“I’m noticing the difference between surrender and resignation. One is a true letting go, the other is believing I am powerless.”
I tweeted this last week, not knowing why those words came to me. I liked them when I saw them written out like that. They felt right, but I wasn’t sure why they arrived at that particular moment.
Then I went to therapy. I hadn’t been in months, but I needed to talk about something very deep and vulnerable happening in my life. Without going into the gory details, it is of the familial variety, the kind that goes to the core of your deepest, oldest stuff. The wounds reserved for your family of origin that (god bless em’) you struggle your whole life to move past. The kind that we hope we will ultimately find a place of peace with.
My therapist does EMDR with me. I have purposely not researched this too much because I like not knowing exactly what she is doing. I trust it and it works, and that is what is most important. Sometimes for me, understanding it intellectually gets in the way of its magic.
She wagged her first two fingers back and forth in front of my eyes. “Like scenery passing on a train,” she told me. “Watch it go by.” And my eyes volleyed back and forth following her fingers. After a few minutes of this, she asked, “So what did you get?”
I’m always surprised by the insights that show up during this process. And equally surprised when what came to me was that line again, the one about surrender and resignation. But this time I understood it completely– One is a true letting go, the other is believing I am powerless.
In the particular relationship we were exploring, I have always brought resignation. I have always brought my judgment (that shows up as heartache) my silence (no one listens to me anyway, I think) and a heart that is heavy knowing that things will never change, will never be how I want them, will never be the way I have always hoped for them to be. There is nothing to do because I have no impact.
I believe I am powerless.
And in a way, I am. People are simply living their lives. Doing what they do. There is a way that it is not personal.
But this distinction. This possibility of true surrender. It excites me. Quite possibly, for the first time in my life, I have just experienced a real kind of surrender. There is nothing to do, not because I am powerless, but because there is nothing to do. There is only being with what is. Being with things as they are. No agenda. I hear the voice again: Can you just be with them? without judgment, without running for air? without wanting it to be different?
The absurdity of it, or rather the simplicity of it made me laugh out loud. I got it, I said to my therapist. I might lose it any moment, but in this moment, I’ve got it.
This insight transformed this relationship. It has allowed me to simply be with this person, as they are, without all the other stuff layered on.
I know I am speaking abstractly here. Must protect the innocent! But I am curious if this idea resonates for any of you out there. Can you think of a complicated relationship in your life? Have you been striving for surrender? but now seeing that you actually were bringing resignation?
Would love to hear your stories. Your insights. Your questions.