Earlier today, I spoke with a good friend about the concept of surrender.
He had just returned from Vietnam, where I also traveled about this same time last year. Neither of us had ever been to Asia before. We talked about riding on a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City or crossing a street there—how it’s terrifying at first, but then you surrender to the experience, and that feeling of surrender is the best natural high in the world.
The word “surrender” has positive connotations for me. I don’t view surrender as giving up, giving in, or being reckless. I view it as giving yourself over to experiences, good or bad, and I think there is a difference.
I’m not religious and I don’t practice meditation or yoga (or do anything else that is healthy for me, basically). But I do believe in the act of surrender, which, when you think about it, is really the central conceit of many religions and spiritual practices. It’s the crux of “the serenity prayer”: having the serenity to accept the things you can’t change; the courage to change the things you can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Musicians sing about it and philosophers and spiritual leaders write about it.
So what is surrender? To me, it’s a few different things:
- It’s saying “yes” to new experiences, even when you’re afraid.
- It’s being vulnerable in love and relationships.
- It’s adjusting your expectations to accept your own limitations and those of other people in your life.
- It’s accepting the things you can’t change.
- It’s going with the flow.
- It’s something that is challenging to do, and that does not always make you happy.
- It's always liberating.
Surrender is a beautiful thing.