Simplicity & Surrender


During this season of adapting to the major changes currently taking place in our personal and collective worlds — including dealing with new financial realities and welcoming new political paradigms, among others— I often find myself feeling anxious…….and thus craving the experience of simplicity & surrender.

The boat gently floating at the dock above invites me towards it, beckoning me into taking a leisurely sunset ride around the perimeter of the lake — cradled by the buoyancy and healing presence of the water. We all have our own ways of handling the stress that comes with major change. For myself, I find it very supportive to find a way to enter the place of childlike innocence in my heart, of gently reassuring myself that I can be OK with “not knowing,” and of quietly cherishing the simple and precious moments that are indeed occurring throughout each and every day.

Last night I found myself contemplating upon the experience of new-born kittens, who are born blind as a protective measure for their delicate sense of sight, and thus don’t open their eyes until 5-10 days later. I am struck by how we, as humans, often open our “eyes” of awareness in our own timing — and sometimes in unexpected ways during our life’s journey. I’ve often witnessed that our most powerful opportunities for healing and awakening — for opening our eyes anew — take place during times of powerful change, which can include feelings of fear and loss of control.

Here’s a revealing passage about the process of surrendering to new ways of living from author Sue Monk Kidd:

“In our youth we set up inner myths and stories to live by,
but around the midlife juncture these patterns begin to crumble.
It feels to us like a collapsing of all that is, but it’s a holy quaking.
“When order crumbles,” writes John Shea, “Mystery rises.”

A new definition of “strength” has evolved out of this. Strength is not always about bouncing back all bright and smiley; it is more about letting go and looking around with curiosity and openness. Strength is allowing the story I tell myself about myself to fall away. It’s about standing tall in this place of “not knowing” and trusting that the journey down the “bottomless hole” leads to the places that need looking at and loving. These places have something important to teach me.”

I am a passionate student and inner friend of Abraham Lincoln, and as Obama prepares to cross the threshold into a season of leadership that will require an extraordinary mixture of courage and humility, I am reminded of Lincoln once telling a close friend, “I have many times been driven to my knees by the utter conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

Here’s a poem about surrender and being carried that I always find nourishing:


by Stanley Kunitz

When his boat snapped loose
from its moorings, under
the screeching of the gulls,
he tried at first to wave
to his dear ones on shore,
but in the rolling fog
they had already lost their faces.

Too tired even to choose
between jumping and calling,
somehow he felt absolved and free
of his burdens, those mottoes
stamped on his name-tag:
conscience, ambition, and all
that caring.

He was content to lie down
with the family ghosts
in the slop of his cradle,
buffeted by the storm,
endlessly drifting.
Peace! Peace!
To be rocked by the Infinite!
As if it didn’t matter
which way was home;
as if he didn’t know
he loved the earth so much
he wanted to stay forever.

With blessings of healing Peace from my heart to yours, Gavin

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