Surrender to one’s Work, not work, is the essence of Life, not just a ‘life’ or the life you are told to ‘get’.
As many say, while we live, we must Live – with every ounce of our being, joy, focus, happiness, and use of our talents and gifts. To live, spending pennies of our life-moments and not living as if we will never have ‘enough’, as of course we can’t take those pennies — our moments of time — with us.
We have to live pouring out abundance and not being a miser with our energy, our love, our talents and gifts, or our Living. As another famously said, I want to be spent when I die, not die with energy and more to give hoarded away inside.
I am re-reading a lovely, life-changing book by the late Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler entitled Life Lessons.
The gist of it, through story, David Kessler’s beautiful reflection, and Dr. Kubler-Ross’s late in life wisdom (she herself was nearing the end of her life at the time of publication), is that it is when we embrace our own inevitable death, we truly are able to live – to Live, On Task and On Purpose with each of our moments we still have to spend here. Too often we do get to this gist of living only with bad medical news or late in life; what a pity, as when we live knowing life is short, we tend to engage more with our time, our love, our passions, and make use of the gifts, talents, and heart-felt purpose we each feel inside. Life becomes more like a lovely ice-cream cone; you know you can’t save it for later when it’s already dripping down your hand so enjoy it thoroughly now.
Toward the end of the book is a chapter on Surrender in which David Kessler tells the Story (Truth begets Story) of a 50-year-old man who faced losing a leg due to complications of his diabetes. He needed encouragement and permission to feel all that was associated with the crisis in front of him and was really angry, of course, as he careened through the grief of his circumstance. David Kessler picks up the story here, as he asked the man if he could “surrender to the situation as it is”.
‘”The horrible possibility that you may lose your leg is constantly on your mind; it’s dominating your thoughts, it’s filling you with fear and anger. Why not think about it for a while, be with it, then let it be? If you’re going to lose your leg, you’re going to lose you leg. Thinking about it, pretending that you are not thinking about it, or refusing even to talk about it isn’t going to make it happen or not happen.”
‘The man responded: “So if I make peace with losing my leg, if I completely surrender, will it be saved?”
‘I reminded him that deep spiritual work is deep spiritual work. We can’t bargain with it, we can’t say, “If I’m spiritual enough, will I get the prize?” . . .’
If I’m spiritual enough, will I get the prize?
How many of our moment-to-moment situations in our lives fill us with fear and anger, the twins of demons that eat our life-moments, ebb our energy and our health, and push us off center and off task and purpose? We’re taught culturally never to surrender. And yet, how many of us can fill in another situation, to replace the one in the story, perhaps not as serious or perhaps more, which we pretend not to feel, or think about, but which eats us alive? Especially when starting over, newly jobless or careerless, made redundant and fearing for our future well-being, after life-changing events have happened when returning from war or the race, as well as when starting out for the first time in our life-journey, facing school debts and feeling clueless? We all have these moments.
And we do bargain:
If I’m special enough,will I win the prize?
If I’m perfect enough, will I win the prize?
If I’m spiritual enough, I win the prize?
We do this, if only to assuage the fear of . . . surrender.
Surrender to what?
Surrender to what life is presenting, at this moment, as we begin again this day our journey in a finite life-time. Surrender to trust, to peace, to knowing there is good and light somewhere here, if we just let Life and living be what it is in this very temporary moment.
It’s true that feeling that peace even for a moment can shift your journey from fear to interesting to relief to excitement to even delight.
Surrender is not ‘I give up’, but rather ‘I’m okay and I will look to see what I can do here . . . what are my choices?’ In peace that this is the journey we often can see what is a choice, a new route, a place of beauty, a new call. In your choice to be You, authentically and joyfully you, working with your gifts, following your instinctive Yes, is your power. And there is also your Life, being fully lived moment by moment. We surrender to Life and decide, in peace, that we can let it be . . . a journey.
David Kessler writes:
“We take back our power and regain peace of mind when we let things be as they are.
We are, in effect, saying, “I am going to be happy
I’m not going to put it off.”
That is surrender to your joy, your living Life while here, and to your journey on task and on purpose, filling every one of your pennies of time with the light you are here to give this world.
May you accept your prize today:
A day full of joy, of peace on your journey, and of good — really good — Work that is yours to do in this moment of your Life-time.
Life Lessons, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, Simon and Schuster, 2000.