The Art of Surrender

Surrender does not make us powerless; it sets us free.

Posted Jul 08, 2013

As I recently shared, there is nothing like a baby to give you some perspective on life. Waiting for his arrival has been an incredibly surreal experience; it’s been fascinating to see my husband and me vacillating between ‘forgetting’ that our son will soon be joining us as we go about our daily routines, and the realization crashing around us that those routines—and our entire lives—are forever about to alter.

Change, as we all know, can be a tremendous challenge. Whether physical, emotional, intellectual, or circumstantial, the ground of ‘normal’ shifting beneath our feet causes an upheaval in our instinctive tendency and desire to keep things the same. This is particularly so when that change takes place across all four categories.

And when it does, surrender is the only practical option. 

Not that I can take credit for having surrendered to what is to come. Rather, my total and complete acceptance has come about only because the impending shifts are so enormous that to struggle against them would be impossible. After all, there’s no point resisting the towering wave heading directly your way; better instead to accept—and even embrace—its envelopment.

The majority of us have experienced circumstances like this. Yet unfortunately, they very often accompany a tragedy, which means we’re rarely in a position to acknowledge and appreciate the wisdom in radical change-induced surrender. The losing of a job, the passing of a loved one, economic catastrophe… it is hard to see, much less welcome the opportunity of surrender when pain is present.

Yet opportunity is indeed present.  For when we are able to move from resistance to surrender—of either positive or negative experiences and circumstances—we lose neither control nor ourselves. Rather, we are given the clarity and tools that enable us to manage those changes powerfully, regardless of how radical or even traumatic they may be.

For me, whether it’s thinking about the physical experience of giving birth or welcoming this precious little person into the world for whom John and I are wholly responsible, surrender has granted me the most exquisite sense of freedom and peace. Instead of trying to mentally manage the unknown, I’m left only with a sense of wonder, curiosity, and excitement about the new journey that awaits me and my family. 

The same opportunity is available to all of us. We need not wait for monumental changes to realize the power we have to handle whatever comes our way. Instead, we can choose to cultivate the practice of surrender in the face of any and every circumstance, which always leads to a greater level of aliveness, effectiveness, and joy. 

For more information about Jennifer, her books, and her work, please visit: