It always amazes me what shows up when people say ‘yes’ to themselves and going on retreat. This last retreat to Ecuador was no exception with day after day of synchronicity and delivery of exactly what was needed! ‘What’s needed’ often comes packaged in ways we would never order up on the life menu.
In this case, some of the ways it showed up was in the form of lost luggage, near-missed international flights, witnessing a dying animal, communicating in a language I don’t speak (well), physical experiences pushing the limits of what’s comfortable in our bodies, dropping agendas, and for me – finding myself face down on the earth in a sweatlodge – something I had never wanted to do.
And you know what changes these situations from being unwanted, horrible, and frustrating to holy-shit-amazing, perfect and unbelievable nuggets of Universal love???
Context. Curiosity. Opening your mind.
SURRENDERING to what’s happening and TRUSTING there’s something perfect for you in it.
A great group of people came together to get real about areas in their lives that weren’t working or that they wanted to relate to in a more powerful way. They were willing to show up, take a leap of faith into the unknown, and what they came away with was clarity about what matters to them, where/how they’ve been hiding out, and how they actually want to show up in their lives that has them feeling passionate, aligned and more of who they really are and have always been. They have been taking tangible, courageous steps in their lives since returning home and are already reaping the benefits of the breakthroughs they had on retreat.
Retreat is a homecoming – coming home to the heart.
Whenever I create an experience, I ask the experience to show me what the intention is for the people that are showing up. May sound wacky, but it works every time, and I’m learning to roll with it. For this retreat, the intention that came up was Surrender & Trust. What that told me was that those were going to be the areas of breakthrough for people, and that control and distrust were going to show up too. (Little retreat leader sidenote - this is a heavyweight intention, so I was wiggling in my seat a bit, knowing I'd be stepping into this intention wholeheartedly myself.)
Let’s start with SURRENDER. Did reading that word cause your gut (or butt) to tighten just a little? We humans have a real love/hate relationship with surrender. The love part is that it feels like a giant exhale when you find that you don’t have to hold onto the thing you’ve been holding onto so tightly. The hate part is that before we let go, we have to face and challenge the fear that’s had us holding on so tightly.
Growing up in the US, we swim in the waters that value success and winning, and waving a white flag isn’t an option. You can look to any history book to find that. As young kids, what we learn of surrender is having to give something up that we really don’t want to, to someone who has power over us (i.e. having to give up your box of Hot Tamales because your dad says – ‘No Hot Tamales before dinner – fork ‘em over!’).
But what if we looked at surrender from a different perspective – one that is more empowering than waving a white flag and giving up candy to authority figures? What if we used surrender as a tool of acceptance? A tool that when we found ourselves striving, grasping, and digging our heels in, we actually asked ourselves,
“What am I refusing to accept that is currently happening?”
What I’m pointing to is that most of our discomfort, pain and suffering comes from trying to argue with reality. Reality = what’s happening.
So, we’re fighting with what’s happening. This is a battle you won’t win. But don’t take my word for it – try it out for yourself.
The next time you find yourself frustrated, striving, grasping or digging your heels in, try these steps to see if you can find some freedom through surrender. It can be helpful to write down what you find as you go along.
1) Notice what it feels like in your body (is there tension, sensation, emotions? where are they?) and your mind (is it busy or calm? are thoughts kind? angry? defensive?). Notice without judging as you write them down.
2) Take a breath and soften the part of the body holding the tension/sensation. Let your body be your guide - this is a pattern that’s been built over years, so start with something small like breath to interrupt the pattern.
3) Ask yourself - What am I believing needs to happen that isn’t? (what/who are you trying to control? Write it down!)
4) Then ask - What might be available if I wasn’t attached to controlling that right now? (Could be that you find more ease, peace, new solutions to old problems, and maybe that you don’t actually care to control the person/situation.)
Surrender doesn’t mean defeat, submission or stuffing your feelings and what matters to you. But if you are coming at something from a place of tension and forcing it to go your way it does mean you are trying to control life and that takes A LOT of energy that you could be spending somewhere else in your life.
Drop me a line if you get stuck – I love to help people find more freedom!!