The Secret to Surrendering (and why it can be difficult)
Like many people, I have big dreams that I hope to achieve. But often it can be hard waiting for them to shift from a dream, to a reality. One of my weaknesses that I’m well aware of, is impatience. So when I first heard about the concept of ‘surrendering’ your dreams, it sounded like a passive and annoying process. After much research, trialling and experience though, I can tell you that ‘surrendering’ is actually the fastest and most peaceful way to shift dreams to reality.
Eckhart Tolle was the first person I heard speak about the concept. He explains that surrendering is a process where you ‘let go’ of your dream, knowing you’ve done all of the hard work on your end, and trusting your dreams will unfold as they should. Eckhart likens the process to ordering a meal at a restaurant; you put your order in and trust that it will be delivered to your table. You don’t keep checking every two minutes if it’s arrived yet, otherwise you will drive yourself (& others crazy). This was a massive lightbulb moment for me, as I realised that I was the crazy diner, checking up on my order constantly! And so, I began a very slow journey to learning how to surrender. After a few years of practicing, I’m not an expert, but I feel I have uncovered a few helpful tips to this surrendering process and would love to share them.
Firstly, what does surrendering actually mean? To surrender means that you have clear intentions on what you want to achieve, you have done the work towards achieving this dream, you recognise that there’s no more you can do on your side, so you surrender and trust that it will all unfold as it should. Trusting, is where most people get stuck (myself included!)
Even though it sounds simple – it’s very difficult to put into practice. I’m going to use the example of publishing my next book, to walk you through my mistakes and eventual surrender.
When I signed with my agent, I worked diligently on editing my second book and polishing it, ready for submission. It took about nine months, but finally the day arrived when my agent said, ‘it’s ready’ and sent it off to the big five publishers. So, having a clear intention and knowing I’d done the hard work, should have made surrendering easy. But no. This is when I went crazy. I continually refreshed my email feed to check for news. I went to sleep and woke up thinking about whether I would get an offer. I completely obsessed over ‘making’ it happen. Even when I was doing meditations in an attempt to ‘let go’, I’d do it for the sole purpose of ‘making’ the deal come through. I strangled the hell out of my dream… and looking back now, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t realised.
I caused myself a silly amount of pain, because of expectations I had set for myself. Once I came out of the craziness, I knew it was an experience that I would never repeat. And I also recognised that the problem I had with the surrender process was trust. I wanted my dream to work out on my terms, the exact way I’d conceived it and left no room for the alternatives. I love writing, so giving up wasn’t an option. But surrendering was.
When my agent closed her agency, I decided that I wouldn’t attempt to sign with a new agent. Instead, I focused all of my attention on writing the best third manuscript I could – not worrying about who would publish it. When I knew it was ready to submit, I set an intention that my book be read by as many readers as possible – but I didn’t set any specific goal on who should publish it. That way, there was no dream to strangle. Instead of picturing myself signing a contract with a big publisher, I began visualising readers enjoying my book, connecting to the characters and feeling a spark of something special. I replaced my dream with one that was easier to surrender to. Because it’s such an open-ended dream, I’m less likely to strangle it – it’s far easier to trust this time around that it will all unfold as it’s supposed to. (And guess what – it has! More on that news very soon!)
If you have a dream that you feel is just not happening for you, please don’t give up. Instead, can you re-group? Can you adjust your dream a little, to make it easier to surrender to? Instead of visualising the specific outcome, can you try to summon the feeling you want to achieve and imagine that filling you up. Can you recognise any heavy expectations you’ve placed on yourself and lighten them; does your dream really need to happen this way, or can you open to your dream unfolding in a surprising way? And finally, can you trust that your dream will come to you, maybe not in the way you expected, but it will come all the same.
I hope this has helped even a tiny bit in your journey to achieving your dreams – in the most peaceful of ways!
(If you’d like a little extra support, try my Surrender meditation, which can be found on my YouTube channel, here)
Love, Karyn xo