I started playing soccer at the age of three, and eventually played professionally.
One day I just stopped. I was burnt out, injured and hungry to experience life outside the game.
I thought soccer was my life, then yoga and meditation found me. My soul broke open to vulnerability, unconditional love and gratitude. I fought the idea that these practices could be a way out until the answer came to me in savasana—it was time to surrender.
I began walking directly into the things that scared me most. I started my imperfect dream company. I ditched unhealthy relationships (especially the one with myself). And most importantly, I decided to make love the priority.
Surrendering isn’t easy. But I draw tremendous strength from knowing how I was living wasn’t working. I don’t have to be perfect—I just have to keep moving forward with an open heart.
Here are some words of wisdom on surrendering to help us embrace what life has in store for us:
1. Stop Waiting: We will never achieve our goals if we don’t even start. Whether it’s diet, business or relationships, the time is now. Avoid the trap that we have time to start later in life.
“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time? My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
2. Leggo your Ego: Defend the ego less and try to understand where thoughts arise. The ego is protecting an image created by society—let it die by observation. If we can watch our thoughts, then we are not our thoughts. Go beyond words and be fearless, love!
“The day you decide that you are more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you are in the thoughts themselves—that is the day you find your way out.” ~ Michael Singer
3. Be a Starving Lion: Maybe we are stuck because we’re chasing the wrong dream. If we don’t want it bad enough, let go and find something we are passionate about. A lion knows it has to eat to survive, and we know we’re headed in the right direction when we chase goals like our life depends on it.
“Optimism, pessimism, f*ck that; we’re going to make it happen.” ~ Elon Musk
4. Don’t Feed Haters: When we stop taking everything personally, that energy is freed up for greater pursuits. Negative feedback can be beneficial as long as we don’t personify it as our worth.
“When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~ Miguel Ruiz
5. Dump the Unicorn: That “perfect” person or situation doesn’t exist. Focus on the quality of relationships, business, school—everything.
“Quality is the best business plan.” ~ John Lassester
6. Ink It: A dream doesn’t mean being the best at something, or achieving grandiose goals. It’s anything inside us that’s asking for attention (and won’t shut up). Whether we want to become yoga certified, adopt a dog, or just read a book monthly, write goals out with timetables and post them in a visible spot. Studies show that those little reminders can significantly increase our chance for success.
“You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.” ~ Seth Godin
7. Attempt Love Suicide: It’s a simple fact: we’re all going to die someday and holding back love is detrimental to living fully. Imagine everyone we meet during a day will die at midnight. Treat them with kindness, compassion and love, to the point of exhaustion.
“Remembering that you are going to die one day is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. Follow your heart.” ~ Steve Jobs
8. Try New Shoes: If we are feeling lost, put ourselves in the place of someone or something else: a malnourished child, a shelter dog, a polluted river. Then go out there and volunteer your time for others and the earth. When we serve, we forget ourselves, and all that is left is love.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Gandhi
9. Be Joy: Don’t fall into the trap of “I will only be happy if I get the perfect partner, a better job, a nicer car.” But then what? The mind will continue wanting, it will keep climbing for some unreachable peak. Try to be happiness in the present moment, and make joy unconditional.
“Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.” ~ André Gide
10. Get to Work: Instead of complaining about work and anticipating pain, we need to watch the narrative in the mind and do the work. Yes, it will be hard, but procrastination will kill our dreams of creating the best version of ourselves.
“Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.” ~Eric Thomas
Author: Keith Donahue
Image: Author’s own; Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron