it means we keep our power. We are not effected by the outcome. Thus, we surrender to all possibilities. We open ourselves up for something bigger and better. A perfect example: you are all set to go out on a fantastic date....about an hour before the date, your partner calls and says he/she had a horrible day at work and would rather just stay home. This changes your plans entirely. Do you fight it or go with the flow? You could try to manipulate your way into getting the outcome you are attached to...and likely have a horrible time because you are now both resentful...or you could sigh and surrender to all the other possibilities. If you live with your partner, maybe the two of you will have a wonderful evening together...after all, your partner had a bad day...there's some compassionate bonding that could happen here. Conversely, maybe you decide you still want to go you call up your haven't been out in a long time with your friend and you get the rare chance to catch up on old times. The possibilities are endless! But first, you must surrender.

I use the example of relationships because that is something I see often. We forget to surrender to possibility here. Perhaps, we think surrender means giving our power away.....but just the opposite is true. We tap into an inner strength, an inner wisdom when we surrender...when we let go of the outcome. But truly, the choice to surrender happens every day......several times a day. I have often found myself running late and feeling frustrated and a bit angry because things beyond my control occurred just as I was trying to leave the house. I'm sometimes humbled to see on the road in front of me an accident that recently occurred. I then think...."if I had left on time...?"....who knows. But I surrender anyway. Yes, I'm running late....I can't change it..all I can do is take responsibility and call if someone is waiting on me. But I can surrender and not feel guilt and frustration.

So does surrender then mean you are irresponsible? That you live your life willy-nilly waiting to see what happens? No. It doesn't mean that you sit around and do nothing and wait for something wonderful to occur. It means letting go of things that you CAN NOT control. There are lots of things that we can control in our lives....we can control our emotions and reactions, but not those of others. We can control our lifestyle, but not those of others. We can even control how fast we drive when we are running late....but we can't control the car in front of us on a winding two way street. We can't pass it. Blowing the horn at the driver isn't likely to help. So our choice is to surrender. Sit back, relax and you might catch some scenery that you missed before.

When I think of surrender I think of the last line in the Serenity Prayer..."and the wisdom to know the difference". We are not in control of a lot in our least not on the physical plane. But when we surrender and allow our spirit/G-d/our higher wisdom to take control then the outcome is always just as it should be. It may not be as we WANT it to be.....but it will always be as it should be.

So how do we surrender? It isn't always easy to let just have to do it. Surrender is a choice......a very definite and conscious decision. Once you make the decision to must truly let go and give no more energy to a specific outcome. That which we give our energy to is what we manifest. You might then say, well, if I want this or that outcome then I should take control and give energy to only that specific outcome. That is fine if you are getting your degree or working on a specific project...this is something YOU can control. But in situations beyond our control, surrendering to all the possibilities is always the best option. Relationships are a good example, because be it a romantic relationship, a friendship or a familial relationship....YOU are only in control of HALF the situation. You aren't fully in control of the outcome. Surrender doesn't mean giving up, it means opening up. Opening up to whatever outcomes are possible.

Have you ever been searching for something and unable to find it? You begin to work yourself into a frazzle trying to find it......yet when you finally give up, there it is? This is surrender. You are no longer focused on looking in all the "logical" places. You aren't searching with blinders trying to rationalize where the item could be. You've given up!....AND opened up to seeing the whole picture and all the possibilities. So naturally, there it is.


Sunday, February 8, 2009


This is a big issue that has surfaced again and again. I am often told, "you are too nice" or "why would you do something nice for someone who isn't being nice to you?" The answer is simple....because it is the right thing to do. I'm often asked why I don't "fight back" when someone is treating me unfairly. ( and, for the record, sometimes I DO feel the need to....depending on the severity of the issue.) However, usually I remain constant and true to MY values and my beliefs. I can not change the actions of others. I am only responsible for my OWN actions/reactions. If I react with compassion, then I can face myself in the mirror each day knowing that I am doing what is right and just. I can choose how to react to someone who is being unkind. Choosing compassion releases me from the game of pettiness and fear. I now become an observer...releasing the outcome by knowing I held firm to my truth.

So does being compassionate make one a doormat? On the contrary. There is great strength in compassion. It doesn't take much personal strength or resolve to return hatred. Actually, it is often HARDER to look upon another person with love when he/she is least lovable. I don't, however, have to engage in pettiness or hatred....I can speak my truth and walk away. But I also need not stoop to a level lacking compassion.

I had a long discussion with a friend once about the idea of "too much compassion". What does that mean exactly? My friend contended that one can be "too nice" , "too forgiving" or "too compassionate". "How can you continue to give," she asked, "when you are getting NOTHING in return?" AH! The answer lies within the very question. So I answered with a question of my own...."why should I expect something in return?" My friend looked at me bemused and replied "well, because you are being so nice!!!" EXACTLY. I am not responsible for the actions of others....only for the actions I choose to make. I am responsible for my own acts of compassion, not for those of others. Therefore, I am doing what is morally correct for MY compass, for my own truth. Each individual has his or her own truth...mine is to be kind and compassionate. ( of course, being human, I often fall short...but that is another blog entry..LOL)

So how, then, can one be compassionate yet not feel resentful when that compassion is not returned? RELEASE EXPECTATIONS. If your compassion is tied to an outcome, then it is not true compassion. It is easier to give compassionately when we give simply for the act of giving/loving....rather than seeking reciprocation. It is nice when compassion is reciprocal....but again, I am not the keeper of another's choices. I am only responsible for my own. The next time you do something kind and compassionate for someone, ask yourself if you are expecting something in return. If you are, acknowledge this and release it. When you give compassionately for you OWN sake...then you are able to release expectations of others.

I do not believe that there is such a thing as "too much compassion" or being "too kind". I believe being kind is always the right choice.....regardless of the outcome.

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution” ~Kahlil Gibran

Kindness is never wasted. If it has no effect on the recipient, at least it benefits the bestower.” ~ S.H. Simmons

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Amazing Grace

The concept of grace has been surfacing regularly in my conversations during the past month, which prompted me to reflect on the term. My first thought about the word grace was a memory of the old hymnal from my days of exploring organized religion. I recall being able to belt out quite a soulful rendition of the hymn “Amazing Grace”. However, as I began to recall the exact words to this song, it occurred to me that they had the concept all wrong! The very first stanza states: “twas grace that taught my heart to fear”. Fear? Can grace coexist with fear? On the contrary, it seems that grace would be the absence of fear.

Most of us spend much of our lives reacting in fear. We lock our doors, in fear of intruders. We clutch our purses more tightly when passing a stranger on the street. Fear is ingrained in our thinking. Grace, however, is often not so intrinsic to our lifestyle. Grace exists where there is no fear. It is difficult to be graceful if we are fearing the worst. For example, a friend calls and suddenly cancels a long standing lunch date. Fear tells us to feel hurt, angry or bitter. Grace, on the other hand, puts us in our friend’s shoes and allows us to accept the outcome kindly and perhaps plan for a future lunch date. Grace doesn’t second guess. Grace doesn’t make assumptions. Graciousness, means accepting things as they are. Grace sees others as human and allows them to be who they are in the moment.

So how does one become more gracious? It certainly takes practice. It also takes mindfulness…being aware of your thoughts and reactions. When you are faced with a situation which requires grace, it is important to assess your emotions. Are you reacting from fear? If so, try rethinking the situation. Allow yourself to just “be” and view the situation as it unfolds, without judgment or blame. When we react from a place of fear, we are in a state of “doing” rather than a state of “being”. Grace requires replacing our state of fear with a state of love and acceptance.

Finding grace also requires reconnecting. When we reconnect to our spirit or “higher self” we are in a state of grace. We weren’t born with fear. We were born knowing that we would be loved and cared for. It is the events that occurred as our lives unfolded that replaced grace with fear. Through our experiences, we may have learned disappointment, distrust and lack. It is these things that, in essence, taught our “hearts to fear”. If we allow ourselves to reconnect to the innate knowledge that we are valuable, important beings then we begin to lose that fear. We begin to see the world from a more graceful perspective. Scarcity and fear are replaced with abundance and love.

Perhaps the most important step to finding grace is gratitude. It is difficult to be fearful when we are grateful. Grace lies within that absence of fear. Gratitude helps us recognize abundance. It also helps us recognize grace in those around us. Grace is something that is received as well as given. Opening ourselves up to receiving and appreciating grace, allows us to react in kind. Being thankful for even the “little things” in our lives changes our perspective and allows us to see grace in others as well as ourselves.

For me, the most difficult part of finding grace is extending it to myself. We will all at times “fall from grace” and find ourselves not reacting in the kindest, most gracious ways. It is in these moments that we should be gracious to ourselves. A state of grace, just like any state of “higher being”, isn’t always constant. So if you find yourself reacting with less than graciousness, relax, forgive yourself. Be grateful and be mindful. The next time you are faced with a similar situation, you might just surprise yourself.

The five steps to “finding grace":

1) Gratitude. Be grateful each and every day. I keep a gratitude journal in which I document at least ten things I am grateful for each day. It is easy to find grace when you are able to be thankful and see the wonder in life.
2) Seek grace in others. I often find that when I am running late, someone will allow me to move ahead in line or if I am rushed and frazzled a stranger will smile at me. It is in those small moments of grace that I am reminded of my own worth and that no matter what the perceived struggle, there is kindness and hope. The more you find grace in those around you, the more you will find grace within.
3) Be not afraid. Yes, I know that sounds ironically Biblical…but it is such a powerful statement. If we approach life and others in the absence of fear, we begin to see things differently. Grace is simple if you aren’t worried about whether someone is trying to hurt you or compete in some way. If we see others as fallibly human, we begin to view them with grace.
4) Be still. Often when we are at our least graceful, it is when we are trying to “do” something. We are in a hurry or we need to “fix” some sort of issue. Finding grace is as simple as finding the stop button. If we allow ourselves to take a break and just “be”, then once again our perception changes. With stillness comes grace.
5) Have faith. Whether it is faith in a higher power, in one’s own wisdom, or in the human spirit, just believing in a positive outcome allows us to react with grace. Knowing that things are not always as they appear on the surface gives us the ability to let go and find grace. Accepting the moment is an important key to finding grace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Gratitude

I've been keeping a gratitude journal for some months now and find it quite inspiring to go back and read some of my entries. It's often on the days that I can recall as being the most challenging that I have had my most profound insight into what really matters. Sometimes being grateful for the "little things" in life help us realize that those things aren't so "little" after all.

So what is gratitude? Look it up in a dictionary and you might find something along the lines of being thankful. Some synonyms could be thankfulness, gratefulness, appreciativeness or acknowledgement. But for me, gratitude is an attitude. It's a perspective and a mindfulness. It means taking time out of one's day to appreciate the things that make life meaningful. I remember my grandmother often chiding me to "count your blessings, child.". Back then, it just seemed like something she would say to get me to stop whining or complaining. Only now am I beginning to realize the wisdom in her words. When we are grateful, or "count our blessings", it changes our perspective on things. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, we begin to shift our energy to what is right.

Anyone who has watched "The Secret" knows that what we focus our intent on is what we receive more of. Gratitude is simply focusing our intent on the good things in our day rather than that which isn't as pleasant. When we begin to give our focus to the things we wish to manifest or the things which we are grateful for, not only does our mood shift....but often our outcomes begin to shift as well.

So, I encourage everyone reading this blog to take time out to think of at least ten things you are grateful for. Do this regularly, daily if you can, and watch the results.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's finally here......

Folks have been asking me to start my own here it is. Many of you have asked me to write about some of my random musings and thoughts. I hope you will find my musings thought provoking, intelligent and perhaps a bit humorous. Feel free to leave a comment or two. I'd love to see this grow into a discourse of many musings. So, sit back, grab a cup of tea and enjoy!