As I try and articulate more deeply what I’m here to teach , I keep coming back to the same thing over and over again. Which is that this work of opening to the creative process is an ongoing exercise in trust.
It’s trusting in yourself as a being who is filled with imagery and color and song and dance and beauty and ideas and magic and inspiration. It’s trusting that you have an internal guidance system of intuitive wisdom and healing that is always available to you. It’s trusting in the ultimate benevolence of the life force and all the ways it carries you and flows through you.
Opening to trust also means letting go of the idea that you are in control of anything. And that you have to be in control. That you’re supposed to keep bad things from ever happening. That you must be continually shaping your life. That you have the power to fix anything. And that anything actually needs to be fixed.
Trust means being receptive to whatever shows up within you or outside of you and embracing it with curiosity, compassion and acceptance.
And finally trust means being willing to surrender.
Surrender is one of those things that is given a bad rap because it is sometimes seen as giving up out of hopelessness. Or giving in to a bad situation. And ultimately becoming powerless.
From this perspective, surrender is seen as weakness. A form of passivity and impotence. A place of collapse and failure.
Surrender is also sometimes glamorized as a swooning maiden in a steamy romance novel. It is portrayed as something that is intense and out of the ordinary. An experience that we have rarely and only in extreme circumstances.
But from a spiritual perspective surrender is a very different animal.
When a sunflower turns its face to follow the sun, that is surrender. When a seed planted in a rich soil breaks free of its encasement and pushes its way up to the light of day, that is surrender. When a wild mustang gallops wildly and joyfully across a meadow, that is surrender. When a baby tries to grasp a beam of light, laughing delightedly, that is surrender. When you look at a sunset and feel the peace of simply breathing in and out, that is surrender. When you enjoy a delicious meal, letting the flavors tickle your tongue, that is surrender. When you feel drowsy and begin to fall asleep, that is surrender.
In all these experiences you, or the horse or the sunflower are completely giving into what’s right there in front of you. You are simply being in the present moment with what you feel drawn to do.
So in other words, surrender is something that happens daily, hourly, minute by minute in our lives. It’s so very common and down-to-earth. It’s in the most intimate fabric of our existence. And includes everything from the mundane to the ecstatic.
Surrender is also allowing life to be exactly as it is, without trying to change anything. Even if it’s something that you don’t like or that feels painful or difficult.
In my painting classes when my students hit a rough patch of discomfort or frustration or strong emotion, the tendency is to want to shrink back from what is showing up. To fight it, or talk themselves out of it or try to distract themselves from it. And I always suggest that they go towards whatever is being presented. To trust that life is giving them this experience for a reason. And that they will get the most out of it if they dive in with a big YES.
So if you’re grieving, let yourself wail. If you’re agitated, be as squirmy as possible. If you are angry, allow the fire to burn through you freely without holding anything back.
And finally, when you allow yourself to simply be whoever it is you were meant to be, that is another level of surrender.
So much of the time we are judging who we are. Or finding fault with what we want. What we like. What we need. What would make us happy. What comes easily and effortlessly to us. Forgetting that all those things are major clues about who we are intended to be in this life.
I had a woman come to me for a healing session and she was the bemoaning the fact that she didn’t know who she was. And couldn’t even begin to figure out how to discover herself.
So I asked her what she liked. And she said she liked making art. And she liked being outside in nature. And she liked learning about things. And when I asked her if she allowed herself to spend as much time as possible doing the things she liked, she said “Oh no. Of course not.” Because she didn’t think these things were important enough or valuable enough to build a life on. She felt like she needed to prove how good she was, so did a lot of things that did not make her happy, like being on committees to further someone else’s agenda, or spending all of her time keeping her house neat and clean.
But once she surrendered to what she liked, the question about who she was became a non-issue. It wasn’t something she thought about anymore. She was just herself, following her natural impulses and desires.
So if you were meant to paint, then turn your spare room into your studio. If you were meant to cook, spend as much time as possible in the kitchen. If you were meant to have a herd of children, get busy! If you were meant to meditate 10 hours a day, make your living room your temple.
What we are all on this earth to do is to surrender freely to the gifts and the interests and the fascinations that were given to us by Spirit, by Creator, by the Life Force. You wouldn’t be drawn to engage with these things if they weren’t part of your essential nature.
It’s how you answer the question of why you are here. And once you unlock the key to that door, everything else falls magically into place.