I don’t know much about surrendering. I recall about 10 years ago, before a trip to Hawaii, I visited a hypnotherapist to help me conquer my fear of flying, and I didn’t get much out of it. I just couldn’t let go. As she counted me down to a more relaxed state, my mind refused to comply and I kept thinking the whole thing was a farce. When I proved to be a tough — and doubtful — hypnosis candidate, she vowed to “show me” that hypnosis could work and set about to get me to “lift” my arm without me willing it to happen. I felt sorry for her, so faked the lift and happy, she sent me on my way.


That little lesson in I can’t relinquish control only cost me $600.


Still, I got on the plane to Oahu. And like always happens when I step on a plane, there’s the moment after the doors close and the engines rev, that I close my eyes and know it’s all out of my hands. It’s a surrender of sorts, I guess. I still believe I’m going to die, but it’s like I made the decision to crash because I decided to fly.


That “decision” doesn’t make the flight go any easier. In fact, for the entire duration of the trip, I wait for the “bang” or the sudden change in altitude signaling my fiery descent to the ground below. It’s quite hellish.


I still try to be in control, see. I think I “know” what’s going to happen. I can’t loosen my grip on that knowing how it’s all going to turn out. I can’t surrender. To the pilots’ skill, to God, to the Xanax even.


It’s the same with other things. I’m a hypochondriac, so I think I “know” that something is wrong with me. I go to the doctor confident that she will agree I have whatever it is I decided I have, and so often it turns out to me something else — or nothing.


So I don’t know. That’s a lesson I’ve never learned.


Not knowing is hard for me. If I can’t predict the outcome of something, I get very uncomfortable. There’s some kind of security in thinking you know. Like you won’t be taken by surprise. I’m afraid of the space beyond my control.


I’ve been thinking about “surrender” quite a lot lately, because right now, I’m dealing with something I can’t control. And while I usually tell you everything, this is one thing I’m not ready to share yet.


Suffice to say, I’m finally understanding that I must surrender.


And that space is a scary and wonderful place to be.


{{This is my PROMPTuesday submission.}}


12 Responses to “Surrender”

  1. Ellie says:

    For all the babbling I do about surrender, flying is one that always gets the best of me. When I had to fly to LA for the Creative Alliance conference, I tried every single surrender trick in the book, and I was terrified the whole way there and the whole way back. Like you, I’m convinced I’m going to die – the physical symptoms of panic are HORRIBLE. I refuse to let my fear keep me from experiencing life, but flying is one thing I’m not sure I’ll ever get a handle on.

    I’m a hypochondriac, too — but I’m the avoid-the-doctor-use-Dr-Google kind. It’s drives my husband NUTS.


  2. robyn says:

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again–we must be sisters from a different mister, because you just described *me*.

  3. Ann's Rants says:

    I got my first taste of surrender this summer. And I have to meditate EVERY day to revisit that tiny glimpse

    And this is so cliche, but also true–turns out it was in the exact same place in my body/mind where I went to control.

    I realized that by striving so hard–which is just control confused by “working hard” denial–I left no room for anything bigger than me. The more I tried to control my destiny, the less room I left for actual destiny.

    That is all too heady and intellectual to write out, but I want you to know that it is already within you. You are exactly where you are supposed to be (to quote Melodie Beattie) in your own journey.


  4. Morgan B. says:

    Surrendering is something I’m working on too. I have so many parts of my life that are out of my control. I choose not to think about them. I can’t tell if that is surrendering or just relying on ignorance to get me through this. Either way: it’s bliss.

  5. I know this post probably isn’t intended to link to God, but it made me think of “Let go and let God” and how truly liberating it is when I do that.
    Good luck on the surrender.

  6. Alexandra says:

    You know what, the same thing happened to me. I surrendered, and I wish I would’ve been able to , years ago.

    It gets much easier each year.

    I think it’s age, I’m so glad, whatever it is.

    I am 51 now, and I really just let it all happen.

  7. Sugar Jones says:

    One of the words I’ve been wanting to tattoo on myself is “Surrender.” I want to put it on my forearm so that when I’m looking down, trying to relax in a prayerful position, I will, in fact surrender.

    I learned to surrender to most of life’s fast balls a few years ago. I have a loose plan mapped out of what I need to accomplish in a day/week/month, but mostly, I wake up every day and surrender to whatever it is that is going to take place that day. It’s not always about some impending doom or the decisions that others have made in my life. Sometimes it’s just simple things.

    Surrender has become so much a part of my life that I don’t really even know how I functioned before.

    You will be amazed at the power you hold within yourself once you start to surrender all.

    Love you, girl.

  8. Julia says:

    hey this video is all you need. if it dosn’t make you piss your pants then we can’t be friends! just kidding!

  9. Julia says:

    ok well that’s not where I meant to post that comment! hahaha…so I guess you ARE pissing your pants cause I am so ridiculously ditzy!! Let me post it in the right spot and maybe you’ll see it :)

  10. We waste so much time trying to control things that are clearly beyond human intervention. Surrendering is what frees us up to really truly enjoy life! I have to pray every day to keep a surrendering attitude, but it’s such a wonderful place to be. I think with fears, you have to come to peace with death. Whenever I fly, knowing that if something happens and I die it’s part of God’s plan, has freed me up to enjoy flying. Well, that’s a bit of a lie- I won’t truly enjoy flying until I don’t have whining kids to attend to 14 hours each way!

  11. Linda says:

    The most awesome kind of surrender is when God reaches in and rips away my imaginary sense of control and my only choice is to hang onto him. Even so, my secret surrenders are always the hardest. I wish you well…

  12. Ferd says:

    I had forgotten how great your prompts are, and how open and honest you are about your… complexities!
    Yeah, control doesn’t work.
    Yeah, we can’t know everything.
    Yeah, we are all born with a certain degree of anxiety, some with more and some with less, and we somehow learn to deal with it because it doesn’t just go away.
    I like your insight into all of this. I do think surrender will help. And so will a degree of trust that things will work out alright.
    Peace, Deb.

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