April 10, 2019

What if “Surrendering” Ruins my Whole Damn Life?


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It’s a word thrown around so often and so casually that I feel, in some ways, we’ve lost sight of just how profound the very act of surrendering can be.

I’ve been in one too many yoga classes where the instructor touts some paraphrased version of this idea picked up in a book or from another teacher. I can’t help but wonder how many of them truly practice what they are regurgitating back to us. How many of them actually understand the true meaning of surrender? How many of them are mindfully letting go each and every day?

But then again, I found myself wondering if I even understand the meaning of the word myself.

As a self-proclaimed control freak, “letting go” and “surrendering” have often evoked a lot of eye rolls from me, but mostly a lot of deep frustration and anxiety because honestly, I really suck at it. I’m always wondering, how the hell do I surrender? Am I doing it right?

As a chronically nervous person, I often find myself full of worry, full of this need to manipulate and control as if that will bring me the peace I’m yearning for.

And then I wonder what will happen if I surrender all wrong? What if I surrender and something I don’t want shows up in my life? What if life gets all mucked up because I sat back, gave up what I think is right, and gulp, surrendered?

What if surrendering actually f*cks my life up?

But the last couple of years have stirred a curiosity deep within me and I realize it’s time to explore the truth behind this idea deeper. Because one thing holds true: it seems like the harder I grasp onto the things I cannot control, the more suffering I seem to experience in my inner and outer world.

And I’m so bored with my suffering.

I’m so bored with the narrative swirling around in my head. The stories, the trauma, the anxiety buried deep in my chest.

I want it to rise up and out of me so I can just be, well, me.

I want to feel in total alignment with who I believe myself to be and have the confidence to bring her to the party no matter who is around or what is happening in my life.

I’m constantly hearing, “Let go, Amanda. Let go, Amanda. For God’s sake, Amanda! Bloody hell…just let go already!” It’s no longer a whisper. In fact, it’s a feverish shout as if life has both hands clasped around my ears while simultaneously tapping on my head asking if anyone is home.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I mumble. “I’m coming. Hold your horses.”

I’m stubborn and a control freak and what is that saying? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And then I wonder, maybe I’m just not ready to give up my suffering. Maybe I’m not committed enough to being truly happy. What if part of me really loves my pain?

I had to find my own way to this moment.

To surrendering.

I had to wade and navigate through all the questions and the little voice that tells me all the lies of unworthiness and the self-inflected turmoil of long expired stories that keep playing over and over from deep within.

I had to find my way to letting go naturally. I had to want it that bad.

This experiment is a mix of curiosity and the profound wake-up call I feel I’m having to go inward in a way I never have before.

So with much anticipation, a little nerves and a deep inhale, here I go.

I’m surrendering.

For the next 30 days I’m committed to this sacred act of letting go.

I’m not entirely sure what this will look like, but here are a few things I do know:

When worry about money shows up, I’m going to remember that it’s always worked out—not to mention I’m innovative and creative.

When fear of abandonment comes knocking, I’m going to tenderly love myself, hands clasped over my beating heart as I whisper to my inner child, “It’s okay, you are okay. I am here and I’m never leaving you.”

When anxiety taps on my shoulder, I’m going to gently invite it to sit with me in silence as we close our eyes and breathe in and breathe out.

When I question my inner voice and feel like making a choice out of fear, I’m going to lovingly remind myself that I’m on the right path. That I am supported.

And when my ego kick-starts the engine, I’m going to remind her that I’m driving. She’s welcome to ride along, but she does not have full control and I have no tolerance for backseat drivers.

I’m not sure where this will take me, but I can assure you, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

So, does surrendering really work? We shall see.


author: Amanda Whitworth

Image: Author's own/Instagram

Image: Amy Treasure/Unsplash

Editor: Naomi Boshari

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viviana.md9 Apr 13, 2019 10:30pm

This is great work! I needed to read this as I too and a control freak. Thank you

peamark Apr 13, 2019 8:07pm

Amanda – thank you!
So perfectly written and so perfectly explained and it was like the words were taken right out of my head and put down in writing exactly as I feel them! (Except the “let go” bit would be Paula!) ☺️
So heart felt. Same struggles and same doubts. And same damn determination to make it stop.
Today was the perfect day for me to read this and not only know I’m not alone in feeling this way – but also to be reminded that if we trust ourselves and our inner child and inner voice we can do anything!
There only is the NOW. And there only is OURSELVES.
We have to take the best care of them that we can. And listen. And be BRAVE.
I look forward to hearing about your journey.
You have already inspired me.

Beverly Gibson Apr 13, 2019 4:46pm

I have found that, for me, letting go is not always an option. If I “let go” of everything, my life would be in upheaval. I simply cannot allow that. There are times that it could possibly be an option but for the most part, I feel the need to guide things. The one thing I can let go is my need to fix or guide other people. I have learned that others are not my responsibility. My children are raised and no longer at home so that part of my job is done.

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Amanda Whitworth

Amanda Whitworth is a creative director and mentor working with multi-faceted creatives to simplify their lives and find their creative flow (and just be happier too). She’s also a wood artist, writer, and Jack(ie)-Of-All-Trades kind of gal. Currently living in Encinitas, CA Amanda is moving to a goat farm in Bodega, CA and will be living in a yurt.

Amanda can be found working in her workshop, study herbalism, moving her body on the local trails or playing with her dog Baker and cat Louie. She writes about life. The ups and downs of illness (mostly cancer), mental illness, relationships, and soon to be “yurt life.”You can also find her woodworking Instagram or her website.