I began my personal Surrender Experiment five years ago.
I’d read Michael Singer’s book, The Surrender Experiment, in which he shares the journey of relinquishing all preferences and saying YES to everything life brings. He ends up creating a meditation retreat center, becoming a carpenter, computer programmer and CEO of a multi-million dollar company — all choices he never would have made on his own.
I was quite clear that my own Surrender Experiment wouldn’t be that extreme (ahem) but was inspired nonetheless.
I made a series of videos, “21 Reasons to Stop Trying to Control Your Life.” (You can watch them on Facebook via the links below.)
Every day I literally got down on my knees, asking for a deeper understanding of surrender. I didn’t know what it meant, but I wanted to find out.
The experiment changed my life.
Surrender meant first acknowledging what is, mainly, the things I’d been avoiding.
I surrendered to the present and for the first time, asked myself, “What do I want?”
I left my loving marriage, home in New York, and the business that had made us over $1 million in online sales.
I became a pet sitting digital nomad, traveling across the U.S. and spending two months in Australia. It was the first time I’d ever traveled alone to places where I knew no one.
I reinvented myself in business, leaving behind my training in internet marketing and copywriting to explore what happens when I throw away the “rules” and follow my inner guidance, inspiration and curiosity.
But these were just the external changes. The most powerful surrender happened inside of me.
Slowly, so very slowly, I began to shed all the things that weren’t me that I used to define myself and feel safe. (Turns out there were a lot!)
My thoughts, feelings, plans. Attachment to outcomes. The need to figure things out and know what’s going to happen next.
I was searching for something out there, and when I stopped, I found Home within myself.
I’ve given up trying to control my life (mostly — it seems to be a life-long project) and rather than feeling terrified, it’s absolutely liberating.
I was a child on a carnival ride, trying so hard to steer the wheel and convinced of being in control, when my car was moving on rails the whole time.
Only when I stopped trying to take control was it possible to relax and enjoy the ride.
The amazing thing I’m seeing is that I haven’t become a helpless automaton controlled by outside forces; the Something moving me is Life, and that’s also ME — a Me that’s so much bigger than my personality, thoughts, feelings and body, yet also encompasses it. It’s the Me that’s the stuff of the universe.
Know that the aliveness is not outside of you; it is the greater You enlivening your actions and engaging all your senses.
Your life is created through you, not by you, animated by the aliveness pumping your blood and breathing your lungs.
You end up with a more rich and enjoyable experience of yourself and your life when you stop attempting to “make happen” what’s been happening you all along.
You have nothing to lose in letting go of control because it was always an illusion in the first place.
Yours in creative play,
21 Reasons to Stop Trying to Control Your Life | The Videos
Each of these videos is less than five minutes long, made over a period of 21 days. Watching them now, over four years after I made them, I’m struck by a few things.
- I’m still saying many of these same things.
- I’m still seeing fresh insights about this today. In fact, it seems I’m just beginning to REALLY see them now. ( I’ll probably be saying this four years from now in regards to 2021 me.)
- I keep discovering more places where it still looks like a good idea to control things, and releasing them.
The exploration in these videos hasn’t ended, nor will it. The more I drop trying, the more I want to drop, and the more obvious it becomes.
My job of being human gets simpler and simpler. There’s so much less for me to do than I think.
I love watching my younger self dive into these questions, with no idea where they’re going to take her. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to do the same.
#1 – It doesn’t work.
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