sur·ren·der verb sə-ˈren-dər
-to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win
Ever seen the hit movie War Games with Matthew Broderick? This was a thought-provoking movie from 1983 in which a young man managed to hack into a central military computer system and almost ended up starting World War III. But ultimately, after running through countless scenarios on how to win, the computer concluded that when it comes to battling it out in nuclear war (“a strange game”), “THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS NOT TO PLAY.”
As the year comes to an end, holidays are here, stress levels are sky rocketing, I find myself reminded of this all too valuable quote from the end of the War Games. The word SURRENDER comes to mind. Now the word surrender always used to have a negative connotation for me – it meant losing, giving in, someone else wins. My parents always taught me to never give up, never throw in the towel, never surrender. But when it comes to fighting battles where no one wins, one has to ask oneself – maybe surrender isn’t such a bad thing?? I would contend that surrender is a very, very good thing.
You see, I have five kids, ages 8 and under. In addition to the daily chaos of this fact alone, we are moving Christmas Eve. My life is hectic at the moment. People ask me all of the time – how do you do it? How do you keep it together? My response is always that my children have taught me the true value of SURRENDER. On a daily basis. On an hourly basis. Okay, minute by minute I’m consciously surrendering. You see, when one hits the points where one is forced to surrender, there’s an opening that happens. We stop placing all of our energies to fighting what is and accept what is. As Eckhart Tolle says, “SAY YES TO LIFE, and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”. There’s a chance for something more powerful to come through when we stop battling and change the way we are looking at a situation.
So here are THREE ways that you can surrender what needs to go over the holidays in order to let what needs to go, go, so that new, fresh experiences can make its way into your life:
1) FORGIVE – who is the first person that comes to mind when you read this? You know exactly what needs to be forgiven. And don’t forget to forgive possibly the biggest offender on your list of those who fell short of your expectations this year – YOURSELF! Forgiving myself for not living up to my own expectations and letting go of guilt for falling short. Remember the old Buddhist saying ” holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” As hard as it might be to swallow ones pride, the one who will benefit the most from forgiveness is YOU.
2) SPEND TIME IN NATURE – there’s nothing more powerful than spending time in nature, even just a walk in the woods, watching the ocean, catching a sunset – surrender is ALL around us. Every year, the trees surrender their leaves to make way for new life. Nature is constantly surrendering to each other for the sake of sustainable growth. Spend some time just taking it in soaking it up.
3) LET IT GO – guess what song won the 2014 Oscars for best original song??? Frozen’s “Let it Go.” It’s no coincidence that our culture is drawn to this song and its message. We all need a little letting go of those things that we just have no control over. Everyone has their own stuff they need to let go. You know what it is, it’s usually the first thing to come to mind.
In order to make room for your new intentions in 2015, surrendering what is no longer needed is a must. So forgive those you need to forgive, soak in some nature, and LET IT GO! As Marianne Williamson so beautifully writes: “Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.”
I for one am going to opt out of my Global Thermonuclear Warfare in my life — there really is no winner for anyone. So, in the words of Joshua (the War Games computer), how about a nice game of chess instead?!
Also by Jen: How to Keep Your Kids Grounded For the Holidays
Related: Santosha – Dealing with Life’s Turbulence
The Importance of Forgiving Yourself
Photor: Amanda Tipton via Flickr; James Marvin Phelps via Flickr