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The Year of Surrender

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck
January 23, 2017

This blog post was supposed to be published on January 1st. We really meant it, too. We talked before the holidays about an inspirational post to start the year. The 1st came and went with our busy schedules and other priorities. Other activities, decisions, and commitments monopolized our attention. 

On Friday of the first week of the year, we talked again about the post, feeling the mounting pressure to write something inspirational and meaningful to help our fellow idealists. "We'll have no problem doing it next week," we thought. "We really need to get that done," we said. 

We created an outline and kept assuring our marketing manager that we were on it. Our own self-inflicted pressure began to build. The more we tried to work on it, the harder it was. Guilt and stress quietly stirred inside.  

Welcome to the Year of Surrender.

Most of the idealists we work with, including ourselves, have been brought up in a model of striving. We all like to achieve and we're taught that achievement comes from hard work, setting goals, and pushing to get things done. Most of the models we learn as kids from education to athletics teach us that success comes from hard work. 

But that model starts to fray around the edges as we get older. We start to notice the role of divine intervention in our lives, the frequency of synchronicity, and the uncanny way that the unexpected can change course of our lives in an instant. The chance re-connection with an old friend; the meeting of a new one; the career born of a random encounter; the slight delay that keeps you safe from an accident. The more these "random" events happen, the more we realize they are not random at all. 

Nature seems to know and operate by this principle. Flowers grow all on their own without a task list. Trees are born when one seed is blown by the stray gusts of wind to land five hundred miles away. In nature, even setbacks aren't setbacks. Whole forests regenerate with life after a blazing fire, necessary for their rejuvenation. In nature, nothing is random so nothing needs to be coerced. Yes, a seed needs strength to grow through the ground, but it does so in its own time. Nature doesn't need an iPhone. Nature doesn't need email. Nature doesn't need to be told what to do and how to do it. 

As we look toward our own true nature, we can see the angst we put ourselves through by working against this principle. Do you ever wake up and find that you are really motivated to do something? Maybe, to clean the garage? And how effortless it seems to go when you have that in-the-moment inspiration? 

How about the opposite? Do you ever wake up dreading something that you are "supposed" to do that day? Do you notice that it takes twice as long and feels half as good to get it done?

What's the difference?new year picquote.png

The difference is surrendering to nature's flow -- the same flow that is within us. When we work within this flow, we flow. Everything becomes easier and more enjoyable. When we push against it, or fool ourselves into thinking we can control it, everything becomes effort and struggle.  

When we release the need to strive, push, and figure things out, and instead allow ourselves to respond to what feels most present, we enter into a state of flow. When we let go of our need to control our day, work, and relationships, we open ourselves to possibilities that are far greater than anything we could have planned for or imagined. 

It's not uncommon for us to go into the office after a week on the road and see that we have eight hours of meetings back-to-back. We're both wired to achieve and we have big dreams that need "heavy lifting." So invariably, we say, "Yes" to the meetings -- and invariably, half-way through the day, we're complaining that we need more open space. 

What's funny is that when we give ourselves open space, we see that decisions and insights come to us quickly. This is what we are practicing this year: Surrendering to nature. Surrendering to the divine timing. Surrendering to the benevolent intelligence that is always on. Surrendering to the mysterious muse that is guiding our way towards the fullfilment of our dreams. 

This doesn't mean we don't act and do what needs to be done. It does mean we hold a bit more loosely to our own expectations of self-worth around how much we need to accomplish, what we need to accomplish and how those things get done.

We've noticed for ourselves that when we practice surrender, we feel happier and healthier and we make better decisions.

It's tricky. Some days we find ourselves more caught up in striving, proving and pushing than others. We're learning in those times to take a step back, let go and allow the world to work with us rather than against us. What we know to be true is that abundance, connection, and fulfillment come through surrender. 

What are you pushing on or striving for that is causing you stress?  

We invite you to let that go and join us in practicing the art of surrender. 

We wish you and yours a belated happy New Year! 

The best is yet to come!

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