The word surrender has it’s roots in Latin – to give back. Surrender is not giving up it is giving back. Giving back power. Running the white flag up the flag pole the sign to the other side that you are no longer in the battle, is a way to bring the battle to an end. It is a concession this way is no longer working and what little agency you may have left you will not use your energy to fight. Instead you will say enough and be still, and wait for the other to make its next move, perhaps they will come to the table, perhaps they will keep marching through. These moments are marked by a signature on a treaty, the fallen before and often after the surrender.
A surrender is never done lightly and takes courage. Amidst cries of humiliation, curses for not lasting longer, regret for not being better prepared; there is calm the decision made and whatever lies ahead the recognition you are now on the threshold and used the last of your actions to no longer consort with the other – you are out of the dance.
Would anyone watching Shark Tank, think when one of the sharks says “I’m out” that they have surrendered? I doubt it – we all watch and see that as a sign of confidence in their own ability of knowing what is right for them at this time, often lacking in compassion for what is being brought to them – it isn’t surrender though.
I am privy to surrender each day making its way through a body struggling with breath, the mind and body tussling for authority. The mind takes out the early battles while the body wins the war. More of my love is living outside of his body each day, finding the oldest meaning for surrender – giving back.
My promise to tomorrow is to continue to take lessons in surrender and to ask myself what and perhaps how am I giving back when lay down my weary tune? There is an openness to the mystery of what lies ahead when you surrender, it may come reluctantly and with great angst.
The threshold from acceptance to change arrives with surrender … and isn’t really a single moment, it is multiple moments. The flag doesn’t arrive already unfurled. It has been packed, needs to be found and made ready before it is presented. Letting go breath by breath, thought by thought, bite size giving back. Surrender as an everyday discipline, prepares us for the one time it will define us.
“We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible. Awakening and surrender: they frame each day and each life; between them the journey where anything can happen, the beauty and the frailty.” – John O’Donohue – Beauty the Invisible Embrace