Welcome to season 4 of the Release your Resistance Podcast. I’m super excited for the next 8 episodes.
I’m always excited for all of the episodes, of course, but to start this new year, and to ground myself in a topic that has been so meaningful to me over the past two years, I thought I would invite you along a surrender journey with me here in January and February of 2023.
This is a first for me in this podcast! I’m pairing one of my notebooks with a series of podcast episodes so you can follow along.
You can listen. You can hold a journal in your hands and read along and then you can also reflect and write.
And later, you can read what you wrote. I think we’ve got all the major learning styles covered there!
The year before last, I created a workbook (Surrender Study Guide). It’s kind of like a school workbook. It’s 8 ½ by 11. The cover is bright and colorful. The inside is black and white. It has a lot of worksheets and activities to do, and it’s large print, by the way.
Last year, I reworked that workbook into more of a journal. The new journal is called Let Go and Surrender.
This is more of a traditional journal size and look. It has a more muted, feminine, floral kind of a cover (that’s matte instead of glossy.) The journal still has all the same content as the workbook, but the questions and prompts are written more in a journaling format so you have much more space because you’re writing more long form answers as you consider the prompts and concepts and ideas.
For the next 8 weeks, let’s take one section, each week and work through this Let Go & Surrender journal together.
(And, BTW, you do not need this specific journal) You can just use your own journal to write your thoughts about what I’m sharing or to do some of the prompts or exercises that I’ll share in these episodes.
You can use whatever journal you currently use. Or, if journaling is not your thing, these next 8 weeks are still for you!
You can just think about what I am sharing without writing anything down. There are so many options. There are so many ways to do this.
Re introduction to Surrender
I want to give you a reintroduction (or maybe a first introduction) to letting go and surrender. I’m using these phrases interchangeably. I’m not differentiating between when we let go or when we surrender. If you know of a reason to keep them separate and distinct in your mind, please continue to do so.
I asked a friend what came to mind when she heard the terms “letting go” and “surrender.” She brought up some very interesting examples that I would not have thought of but are so relevant, so I’ll share them with you in case they wouldn’t have occurred to you either.
My friend’s first association with letting go and surrender is in yoga – when the teacher suggests a pose and encourages you to just let go in that pose. For example, in child’s pose, what are you letting go of? Physically, you’re letting go of any tension or rigidity in your body, any need to hold anything up. You’re stretching out and allowing yourself to melt into the floor. Mentally, you may be letting go of whatever you are worrying or stressing or thinking about. You may just relax into a child’s pose and clear your mind completely.
I’m inviting you to consider surrendering and letting go with me so you can stretch out, relax and release any tension or worry.
Starting today, we’re going to break down the concepts of learning how and why to surrender and we will go week by week just like the workbook and journal are set up.
What is Letting Go
The mantra I shared in last week’s gentle journaling check in email that is also the very first prompt in the Let Go & Surrender journal is
“learning and practicing surrender in an intentional way can reprogram your brain and change your life.”
What do you think about reprogramming your brain and changing your life?
Have you ever considered that the way to do those things would be to let go?
The best way I can describe letting go is an actual physical metaphor of letting go.
Holding Something Tightly
Imagine you are holding on to something. Maybe it’s awkward to hold and heavy. Or maybe it’s tiny, so you need to really pinch your fingers together and tense them tightly to hold on to it – this holding and grasping is resisting gravity. If you weren’t exerting force and creating friction with your fingertips, the item would drop to the ground.
Depending on how long you decide to hold on (or in other words, resist gravity), you might develop a cramp in your hand. You might start to feel tired. The pain from your grip might make it hard to do or focus on anything else.
That’s what resistance does! It causes suffering. It makes you tired. It is more difficult to focus on other things when you are resisting.
Letting go is just opening your hand.
Right now – do this with me. Grip your fingers tightly into a point as if you are holding something with your fingertips. and Now release. Stretch out your fingers and spread them wide apart.
Doesn’t that feel good? Doesn’t that feel better than gripping?
And notice this – if you hold your hands palm up, you can still hold something in your hand without gripping and tensing. Your palm-up open hand is also a perfect place to receive something being handed to you.
Or, you could tilt your hand and let something fall from your hand into someone else’s open hand so they can receive it as you surrender it.
Surrender is not Intuitive
We are not taught the benefits of letting go through our education, marketing and entertainment or our family structures or through society.
In fact, we’re taught to try to control and to set goals and to hold on and figure things out in advance so that things go a certain way.
We know there is no universal 1-size-fits-all answer for families, and futures and relationships but because of our upbringing, because of our brain’s programming to conserve energy and to stay in the familiar, we don’t intuitively know that we can just let those expectations go.
We don’t realize that we can surrender.
Reprogram Your Brain
When we learn and practice the concepts of letting go and surrender, we can reprogram our brains.
And through that reprogramming, we can drop so much expectation, so much disappointment, so much grasping energy, and so much friction.
We can drop all of these things that are currently creating a less than desirable experience. and By dropping those types of things we change our lives.
Letting Go is Not Intuitive
Just on a personal note, finding and practicing this work is work and practice.
While I have seen and do believe that you can hear a concept and it can re-arrange everything in your brain in an instant and you’ll never be the same after, I also know that we can learn a concept and understand it logically, but need many tries and attempts and opportunities to change our habits and patterned thinking to really implement and embody a new concept.
I’m overcoming a lot of habits and patterns that I grew up with and that I thought were part of my identity.
Learning to surrender and let go is something that you actually have to intentionally plug in and replace old things with.
but Since I have done this work, I do think I feel more relaxed.
I feel more at ease.
I am more calm.
I see myself going with the flow.
Often, I notice I’m not being bothered by things that might have previously ruined my day.
I like myself better. I like my life better.
I’m more optimistic. I am more hopeful.
These are all things that I want for you. I do think you can have these by learning to let go and practicing surrender in your life.
I have a number of episodes that I recorded in 2021 all about my journey into surrender.
The first episode is called Odds and Ends. It was my very first little step into this work. I did not know what was ahead of me and how my way of thinking was about to change.
You can kind of hear the “new, fresh curiosity” in my voice in that episode.
Another episode was called Learning to Surrender. in that one, I talk mostly about my own questions about surrender.
Surrender Study Group
In 2021, I hosted a Surrender Study group where we had about 100 people in a Facebook group and about 8 to 10 people would show up weekly for our zoom discussions.
I believe the best way to learn something is to teach it and so during those 8 weeks of the Surrender Study Group, I really got more clear on my own ideas and concepts and I got to hear other people’s perspectives and examples and stories. I really appreciated everyone who participated in those 8 weeks.
So after that study group (and a 2nd group I facilitated), I recorded a Surrender Check In episode where I share more of what I learned through my research, the Study Group and through a Surrender Summer Camp I hosted the Summer of 21 (that summer camp was why I created the Surrender Study Guide).
A Funny Coincidence
While we’re talking about resources, I’ll share with you kind of a funny coincidence. In that same conversation when my friend told me that she immediately thought of yoga when I brought up the topic of Letting Go and Surrendering, I asked her what resources she would seek out if she were trying to learn more about this topic.
She said she would want a community – not a class or a program, but a group of people who were all interested in the topic and who wanted to discuss and learn from each other. She said that ideally, it wouldn’t have a teacher who would be sharing the information, but more like a facilitator who would guide the conversations and share the tools.
That description exactly matched that Surrender Study Group I hosted in 2021 and I had the same reasons that she mentioned for inviting people to join me! There’s another example of great minds thinking alike!
Your Own Study Group
If you are following along in the Let Go and Surrender Journal (or will be once you get it), there’s a space for you to write some notes about resources.
If you like the idea of being in a group, maybe you could invite a few friends to learn this work together.
If you like the idea of light accountability, you can decide to follow along with me each week and fill in the relevant pages in the journal as we go.
If you are interested in finding more formal and traditional teachers, like authors, and books, and podcasts, I have some recommendations for you too!
My own favorite surrender teachers include Michael Singer and Tosha Silver (and there are so many more).
I’ve discussed their books, podcast interviews and lessons shared in the podcast episodes I just mentioned.
I’m hoping you will use this episode and the next seven episodes to help you or learn about and consider and practice letting go.
I hope you’ll use the Let Go & Surrender journal because another of my favorite beliefs is answers you seek are inside of you.
So, yes, I want to share my journey with you and share what has worked for me and what I have learned through my research, and, at the same time, I know you will learn so much as write down what you think what you what you notice, what you become aware of when you think about these topics.
More Peace, Less Stress
Why should we learn to surrender?
Why should we practice letting go?
You can live a more calm, peaceful, less stressful life by letting go.
So think about that for a moment.
How would your life look if it were more calm, more peaceful, and less stressful?
One of the tools that is so meaningful and helpful as I was learning about surrender was to read an intentional message to myself every day.
I used Tosha Silver’s Full Abundance Change Me prayer (but I called it a poem). You could also use the Serenity prayer or a song lyric or some kind of verse or passage.
And as the days progressed, I actually ended up modifying and adding to and replacing words in Tosha’s writing that I was using. Then I decided to come up with my own fresh new message which I’ll share with you here in case you want to use it to read to yourself every day or use it as inspiration to write your own message.
The general advice is to find a poem, prayer, passage or lyric or some collection of words, that when you read them, you do feel the possibility of letting go
After you hear mine, you can repeat it to yourself. You can change some words so that it fits with your style better.
Write Your Own Verse
But whatever you end up using, see if you can repeat it to yourself and see what changes in you as you hear that repetitive suggestion day after day.
Let me surrender.
Let me remember that all of my needs are met.
Let me remember to be excited and joyful.
Let me be intentional.
Let me be open and gentle with myself and others.
I can express myself.
I know others will see me how they see me.
Let me remember my inner wisdom is always present.
Let life show me its divine mysteries.
Let me feel whole.
Let me surrender.
When you hear those suggestions and ideas, what comes up for you?
Do you notice any resistance? Do you feel any disagreement?
Was there any of what you just heard unavailable to you? That might be your first area for surrender and letting go.
Chakras and Maslowe’s Hierarchy
I really like thinking about my energy in the form of chakras as a metaphor.
Whether or not you believe our energy is tied to the greater energy through these spinning centers aligned in our bodies, you can think about the different areas of life and existence and your search for enlightenment through the order of chakras.
Consider the 7 chakras as a kind of checklist for yourself. Run through the list of them to let yourself notice where your energy might be blocked or where you may not be fully allowing or accepting.
I like the idea that the chakras start at the root and each of the chakras has a different meaning or purpose associated with it.
Meanings and Associations
As far as the meanings or associations go, the first one, the Root Chakra is about basic security, and then we move up to creativity, and then power and will and then love, then communication and intuition. And finally, your crown chakra is all about enlightenment.
As I was learning about chakras, I noticed a parallel or some similarities between the hierarchy of the chakras and their meanings and Maslow’s hierarchy.
Remember from Psych 101 when we learned about Maslow’s hierarchy? You can imagine a pyramid and at the very base of the pyramid at the ground of the pyramid where the root chakra would be, that is your basic survival needs. That’s air, water, food and shelter and then as you move up the hierarchy, the rungs in the ladder of that pyramid, you go up to safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, and then wholeness or self actualization.
Willingness and Ability
I find that pyramid so relevant when we’re thinking about ourselves and our willingness and ability to surrender.
If we are sure and we know and we trust that our basic needs are met, (so, thinking about the Root Chakra and our basic needs: the bottom rung of the ladder and Maslow’s hierarchy about air, water, food shelter) if we know we have what we need, it gives us the space to relax and release and surrender.
We know we are fine. We know there’s a roof over our head. We know we have food and shelter. We know we have air to breathe.
If you ground yourself in that assurance, you may have more willingness and ability to let go a little.
Questions and Confusion
This coming week, before next week’s episode, I want you to think about any questions, confusion, fear or resistance that might come up about surrender. At least write them down (and try to answer them for yourself).
I also want to offer you a few journal prompts that you can think about this week.
If you have the journal, you can answer the prompts right in the journal.
If you don’t have the journal, you can pause and write these prompts into your own journal to answer. Even a piece of paper is fine!
The first prompt is what I was just talking about with the bottom rung of Maslow’s hierarchy and the Root Chakra:
Haven’t my needs always been met?
If you think about your life, the best parts and the tough times, haven’t your needs always been met?
Or have you learned and grown and developed and experienced things when you thought your needs weren’t being met?
Another question to think about is:
In what areas of my life am I already in abundance?
Then, in contrast to that,
In what areas of my life do I want to be in abundance?
How do I feel about surrendering?
If you want to do an art project this week, you could draw a self-portrait of yourself with your feet firmly planted in the ground.
Write the caption as:
“This is me: whole, safe and grounded.”
If you do decide to do that art project, I would love for you to share it with me.
In Person Workshop & All the Links
Week 2 of this series is up and ready for you: Activities to Practice Surrender – https://bexb.org/practice/
In just under 3 weeks, I will be hosting an in-person workshop and discussion here in Gilbert Arizona.
It’s called Why Surrender & How to Let Go
We will be talking more about how to practice surrender. I will share some specific activities that you can use and consider for yourself, plus we will get that community aspect as a resource I mentioned earlier.
You can bring your own questions and insights and we’ll get to hear what we all think about it and maybe practice some of the activities.
If you are in Arizona, mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 24 at 5:30 pm.
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Get the Let Go and Surrender Journal to follow along for these 8 episodes: https://amzn.to/3vM0v5W
See upcoming events: https://bexb.org/letsmeet/
Get a weekly gentle journaling check in – https://bexb.org/weekly/
Join a daily journal prompt FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/journalingfriendship
Shop for irresistible notebooks: https://bexb.org/quickshop
Check out all the other stuff I do: https://bexb.org/links/