What is your image for self-surrender?

This has been a year of profound and sometimes wrenching transition for me, as I leave my long teaching life at Mount Holyoke and move towards something quite unknown. Sometimes I feel wonderful, life giving energy, and sometimes it is a very bumpy, frightening road. I struggle to be patient and to let go of all those old habits of control and self-discipline. This made me think about the metaphors of surrender to these mysterious processes of change and transition.  Two are consistently helpful: one is the simple act of planting seeds, and then tending them with sunlight and water, while keeping the weeds away. The other is recognizing this may require a long gestation period, another life-giving process largely out of my control but which must be recognized and cared for.  Both remind me to slow down, to not try to hurry or interrupt the process, and to trust that something good and valuable will emerge from or arrive into my life.

What is your most helpful image of surrender to these mysterious moment in your life? Is there a favorite poem or quotation that helps to ferry you to the other side? Please post it here, if you would be so kind.

6 thoughts on “What is your image for self-surrender?

  1. For me the epitome of surrender is the “Hanged Man” in Tarot decks. I am most familiar with the Ryder deck where the hanged man appears happily dangling upside down by one leg from a T cross. There is no struggle, no animosity, no angst; he’s just hanging, waiting perhaps for those who walk by, as the Fool does, to talk or not. It’s his lot for the moment to hang. I sometimes put my self horizontally in his position to feel surrender in my body.


  2. Oh Penny, it’s no wonder that you and I converged at this moment in time. Awareness of interdependence, indeed. So, here’s my poem/mantra from Albert Schweitzer:

    No ray of sunlight is ever lost,

    but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout,

    and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest.

    All work that is worth anything is done in faith.

  3. When I was in my twenties, I found myself at a similar spot as the one you described. I had no idea how to handle all that was going on, how to respond, whether I could handle a response, and so on. Everything was beyond what I thought was capacity overfull. So I did what I usually did, get deeply into prayer and meditation and asked for guidance. I had what I felt was an out of body experience. I was in this cathedral, it was definitely not an earthly church. I was flat down on the rug, at a side aisle but close to the altar which was magnificent. I was face down on the floor, arms wide open. I felt these arms raise me up with such love and compassion I knew that all would be well. Whenever I need to surrender, I return to that spot. A few years ago I was told that that position is also one of the bird that has taken off and is soaring.

  4. Lately I find that holding a rock anchors the remembering of slowness. It takes a lot to make disturb the core (or even the surface) of a rock. Calm, slowness, and – surprisingly – within so much space, so much ability to aborb, hold, and transmute.

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