It’s been about six months since I started to explore the idea of surrender and decided that I would completely immerse myself in the concept and find resources and teach myself and talk about surrender as much as possible. 

In those past six months, I have read multiple books (multiple times). I have listened to podcasts. I have been a member of a surrender study group that met for eight weeks. And most recently I led a Surrender Summer Camp with a group of people, also equally interested in surrender and curious about how we can practice surrender in our own lives and how we can practically apply surrender concepts. 

My Notes and Thoughts

Today, I want to share my notes and my thoughts with you since I’m about 6 months into my own surrender journey. I thought it would be interesting to give you a six month check-in.

In case you haven’t listened to my episodes from earlier this year, when I talked about learning about surrender and learning how to practically apply the steps of surrender, I’ll just give you my personal understanding and definition. 

As I know it right now, surrender is letting go of trying to control the outcome, letting go of trying to control other people and letting go of trying to control reality. 

When I say “trying to control” that is the same thing as resistance. This is maybe why the surrender work has been so attractive to me because my entire work and focus last year was all about learning to recognize and release resistance. Now I’m recognizing part of releasing resistance is surrender. 

What Is It Exactly?

So what does surrender look and feel like? One of my current favorite teachers, Tosha Silver, calls surrender a relief. 

It’s relaxing this clenching, this grasping, this holding onto that we might be doing so automatically and so much in a default way that we don’t even realize that we are doing it. It might feel so familiar to grasp onto and hold onto and control that when we finally do surrender, it can feel like a liberation. When we are liberated and when we feel open instead of grasping and tight, when we’re open to acceptance, instead of fear, or instead of trying to defend ourselves against everything, then we have more awareness and openness to possibilities and to seeing our options, which we may have been blinded to before. 

When some people hear the phrase surrender, they get an immediate response of no, they don’t want to surrender.They think surrender is like giving up or giving in. Maybe they think surrender is being submissive. 


It is submitting. Submitting to reality. It is giving up the idea that control is even possible. It is giving up the illusion of control and it’s also giving up our own personal need to control. 

When we are living in resistance, we are spending so much of our own energy and our own effort, and we can’t even see possibilities that might be available to us. We make it harder and more stressful on ourselves. 

And we’re so accustomed to it that we are not even aware of that additional effort, that additional stress, that additional difficulty. 

Learning to surrender and making surrender an intentional practice helps to relieve that pressure and difficulty. Practicing surrender opens my mind and it opens me to more possibility. It reminds me of a lovely and important belief: that I am and always have been fine. And I believe I will continue to be fine.

In Tosha Silver’s book, It’s Not Your Money, she shares five practical steps to surrender. These are specific things you can do to get this openness and awareness and abundance. 

I reworked and renamed those for myself so that they would make sense to me. 

Three Suggestions for Surrender

So instead of five steps, I actually have three suggestions, but they are kind of a combination and a remix of the steps that Tosha offered. 

One of Tosha’s steps encourages cleaning and getting rid of physical possessions. I expanded on that idea because in addition to physically cleaning, I also liked the idea of intentional brainwashing myself. 

I intentionally brainwashed myself by reading Tosha’s Full Abundance Change Me Prayer every single day. And, maybe I’d memorized it, but I still read it off of the paper.

As I got more and more familiar with it, as I went, I changed some verbiage. I took away some words that didn’t really appeal to me. I added phrases, especially once we were in the study group and talking about this work together and noticing other things that aligned with it. 

This intentional and daily brainwashing is very helpful. What if you said a phrase or a verse or a poem or a prayer or a song lyric to yourself every single day that you had personally, especially curated for yourself that reminds you of the messages that you want to hear?

Daily Active Reminder

What if you had a daily, active reminder of the beliefs that you want to carry with you every day? What if you read that to yourself and believed it and internalized it every single day? That’s, so what I did, and it really made a huge difference in my outlook, in my noticing my thoughts. It just really made a difference. It can’t hurt, even if you’re skeptical, why not give it a try? 

In addition to the brainwashing, if you also decided to do the actual cleaning and clearing, like getting rid of physical, tangible things from around your space, it makes room for other things. It shows you that there is so much space and there is so much openness. It can be a metaphor, but it’s also a great practice. Plus it sends you down an experiment of getting rid of things and noticing your own, maybe inherited or practiced, beliefs and thoughts that pop up as you try to let things go. You might start to wonder why it might be difficult for you to let some things go. 

Saying No and Yes

The second step that I combined Tosha’s five steps into is “Saying no and yes.” Say no to complaining. Say no to scarcity thoughts. Say no to feeling sorry for yourself. 

Say yes to opportunities. Say yes to possibilities. Say yes to being open. Say yes to receiving compliments. Say yes to accepting help. Say yes to being generous. I like that the meaning of this reminder, this suggestion, of saying no and yes is very succinct, even if it isn’t clear or obvious on its own without explanation. It is kind of easy to remember if you know the backstory.

We say no to the things that don’t help, like scarce thinking and complaining and worrying. We say yes to the things that do help, like being open, being generous, being accepting, and receiving. 

Give and Receive

The third suggestion I have been following in my own surrender practice is to give and receive. I love this one because it perfectly illustrates Tosha’s idea or metaphor of being a conduit. Imagine yourself as a pipeline instead of as a container. If you are a pipeline, things come in and things go out, things flow through you. If you’re allowing things to flow through you, you are allowing yourself to receive things. You’re also allowing yourself to give things. When you’re in the space and the practice of giving and receiving, you can see how much you do have to be grateful for. So that means you can give freely because again, because of the last suggestion of saying no and yes, we’re not being scarce anymore. We’re not worrying anymore. You can give freely. You can let things flow through.

The Power of Surrender

Some other reading that I did as a result of the surrender work was I was reading Judith Orloff’s book. The Power of Surrender. (I noticed that the book has two different titles that might be based on if it’s the audio book or the physical print copy.) So I think if you just look up Judith Orloff, if you can find it. I really appreciated what she said about surrendering in relationships. 

When I think about relationships, it also takes me back to my coach certification training and noticing if we have expectations for other people that might be a source of stress and resistance. If we think other people should be different than how they are, of course, we are going to be disappointed because people are how they are.

If we expect them to be different then we are expecting the wrong thing. So when we have a healthy relationship with others, we allow them to be exactly who and how they are. We decide in advance to just love them unconditionally, no matter how they behave. 

Loving People Unconditionally

I have noticed people have a hard time with that one. People think: “well, yes, I love unconditionally except, but what about if they do this? Or if they do that?” That’s a condition! You’re saying if this condition is met, I will no longer love. What if you asked: how could I love someone unconditionally, no matter how they act, no matter what they do. 

Unconditional love doesn’t only about other people, it’s about loving ourselves as well. In my surrender work I am learning to have a healthy relationship with myself as well. And to me, that means I practice believing and knowing that I am 100% worthy and whole. On the surface, we might say: “well, yes, of course I know I’m worthy. Of course, I’m a whole person.”

Are You Good Enough?

But then do we really act like that? Do we really tell ourselves that throughout the day, or do we tell ourselves “I’m not good enough? I should have done that better. If only I could be this, instead of the way that I am.”

Some of us are giving ourselves these messages constantly that we are not worthy and that we are somehow less than whole. 

It might not be actively, specifically telling ourselves we’re unworthy or less than – but an example of how I see this in myself sometimes is when I’m journaling and I get a prompt about what I deserve credit for or what good feedback I can give myself in the moment. Instead of easily coming up with an answer, I’ll spend a few minutes negotiating with myself. Something will pop into my mind and I’ll immediately discount it – implying to myself that what I did was not good enough or should have been better. It’s very subtle, but as I have been doing this work, I have been noticing these subtle, sneaky examples. 

This might also apply if you have been a people pleaser, either right now, currently, or in the past. It’s important to notice that you do not need to please someone else. In fact, that’s impossible. You cannot please someone else. If someone else is pleased, it’s because of their own thoughts, not because of the occurrence of your behavior. 

Worthy of Love

But, we easily believe that we need to please other people to be worthy of their love or even worthy of their attention. The truth is we are already 100% worthy of love and attention and respect, and we don’t need to control what other people think about us or how they feel about us. 

In fact, not only do we not need to control that, we couldn’t if we wanted to. 

Noticing What’s Blocking us

As we’re learning to surrender and noticing that we want to be an open conduit for abundance and generosity and love to flow through us, to experience a life of surrender, we might notice that we have some blocks against doing this. Some of our blocks might be really important-sounding obstacles and long-held reasons about why we wouldn’t be able to move towards what we want. 

These blocks can come alongside of emotions like doubt and fear and confusion and even unworthiness. As we notice that we have a block in an area, maybe it’s time to examine that block and really consider: “is that a real reason? Is that thing that I believe even true? Where did it come from? Where did I pick that up? When did I start believing that?”

We might also want to consider why that block has stuck around and not just dissipated or evaporated on its own. Why have we continued to believe it and continued to let it block us?

Releasing Blocks

As we notice the blocks, we can then decide to intentionally release or clear those blocks. You can do this metaphorically, like with some kind of a little ceremony: maybe writing on a piece of paper and burning it 

You can release blocks intellectually as well. I think a really effective way to clear blocks is to notice them first, and then to work through them,  is journaling -really honest, authentic journaling. 

If you really get honest with yourself and write down what is blocking you, and then instead of blaming or shaming yourself for feeling blocked by it, you really get curious about it and allow yourself to consider why and how it blocks you and what would it be like if it wasn’t blocking you and just consider it from every different angle, that can help release some of the block. 

As we were going through this most recent eight weeks in Surrender Camp, some of the comments that I got from were:  “wow, this is a lot of work. You’ve given us so much to think about.”

Pretty Uncomfortable

Yes. Doing Surrender work can bring up some uncomfortable and unfamiliar concepts and ideas. Part of the surrender work is finding comfort in discomfort because the thing that our brain wants to do the least is run towards an uncomfortable situation. That’s part of our evolutionary makeup.

Our primitive brain’s job is to avoid pain and seek pleasure. So when we consider maybe I’m going to spend eight weeks, or six months even considering how I can give up control and how I never even had control in the first place and how I’m going to allow things to unfold as they will, without my interference. We might think “I could never do that. it sounds completely uncomfortable to not know the outcome and not to be able to control the outcome and have to give up things that I’ve believed for a long time and examine some ugly or not so great parts of my own personal belief system.” Yeah, that’s pretty uncomfortable. 

We can accept that discomfort is part of growth and transformation, and remind ourselves that we’re willing to find comfort in our discomfort. We’re willing to notice our own fear and our own resistance and our own hesitation about making changes. Then when we do encounter discomfort, we recognize that this was expected and we can even welcome it. We can even use it as a marker of growth and transformation. Maybe why it’s uncomfortable is because part of this work can be accepting our own responsibility instead of blaming others or blaming external situations. 


Have you ever or found yourself blaming a neutral circumstance for what’s happening? Could you notice if accepting responsibility and allowing yourself to take responsibility for what you control in this, which is just your reaction?  Just your thoughts. Does that help you loosen or reduce any tightness or any constriction that you might feel? 

How would it feel to be open about what is actually happening in life instead of feeling shut down by it? 

How can you accept responsibility for your own reaction and your own thoughts and feelings instead of giving that responsibility (in the form of blame) to someone else or some outside situation.


And the last concept I want to bring up from the surrender study group, the books and resources that I’ve been studying to learn more about surrender and from the surrender camp that just ended is the concept of trust. 

You always have the option to trust or distrust. 

Think of how you feel when you trust and then think of how you feel when you don’t trust. Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to trust because we think we’re protecting ourselves. 

We could ask ourselves, are we actually protecting ourselves from a true threat? Or is this from a possible, made up future threat that our primitive brain is suggesting to us? So the question would be, is this self protection in the form of lack of trust? Is it helpful or harmful?

As I re-listened to the Learning to Surrender episode I recorded for you back in February, I recognized how far I have come in this learning so far this year. 

But, at the same time, as I discussed how to let go, and accept and allow with my fellow Surrender Campers over the past 8 weeks, I recognized how much of this I am still learning and gaining new understanding about. 

6 Months In

Six months ago I was worried about being bored and living a monk-like existence. That definitely has not happened – at least not in the past 6 months. I have noticed that as difficult and unfortunate things pop up for me, I do not feel as threatened by them as I might have in the past. 

I have also noticed that I am so much more relaxed about planning things. I think planning has been a proactive form of control for me in the past. Now I feel a little more loose and open about not needing to have an exact, specific plan. 

I am noticing myself trust that things will probably work out and I will probably be fine. 

I can see myself choosing not to spend time or energy worrying about things I might have invested more time and energy in in the past. 

What About You?

Have you noticed a difference in listening to this podcast each week?

Do you see the effects of surrender from your vantage point?

Have you started incorporating surrender into your own life?

If so, how have you done it?

If not, why not? Do you have any resistance to surrender?