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I’ve been playing around with surrender lately.  Thought it’s particularly appropriate in my situation right now, I do believe it’s an important concept.

Surrender, as I’m talking of it, simply means to accept what you find in your life.  A wise friend pointed out that surrender without positive action attached is merely giving up. I prefer the idea of giving in.  Getting in the flow of what’s happening and letting it take you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t paddle or flap your wings, or look out for obstacles in the way.  It’s just that you stop fighting the current and allow it to work for you instead of against you.

1) Surrender to the Daily Trip Ups
The best place to practice surrendering is with the little things.  When you didn’t get the flavor you really wanted.  Or when the lid doesn’t fit, the printer isn’t behaving, the kids are bouncing off the walls. You have a choice.  You can get pissed off, rant to yourself or anyone who will listen about how that’s just another sign that life is out to get you, things never go your way, you should’ve . . .  (or whatever such babble might come up that makes you feel bad). Or you can surrender to the fact that the kids are just playing, that this is not the right lid, or the printer needs some attention. Tell yourself that it’s all for the best.  Maybe today is strawberry.  Tomorrow could be blueberry. Use the small things to practice for the bigger ones.

2) Surrender to the Moment
It’s quite easy and possible to stop and surrender to this moment. It only takes one breath. I find this extremely helpful in the holiday season.  When things get to moving too fast or too loud, if you take a breath and see what’s around you, you might find some good stuff.  Even if there’s nothing going on and it’s quiet.  Whatever is happening, surrender to it.  Just this one moment.

3) Surrender When There’s Nothing You Can Do
Keep an eye out for those things that you truly can’t do anything about.  At least not now. They’re not so hard to surrender to. Simply acknowledging that there’s nothing you can do about it can kick you into surrender gear. The rent’s due, but it’s Sunday and there’s nothing you can do about it today.  So “Don’t worry.  Be Happy.”  Just accept it.  You can take your positive action tomorrow. The Dalai Lama said, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

4) Surrender to Your Right to Shine Your Light
We all have something to shine.  It’s not really a right, I just liked the rhyme of it.  It’s more like a purpose or even an obligation. I believe that we are all put on this Earth to share our light. The light that’s inside of us.  That’s not exactly easy.  But if we practice with this thought, maybe we can learn to let it shine!

5) Surrender When You Feel Caught
If you find yourself stuck in resistance or obstinance or anger, or a meeting that won’t stop, just breathe out and realize you’re there.  Take a moment to ask yourself, “Can I accept this situation as it is?  Do I have a choice?”  This is where you are.

6) Surrender to the Joy
I happen to believe it is a Loving Universe.  If I allow myself to see all the joy around me, I’m reminded of that.  Surrender to the hot bath, the loving embrace, a good meal.  There’s so much in this world to enjoy!  It may be hard to surrender to a bleak situation, but not so hard to surrender to what’s good.  Practice where you can.

7) Surrender to God
Caroline Myss said of surrender that it’s about saying to God, “You choose, I’ll follow.” Knowing that we don’t know it all and can’t see the whole picture.  We can trust in and surrender to God.

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We all see things through a filter.  Even if we are willing to face life directly, we still make the choice what we are going to name what we see in front of us.  It helps to stop a moment and ask ourselves, “How am I going to relate to this situation?”

It is up to me to give this situation a name. Am I going to see it in a positive light – through the eyes of the Loving Universe?  That whatever I was hoping for just wasn’t meant to be.  I can learn something and grow from the experience.  Or am I going to see it in a negative light – as if I was being punished for something?  That I failed again and was never really good enough to get it, anyway . . .

Same situation either way.  I can still tell the truth about it and accept that it happened.  No matter how I choose to view it.

If I choose the Loving Universe theory, I melt the negativity gripping my heart, my hand, my mind, my emotions. Things loosen up, settle down. And then I can see life even more clearly, the situation can come into sharper focus.  It no longer hurts to look at it.  I can see the picture better and because I’m not so afraid, upset, angry, frustrated, insecure, unsure . . .  I can stand more confidently in who I am, in a far better, more stable position from which to take action. Whatever it might require. Rather than be standing on wobbly, over-wrought legs.

This grounded, positive stance gives me a calmer head for making choices before I act. It allows me to pause long enough to consider, rather than being run around by emotions.  My E-motions, emoting me into an action I may not have chosen. It gives me a moment to make a better choice.

In the end, any choice is really okay.  Making a choice is better than not.  Any one will move me forward.  But I have to imagine that a choice made in joy, from a more peaceful mind, is going to lead me to a more joyful place.

Plans change more often than they play out.  Life is like that.  The weather reflects this.  It’s hard to predict which way the wind will blow.  You don’t always know how the atmospheric conditions will change. Here’s another one of those simple phrases to practice with.

If you throw up your hands and ask, “Now, what?” with a pleading in your voice, you’re not really looking for an answer.  But when you ask it with curiosity, “Now, what?” it becomes a powerful quest.

The act of asking it grounds you in the present moment.  To ask this question, you must first accept what is happening. It comes out of a clear view of how things are now.

This is the Art of Rolling with it. When you roll with it, you welcome whatever’s at your door.  You embrace it and let it show you where to go.

Now, what?  What are you going to do with the current situation?  What are you going to do about what you wanted to do? I find it’s helpful to answer those questions.  If I must do something else right away, I don’t want to forget what gets shoved aside. I like to reschedule it as soon as possible.  Get it replanted so I can be sure it will get done.

When things change, take a breath and ask, “Now, with this new situation, what am I going to do, what do I want to feel?”

As the wind will change a beautiful day, it can change the direction of my day, my week, my hour, my years.  I wish to remain open and bend in the wind without it breaking me.

Part 2 of 2 – see below.  (This post is kind of meant to be read AFTER the previous post.)

I have written before about “The Wealthy Spirit,” a delightful book from Chellie Campbell.  In the book you will find an essay for each day of the year, along with a quote and an affirmation.  One of the essays is about the voices we hear in our heads.  Often these voices came from parents, teachers and other adults we were around as children. In one column Chellie lists the negative voices and another gives us positive words we can use to drown out the negative. Things like “Can’t you do anything right?” or “It’s for your own good,” can be replaced with more loving ones like “You can do anything you put your mind to” or “I appreciate you.”

One of my favorites is “Let’s create some fun together.”  I remember many times, as a child, when I was scheduled to go somewhere and at the last minute, I couldn’t.  Or when I asked if I could do something and was told that I couldn’t.  Children are not always soothed by the facts: “I’m sorry.  The car broke down and I can’t take you.”   “They cancelled the party.  There’s no place to go.”  These messages may not sink in, may not matter when your heart was set on it.  All you’re left with is a feeling of being deeply disappointed.

But what if someone said, “Maybe you can’t do that fun thing, but let’s you and I create some fun together”?  What a wonderful thing to do for a child! Offer him something fun to do.  What else might feel good right now?  Let’s accept the disappointment and move on. There are other enjoyable things in life. “We can sit down and draw or play a game together.  I’d say these are two of a child’s favorite things: playing and getting time and attention.

Play is a chunk of time to do something you really love to do.  For me, it would include creativity.  Doing art is how I like to play.   I emphasis doing because play entails some kind of activity.  While taking a bath might be thoroughly delightful and a healthy thing to do, it is not, strictly, “play.”  Playing might be taking a walk in the woods.  Better still, swimming.

Play is an amazingly healing thing.  But I think most of us don’t play enough.  Sure, there’s rest, but I’m talking about play.

One of the gifts of play is to use it when you’re otherwise disappointed by plans.  When plans change and you’re given a gift of time.  What are you going to do with it?  Sometimes that can be overwhelming.  Especially when you’re used to working all the time (see below).

Many times, when I find myself with unexpected time, I just don’t know what to do. Surely there must be something productive I can do with it.  That would be the thing to do, wouldn’t it?  Particularly since I’m always feeling behind. This could be a chance to catch up.  But then I find myself whining, “I doan wanna.  I want to do what I was planning to do!”

Wouldn’t it be great to use this disappointment to do something good for yourself? I try to keep a list of ways to play when I find free time. Play can be a perfect filler when your energy is cranked up anyway. Though I’ve not been very good at it (see the previous post), I think it’s important to figure out what would be fun for you.  Knowing this can really help a workaholic!

I happen to think that it’s a personal definition.  For some, going to a party is fun.  Not so much for me.  There are, of course, harmful ways to play.  But what I’m trying to get at here is just that one person’s play is another’s bore or turn off.

What a shame most of us didn’t have parents to model that for us.  Wouldn’t it have been great if we were taught how to make fun from disappointment?  Given tools for discovering what fun and play is for us?  What a great skill it would be to take with you into the world!

Now I am all for things that are productive AND play. Ultimately, isn’t that the idea?  To get to a place where everything is play. Cool, now I’m playing the Work game, digging my work, playing this part. Oh, now it’s time to play the Family/Loved Ones game!  Now I get to play with people I love.  How cool is that?  Next I’m going to be playing the Game of Caretaker, tending to needs.  Tomorrow I think I’ll play the Sports Game. . .

Life would feel a whole lot better if we played all the time.  What an amazing gift to give the art of re-setting to a child!  Easy to do, too. Just help them to find alternate plans. Create fun with them. Show them how good it can be when what you wanted or expected doesn’t show up!

I understand the concept. It’s about energy and vibration.  If I’m vibrating with love now, I will attract similar vibrations.  If I’m picking at things I don’t care for in my current situation, I’m likely to keep finding things wrong in the next situation.  If I don’t harmonize or vibrate the way I want to feel, I’ll never make it to “there.”  I need to accept the now with the same feeling I would accept what I want.

But, I’ve been wrestling with this for days. I get caught up in thinking that if I love that which I do not choose, it will become my Then. Doesn’t that kinda figure? It feels wrong (or odd) to say I love this the way it is, if I don’t. I’m frankly nervous about giving my thumbs up, if you will, to things I really choose to change. There is no use telling me that things change because sometimes it feels like they don’t. It sure looks like I’m stuck in the same stuff I’ve been trying to change.

Okay, I know that life is always changing  – even if it’s not the way I imagine. I guess what this concept teaches is that it’s about feeling good no matter what and then things will change to meet the new vibration. But how does that work, anyway? Do those good feelings and vibrations transform my life into what I want?  How does life know how to change?  From my Want?  Vision?  The Intention?  The good vibes?  What’s to keep life from staying the same since I seem to be so happy with the way things are now?

Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to wedge good feeling into things that don’t naturally generate them.  I know what feels good and this is not it!  Maybe I’m straddling the two.  Thinking I can somehow lasso the life I have to the life I want. If I pull hard enough they will come together. They have to become one, eventually, don’t they?

Do I need to look at what I Do Not Choose more carefully so I can figure out how to change it?  But that leads me to ask,: Why isn’t this change working?  What am I doing wrong?   No, thank you.  That feels like a closed valve, keeping good things from coming my way.

The Positive Slant says, why not?  Doesn’t it feel better to love my now AND my then?   The Secret, of course, is to love what you have.

Could I live without an intention or a goal, though?  Seems hard to me.  As Paulette Terrels has said, What if your Purpose is Peace?  Or Love?  Or even Joy?  Rather that this or that _____.

The things I love in my current life don’t have to have anything to do with what I may not “prefer at the moment.”  I can base my Joy on Whatever Happens or on things that are connected to the situation only by their flavor – like joy or peace.

A practice might be to find those things that feel good which are not directly connected to the life situation or the thing I do not choose. Not entangling myself in what I do and do not want. Like finding some middle ground between the two.  A bridge which could connect them.  What are some things I Love about now? Being able to help others. Taking a walk on a beautiful fall day. Thoughts about my future.  A drink of cool fresh water. Having time to express my art.  Being with people I love. Taking good care of myself. Doing something special for me or my loved ones.

The trick, according to”Conversations with God,” is . . . To choose something while not condemning, but loving too, that which you do not choose. For one thing, this thing I do not choose is what brought me here – closer to that which I Do Want.

The key then is to love whatever is happening, holding my intention lightly.  After all, loving life every moment does not lock an otherwise not wanted situation in place.  The more I can love whatever is in front of me, the more of that same feeling I’ll get.

In the end, it must be about getting past Do and Do Not Want – into Acceptance of whatever is there. It’s all a Joy, all a ride.

The Vastness of the Now (from the book that never was)

The Universe is what holds us all together, makes us one. The Universe is composed of everything, all of us. We are one with the Universe.  The Universe is so big, now must be our frame of reference.  Something we all share.

What’s already happened is past, what will happen is dependent on what is done now.  As Dan Fogelberg said, “We are fettered to the future, we are prisoners of the past.”  But all we really have is now.  Trying to live anywhere else is like straddling a wide stretch of water. You’ll either be jumping back and forth or spend your whole life immobile.

In order to fully accept and allow, you must be in the now to see what it is you’re accepting. Anything else is insanity. It’s all happening now. You cannot say you accept something if you don’t know what it is. And trying to pin down the past or the future is nothing more than futile. There is nothing else but the now.

All the power is stored right here in the present moment.  Anything you want to do starts right here, right now.  It would be nice if you could skip to the future and have what you wish. Or sit down and wait for it to come. But that’s not how the Universe works.  It’s all about energy. And the secret to using energy is to know that it all starts now.

All the answers you seek are here, now. You won’t find them scraping around in the past because that’s done.  You won’t find answers in the future, either, because you just can’t get there.  Most of us do not have the ability to see clearly into the future.

So, if we wish to live sanely, we must fully inhabit the now.

Waiting is a wonderful time to practice allowing.  You are welcome to change your mind, be proactive and say, I’m NOT waiting.  You’re empowered to do that, if you please.  But if you want to see the doctor, get your car fixed, get into the show, you are going to have to wait. That’s just the way it is.

So, I can sit (or stand) here and complain about it.  Keep checking the time, as if that will make the wait end.  I can fuss and be uncomfortable, thinking about all the other things I could be doing.

Or I can switch on the gratitude and enjoy the distant rumbling of the cars, the people around me, the quiet, the view out the window . . .   I can be grateful I have a chair to sit in and pen and paper to keep me company.  I can be glad I have a phone so I can let someone know who might be waiting for me.  I’m breathing.  I’m alive.  And before I know it, I’ll be off doing something else!

Sometimes breathing may be all you can do. But you can do that.  Be aware of your breath. That will slow down the antsies when you are deep in anxious mode.

I’m glad it’s a sunny day and I’m feeling well. It’s great to know my car is getting fixed and will be running so much better!  I’m glad to have water to drink and the money to pay for this repair.  Won’t it be wonderful when I’m finally sprung!

Waiting and getting through it easily – or with a lot less resistance – is very good practice for allowing.  When you can accept that you’re waiting, you can allow the time to pass without fighting it, without squirming in it.

It’s an odd thing: I seem to have a limit to my waiting patience.  I can be patient for exactly so long and then it runs out. For awhile, it’s easy, letting time pass. But all of a sudden, at some point, I find myself questioning what’s going on, wondering if I will ever get out of here, checking my watch, over and over again, feeling my stress level build. It’s at these times, I realize I need to work on it. I start by reminding myself that this is my choice to sit here and wait.  I breathe and find a few things to be grateful for.  I turn my focus on what’s going on around me.  Then I can feel the stress leaving my body.   I’m just here.

Certainly, sitting in traffic is about waiting.  Anything that puts you in a position where you have to be still.  Even if you’d rather not.  That is the key.  Accepting that there are no other alternatives.  It’s sometimes easier to do in these more mundane situations.  Practicing on the smaller incidents in life can help you to accept things like a job change, partner leaving or disappointments of all kinds and intensities, even illness or death.

If you use your waiting time, any frustrating situation you find yourself in, you can practice being willing to go with it. Breathe through it and practice patience and allowing.  You may find a time when you will be glad you did.

Interesting things these expectations.  On the one hand, they are good to pave your way.  When you know something’s going to mess up, you expect it and it doesn’t upset you so much.  Expecting only good things to come your way opens the way for nothing but good  to come to you.  Expectations can set you up to accept, allow and open to life flowing.

On the other hand, expectations can trip you up.  Expecting others to act a certain way or that things will happen in a certain way, is futile at best. How much does anticipating that things will mess up create the circumstances ripe for exactly that?

People who expect to have a good meal on the table, expect to have money and be healthy, tend to have all those things.  How much of our expectations affect the weather, I wonder?  Or allow the sun to rise each day?  The collective conscious belief is a strong one.  What you believe about life tends to put you in a position of expecting, which can set up the conditions for that being your experience.

I’ve not thought this all the way through.  I welcome your comments on this concept of expectations.Interesting things these expectations.  On the one hand, they are good to pave your way.  When you know something’s going to mess up, you expect it and it doesn’t upset you so much.  Expecting only good things to come your way opens the way for nothing but good  to come to you.  Expectations can set you up to accept, allow and open to life flowing.

On the other hand, expectations can trip you up.  Expecting others to act a certain way or that things will happen in a certain way, is futile at best. How much does anticipating that things will mess up create the circumstances ripe for exactly that?

People who expect to have a good meal on the table, expect to have money and be healthy, tend to have all those things.  How much of our expectations affect the weather, I wonder?  Or allow the sun to rise each day?  The collective conscious belief is a strong one.  What you believe about life tends to put you in a position of expecting, which can set up the conditions for that being your experience.

I’ve not thought this all the way through.  I welcome your comments on the concept of expectations.

1) Make a Choice to Do It.  
Setting the Intention and putting some enthusiasm behind it is the best way to get going.

2) Plan Wisely.
Be sure to know how I’m going to do it.  Don’t overload.  Consider how I’m feeling and what else I need to do.  What will my overall energy requirements be?  Find a good time to do it.  And know the steps I’m going to take.

3) Know  the Reasons I Want to Do It.
This will increase my enthusiasm and seal my commitment if the going gets rough.

4) Accept That it May Not Get Done the Way I Picture It.
Doing what I say I’m going to do,
Has nothing to do with when.
Not being able to do it now (or when I planned),
Doesn’t negate doing it at another time.
Simply say when I will try again and stick to it.

5) Check to See if There’s an Easier Way.
I increase my chances of doing it if I make time to find the quickest route.

6)  Get Into the Good Feelings.
Remember how wonderful it feels to do what I said I would do, to follow through on my promises.  How about that feeling of  crossing it off the list, knowing I did it!

7) Remember the Steps for Goal Getting.
First is knowing what you want to do.
Second is figuring out what it will take to get it.
But nothing gets done unless you Take the Steps.

8) Stop to Appreciate the Accomplishment.
It’s so easy to jump into the next thing.  If I make sure to appreciate the accomplishment, I strengthen my will muscle and my commitment for the next goal.

When things go wrong in our lives, when we have upsets or heartbreaks, that’s the time when we really need the Positive Slant.

It’s easy to feel, at times like these, that you have no control. That what’s happened is out of your hands.  It can make you sink into helplessness.

The truth is there are things you CAN do.

It’s very important to feel what you’re feeling.  Be sad, mad, depressed, or sorrowful. The trick is to not let yourself sink into it.  There is a tendency to feel safe in your wallow.  That’s not going to help.  Allow yourself just enough time to acknowledge and face your feelings, accept what’s happened.  Then, move on.

Having a next step can often dig you out of it.  Get busy figuring out what you need.  What can you do to feel better, to deal with the situation?  If there’s something that needs your attention to rectify or soothe matters, do as much as you can.  Break it up into tiny actions.  A small amount of effort applied regularly, produces results.  You may not be ready to tackle everything at once, but you can time a small step.

This is a perfect time to practice reaching out for help.  It is NOT essential for you to face this alone. You may find, after your boyfriend or girlfriend is out of your life, for example, that you have a lot of time on your hands.  Rather than sitting home, feeling sorry for yourself, call on your friends and family.  Ask what they’re doing and if you can join them.  Encourage them to include you in whatever they’re doing (especially if you’ve been cutting yourself off with your significant other.)

An important note here is that people will find it much easier to give you what you need if you tell them, specifically, what you’re asking for.  Most people are happy to help, but don’t often know how.

As you go through your day (after all your friends can’t keep you distracted every moment) search for and collect whatever you can find that makes you feel good about yourself and your life.  What do you still have to feel good about?  Make a game of it.  See how many you can find.  Ordinary things are the best to fill your basket quickly. Things like the way the sun comes in the window or a tasty lunch.  Also, be sure to notice when things go your way.  When you get a seat on the subway, when you get what you wanted, when you’re praised or acknowledged for a job well done.  Find whatever you can to keep your thoughts off what’s bothering you and on what’s good, what makes you feel better.

It’s crucial at this point to take really good care of yourself.  Step up your self care.  Go out of your way to do nice things for yourself.  Eat well, get some movement, and stay away from situations which strain your emotions.  This is a time to be selfish!  If there are things you need to do, it’s better to face and do them. Just pad the way as much as you can.

When you’re feeling stronger, see if you can play with the situation. Can you turn it around, inside out and look at it from another perspective?  Exert the Positive Slant and see things in a new light.  You may be able to turn something “bad” into something positive, something that could be really good for you – a lesson, a growth.

When you can start seeing in that new way, with perhaps a sense of excitement, with a solid foundation of gratitude, you’ll know you’re on your way to healing.

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