Surrender

It is natural to resist.

To struggle.

To put up a fight.

It is natural for us but that does not mean that it always helps us.

I receive a lesson in surrendering twice a day when it is animal feeding time. The cat, Maddy, comes first. She usually is loud and insistent as she tries to lead me to her food dish. She likes to wind in and out of my feet making the journey difficult especially if I have to come down the stairs. She then positions her body over the food dish, making it challenging to pour the kibble around her ready frame. At least once a week, she pushes up against my arm while I am pouring, thus spilling food across the floor. She gets fed, but we all end up frustrated in the process.

A full dish with no cat in sight. A VERY unusual situation! She probably knew I wanted a picture…

The dog, Tiger, is in total contrast to the feline. As soon as I make a move towards his dish, he slides into a prone position with his head down and averts his gaze as I mix his food. He stays in that position until the food is on the floor and he is told “okay.” By surrendering to the process, he (and the rest of the household!) is calm and peaceful while the food is served.

There are certainly times in life when it is appropriate to take up arms and be ready to fight for your rights or those of your loved ones. There are times when pushing through is the only way and surrendering will only leave you trampled in the dust.

But those times are much fewer and far between than we realize. Think of your own life. Do you ever fight for a meal that is coming anyway? Do you protest even when others are moving to your aide? Do you inadvertently trip those around you or block what you desire?

Tiger patiently waiting for his breakfast.

I know I do.

I have a tendency to see surrendering as a weakness, a sign of giving up and giving in. I fight, not against any real adversary, but for control. The desire for the illusion of control is what holds us back from acceptance. It is a fruitless fight, that battle for control. You may as well be in a brawl with a ghost, struggling to hold tight to an apparition. There is power in surrender. It shows that you are strong enough to let go of control and trust that you will remain standing nonetheless. There is peace in surrender as the pointless clash is let go. Learn when to trade in your sword for a white flag and yield to that which causes you struggle.

Luckily feeding time comes twice a day so that I can remember the value in surrendering. And the fact that cats are not very trainable.

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10 thoughts on “Surrender

  1. I think in surrender we open to a potential of control that we DO have. We control all of our responses and these responses mean everything! I love that you wrote this! Beautiful!

  2. Well said, but what you describe is voluntarily relinquishing control. It is not surrender or submission. Your dog submits, and long ago surrendered to you as the Alpha. But it was looking for an Alpha. On the other hand, you voluntarily relinquish control of some aspects so that you can truly retain control of others. That is not a surrender. That is an admission that sometimes we are not in control, but the only way to survive the storm is to let it flow through us.

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