We often associate the word surrender with a negative action…to give up, quit, hand over, roll over, or lose…just to name a few. The surrender being referred to here is the one that asks us to surrender to what is, to stop hiding behind or resisting what we have been denying about ourselves and our lives.
I know, heavy stuff. And that’s what makes coloring mandalas so wonderful. We can take a look at these issues in a creative, and hopefully fun, way.
So what have we been doing or avoiding all these years as a means to survive, to protect ourselves or hide from others, that are now failing to serve us any more? I know for many of us rather than face or deal with painful issues, we stuff them, avoid them and otherwise numb ourselves to them in some way. For me, I usually numb with food, tv, or keeping myself too busy. As serendipity would have it, a couple of days ago a friend shared a YouTube video of a talk given by Dr. Brene Brown where she discusses the concept of wholeheartedness, coming from a place of authenticity. She gave some insights into this numbing thing we do and how when you numb negative feelings you numb the positive ones as well.
Let me share with you two issues that rank high on my list of areas to heal.
#1 – my weight/health
I know I’m overweight. I hate that about myself. I hate that I let myself go. I hate that I have to give up foods that I love in order to be healthy. Notice all the hate stuff? A lot of resistance and resentments going on there. I look at clothes that used to fit me and tell myself that I’ll hold on to them because I’m going to lose the weight.
Two days ago while shopping, I looked at some bras that were 50% off. I must have spent at least 30 minutes figuring out which ones to buy…the ones that are actually my size or the ones that I plan to fit into once I’m in shape…or buy all of them! I know ‘they’ tell us to ‘act as if what you want is already here’ and that from an affirmation point of view buying the ones that I want to fit into would be the more appropriate choice, a motivational item for me. I finally just stopped myself and really took a look at the situation. When I finally surrendered to the ‘what is‘ in this situation, namely…right now, I am 35 pounds overweight. I knew exactly what to do. I bought the bra that would actually fit me…right now.
To take this a bit further, I know that in order for me to be healthy, I have to surrender to the fact that I am 35 pounds overweight without all the harsh judgments and criticisms; that I have to change how/what I eat and my inactive lifestyle. Until I fully surrender to this, taking full responsibility for where I am right now, I will continue to be stuck where I am…wishing, hoping and dreaming that I will be healthy some day.
#2 – being wrong
This is a tough one for me. I hate being wrong. I hate being made to look like I’m stupid. I beat myself up over it, dropping my self-esteem down a couple of more notches every time.
Here’s how it usually plays out…
- someone points out that I made a mistake (which I immediately translate to “I did something WRONG”; I’m a horrible person; How could I be so stupid, etc.)
- I deny, deny, deny. Play the blame game. Declare I’m being wrongfully accused.
- When I realize that it really was my fault, come the excuses and the overly defensive attitude.
- I then become annoyed/angry/aggravated and usually take it out at the messenger (the person who pointed out the mistake).
- The messenger either becomes upset back at me or walks away wounded and hurt.
- Begrudgingly fix what needs to be fixed without ever discussing it again.
Ideally I want it to play out like this…
- someone points out that I made a mistake
- thank the person for pointing it out to me
- fix it, if possible
- apologize, if warranted
- determine what I learned from the mistake and go on from there
Of course the absolute ideal would be that I am perfect; without ever making a mistake again!
I know, though, that until I surrender to the idea that I am human, that I have made and will make mistakes, that I can survive and still be worthy of being liked/loved/accepted regardless of the mistake, until I surrender to all of that, I will continue to play out the first scenario.
Where do we go from here…
Let’s start this new year by being willing and open to finding those areas of our lives that have stopped serving us, that cause us pain and suffering. Surrender to them, knowing that this is the start of living our lives wholeheartedly. They say that half the battle on any issue is being aware that the issue even exists. At this awareness stage, the issue usually becomes the enemy. We usually fight it, deny it, hate it, resist it, blah blah blah. When we surrender, however, we become one with the ‘enemy’…we are all together at the negotiating table determining where we go from here, resolving whatever needs to be resolved, finding agreeable ways to live in harmony.
I realize the idea of surrendering is scary; it makes us vulnerable. God forbid in this culture we appear to be weak in any way. And yet, in Dr. Brown’s talk, she states how being vulnerable is a major factor in living wholeheartedly; it allows us to connect with others. She states that “vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.” Now who would want to resist that?
Ponder this as you color this month’s mandala of the month.
Happy New Year! Happy Coloring Everyone One!
joyfully, Maureen The Mandala Lady