Sometimes I just have to surrender.
Sometimes I have to give in to the weight of my emotions. Sometimes I have to embrace the feelings of the moment. Sometimes I have to just allow what I feel to be.
I don’t agree with those who force a smile through the pain. I don’t subscribe to the dogma that suggests I am not my past. I don’t follow whims of gurus who would preach a path not to my liking.
This is, after all, my experience, and sometimes I just have to surrender to it.
Sometimes I have to cave to the waves of memory that invade my conscious shores. Sometimes I have to walk in shoes I’ve already worn and broken down. Sometimes I have to just be me in my un-Buddha like, un-Christ like, un-Krishna like state.
I just have to be me.
Strong in my frailty, perfect in my imperfection, tested by fires lit yesterday and left to burn in this present moment. I must exist in this time, often pressed by emotions seared into my mind many moons ago, a gift of time not forgotten in my wiser, older age.
See those pages I discard as I merrily walk my path? Those aren’t pages of my life discarded as lesser parts of the whole. They are pages of dogma sent by others, suggesting that their experience somehow trumps my own. Discarded are pictures of supposed perfection. Trashed are scripts written by others for me to follow. Gone are the transcripts of the testimony others have offered by which I am supposed to judge my entire existence.
A few years ago, I decided to stop reading the books others have written and to start writing my own. I decided to stand up and take an accounting of my own experience, not judged based on the whims of others, but rather put into context by the experience I wish to have.
Not the experience others suggest I should have, but the one I wish to have. Not one decided for me by a past page in my own book, but by what I want out of this very moment.
So while the voices of my parents and family, friends and foes, lovers and those who would cast me aside still sing loudly in my mind, my heart follows its own path. A seeker once led by the opinions of those whose love I sought, I am now the master of no one else but me.
It is just so f*cking liberating.
I don’t seek to end those voices, I seek the strength to let them be without condemnation. I no longer trust them as guides, but as advisers who can only contribute to the choices I ultimately make. The voices don’t make my choices, I do. I am the only responsible party.
Want to see real courage? Be a young boy in a crowded auditorium who cries at the end of Old Yeller. Be the boy who walks away from confrontation despite the taunts of others just because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Be the teenager who stands up to his abusers knowing what is coming in the aftermath.
Want to know real transformation? Be the young man who chooses to change as he hold his firstborn, the very first love he has ever felt. Be the man who tries to love despite his own fears. Be the man who, in the pits of his despair, finds his own voice in the chorus. The voice that sees him through the night. The voice that shows him how to take real responsibility for his life, and to finally love himself.
Most of all, be yourself.
The issue most of us have with that statement is we never truly get to know ourselves. We often see who we are through the eyes of someone else. We are too fat, too thin, too big, too small, too bold, too scared and so on and so on. Awareness isn’t about always having a smile and a kind word, sometimes it is all about understanding the tears and the anger we feel. Forgiveness isn’t always about loving others despite their “trespasses,” but loving ourselves despite our own.
I attest that holding a grudge is, in fact, an inability to forgive ourselves. I held a grudge for years against my “family,” and it wasn’t until I forgave myself that I could forgive them. Yes, there was plenty to forgive myself for. The feelings of ineptness I had, the sadness I felt toward myself, and the rage and anger I expressed towards others. I had to forgive my mistrust of others, and it wasn’t until I forgave myself for not trusting others (and the behaviors I exhibited as a result) before I could finally, mercifully, trust others.
It wasn’t until I forgave myself for the anger and violence I allowed into my life that I was able to be free of it.
For me, forgiveness is a recognition that everything that happens in my life experience has good in it. Everything. There is not one single thing that one could consider “bad” in my life that isn’t, in reality, good. Every “bad” I have blamed myself for in the lives of others has proven to be good for them. Because of this, I can’t see anything that has ever happened in my life as a bad thing, despite how others may view it.
I am a force for “good,” regardless of how you may see it. Isn’t that an interesting perspective?
I am very, very happy, even in my moments where happiness seems out of reach. I’ve learned to not wait out the storm, but to dance in the rain. Have the experience, don’t sleep through it. Be awake, be aware, and watch the smile return. It has to, because that is who I am.
So, I surrender. I give up. I acquiesce. Surrender is not a passive experience. I don’t surrender to hunger by starving to death, I surrender to it by finding food. I don’t surrender to love bowing down to it, I surrender to it by embracing it. I don’t surrender to pain by suffering, I surrender to it by understanding that suffering is completely optional and deciding what experience I wish to have.
My younger kids recently asked me a question. It started with my daughter.
“Dad, why did you do that for (confidential)?”
“Because I thought I could help her.”
“Well, she doesn’t help you.” (I teach my kids to be completely honest with me.)
“I don’t do things based on what others would do. I do them because I choose to do them. My actions should always reflect who I am, and no one else. The sun doesn’t shine because you want it to, it shines because that is who it is.”
So, I surrendered to me. What I wanted to do. Who I wanted to be. All despite the voices in my head that agreed with the very notion my kids were asking me about. I decided to be the change…
I’m happy with that.
Author: Tom Grasso (Gyandeva)
Editor: Travis May