a message from myself to myself
Surrender takes courage. Sometimes more than we can muster. For some reason this post reminded me a bit of Tillich. Perfect to read before bed. Thank you.
I loved this one so much Sasha. Thank you for generosity and sass. It reminds me a lot of Oliver Burkeman's thoughts. It gets at this idea that part of surrendering - or maybe what precedes it - involves choice-making and sacrifice. It's like often we don't want to make choices or sacrifices, we want to trick ourselves into trying to do it all or have it all, usually by way of imagining better scenarios than the ones we are currently in, or through senseless over-productivity. Alternatively, if the road to doing and having it all hasn't yet revealed itself to us, we "wait it out" or hold off, some bullshit mental placating, which I see as just another way to avoid the painful truth of our mortality, finitude, and limited time to make choices which ultimately lead to sacrifices. No way around it.
"There is a small, young part of me that is terrified of letting even a single solitary second luminesce on its own. It says: the world is not a safe place, so we have to do something about that."
I’ve found the more I surrender, the more life works out even better than I’d hoped. Though I’ve found that as I go along this way, the choices become fewer as what I must do is obvious - like the ground has been prepared and I step onto it.
This beautiful essay is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you.
This is the best description of what in my traditions (T'ai Chi martial arts and Taoist meditation) we call 'yielding' that I have read for years. Thank you! Surrendering is such a loaded word (especially for some women, who may have been physically bullied...) but it is a good one. When teaching I usually now say 'allowing' or 'yielding' for this reason. But everything you say is true. Good luck with your practices. Showing up in the present moment, in reality, without all the mental machinations you describe, is probably the least popular activity on the planet, at least amongst city-dwelling people. But it solves 9/10 of quandaries in an instant. If a 'problem' is still there after practice, then I know it's worth attending to. Surrender is the greatest bullshit sieve.
or sometimes i'm already in the ditch but it can help to surrender to a restorative ditch-nap
> You can’t sit around saying, “I shouldn’t be writing vague spiritually-inflected emails on Substack, I should be a literary genius funded by European grant money.”
Whew, done! The rest of surrender is ughhh *more complicated*.
A wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing.
In a world with incredible access to an abundance of information and potential pathways, I do think finding the courage to simply (with great challenge) let go of or surrender those parts of our being that are not truly and authentically us. Now, it's a matter of being genuine, authentic, and true to ourselves and our hearts as to who we really are. Thank you for the perspective.
“...I should be a literary genius funded by European grant money.”
”There is a small, young part of me that is terrified of letting even a single solitary second luminesce on its own.”
> What I have learned, through this variety of practice, is that reality is astonishingly beautiful if you don’t attack it with your mind constantly, and your mind is organized such that its default stance is “always attack.”
I'm not sure my default stance is always attack. But I'm not sure, because I didn't quite understand this part.
Apart from that part which I wasn't sure I understood, I loved the essay.
Well-received. thank you!
Wonderfully wise. Thank you.
"surrender requires a non-effort that is slightly effortful, in that it must be mindfully chosen over the default, which is flailing and self-deception."
love this! It is a a kind of Wu Wei, a doing through non-doing, the action on in-action.
“...consent to the humiliations of my existence” - thank you for this one, I’ve been rolling it around in my head for a few days and finding that it puts words to something important for me (that I’d have taken much longer to give language to, if left to my own means)