Monday, February 22, 2021

Surrender


If I am to surrender to a higher power: my problems, efforts, self, I have to actually let them go.

I forget where I first heard this analogy, but it has stuck with me. In the analogy a young boy has a broken toy and hands it over to his Dad to fix. But he doesn't want to let it go. 

Like us. 

We may want to micro-manage the repair. We may want to keep hold of it while the higher power works with it. In both cases we are not letting it go. We are not surrendering it.

To really surrender it, we have to be willing to never see our desire for it fulfilled. We have to let it go and trust our higher power to fix or to not fix, to keep or to return. It doesn't belong to us. It belongs to the world. And we have to be perfectly ok with life if it never gets fixed.

I have a thing going on that might be resolved by the time this story goes out to you. Or it might not. I ordered an internet system that is new to our area, and by all accounts a good idea. So I ordered it. One part arrived exactly as scheduled, but the main component is no-where to be found. In the past I would have had a pretty strong emotional investment in this new tech, but today I don't lean in quite so hard. I've been disappointed by promises like these since internet became a thing. So I refused to think about it too much until it was installed and working. I connected with the shipping company, and when I got no-where with them, I contacted the shipper. The shipper sent out a second unit. Then just like the first unit, it, also, is no-where to be found. 

Something greater than me is causing a glitch in the matrix. 

I thought about the child with the toy. He really had to give it up, to let the responsibility for the repair lie in someone else's hands. I had to do the same. So I asked my Internet Angel to take care of this for me. 

Surrender doesn't come easily in a society that emphasizes personal responsibility, and downplays the connections that interweave our lives. We get tangled up in personal responsibility. At what point does this stop being my sole responsibility and start being the world's responsibility?

Depending on our conditioning, it can be hard to find that middle ground. 

By thinking I'm letting Divine Beings handle the details, it's easier for me to give over personal responsibility. They certainly have a bigger view of the situation than I do, and I can assume, as Beings of Light, their plan is beneficial for all. That softens the disappointment.

It is getting easier as I get older, too. A lot of things in life are annoying and stupid and never get resolved. That's just part of life. And as I am less able to carry the responsibilities I carried when younger, it's easier to kick back a bit and let others do more of the heavy lifting. It doesn't mean I give up all personal responsibility though. I'm not going to plunk myself down on a beach and do nothing (although that sounds pretty nice). 

But I still get caught up in my attachments. I can see myself as that little kid, grimly hanging on to my toy - or my belief, or my role, or my ... stupid internet.

All these things belong to life. To the world. They are not mine to hold. So each time I find my mind thinking about those missing packages and wishing I had better internet, I hand the problem over to the Angels again. It may never get resolved, but I figure it has a better shot in my Angel's hands than mine alone.


(photo by Trym Nilsen)

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Gratitude



My yoga teacher offered us all a January challenge. She suggested when we awaken each morning, we think of something we are grateful for before we turn on our phones, or get involved in our day. 

It's a good habit. Especially when life gets stressful. Someone else suggested the same at bedtime, "Be grateful for three things in your day before you shut your eyes."

I'm not going to explain how beneficial gratitude is. We know it is. 

It's the challenge part that is a, well, challenge. Changing habits can be hard. We get locked into our routines and rituals. Especially when life gets stressful. But one small thing a day can be done. If we forget, we can remind ourselves and try again. Then as the habit becomes more set, we don't need to remind ourselves as often.

Recognizing the little blessings is just as powerful as the big things: a warm drink on a cold day, the scent of onions cooking, internet fast enough to stream. But we have to stop for a sec and connect with them. Morning or night can work. As can grace at mealtimes - whatever its form, it's a way to pause and remember all the labours that brought the food to our table: the sun, rain, farmers, transport, market, cooking, everything. 

I've been trying to remember the bedtime one and grace at mealtimes. I forgot at bedtime a few nights ago. But when awake in the night and thoughts of politicians and pandemic started to creep in, I reminded myself "3 things." It wasn't easy. It was a day or two before the inauguration in the US and tensions were high. Who wants to think about something fluffy when we have politicians and pandemics going on? So I did "1 thing" instead of 3. The next thing I knew it was morning.

Sometimes it feels just too hard. But there's a trick to deal with that, too. I can say, "If I could feel grateful right now, what would it be for?" Then even if I don't feel the connection, the door opens.

There's two aspects of gratitude I've noticed. One is deliberate like the examples above, where we take the time to feel that connection. The other is spontaneous. I'll be in the middle of a quiet activity and find myself unexpectedly grateful for something. It seems to rise like a bolt out of the blue. The more I practice the deliberate types, the more often the spontaneous rises.

Gratitude changes us for the better. It makes room for joy to percolate through our cells. So if you don't already have a gratitude practice, maybe you can take this up as your February challenge.