“When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain.
From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me.
There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.”
– Rumi

Let’s talk about a somewhat contentious concept – spiritual surrender. And it probably isn’t what you might think!

The idea behind this word is about surrendering to the flow of life, the flow of the Universe, the flow of magic.

When I looked up synonyms for the word “surrender”, the only word that came up that did not have a negative connotation was the word “entrust”.

I know when I first heard this term used by spiritual teachers, I used to think about defeat and giving up, especially my power and control, which was a turn-off.

That’s not the kind of surrender I’m referring to here. Think more in terms of letting go, no longer needing or wanting to control everything. In other words, stop stressing, worrying, obsessing, ruminating, and driving yourself crazy in the process, and begin entrusting yourself to the Universe.

It doesn’t mean you stop making plans and having goals, but it does mean that you have trust and faith that you are receiving guidance and the appropriate people and things will “show up” in your life. This is a difficult concept to embrace for many, especially if you are an atheist or a control freak!

Until I learned to surrender to the Universe/Life/Spirit (whatever you want to call it), I was in “survival mode” all the time, which was something I wasn’t even aware of. For many years, I didn’t feel safe, at ease, or comfortable in my existence, in this life, on this planet.

I was in constant turmoil about trying to make this thing work or that thing work, or pushing for yet another thing to happen. I continually encountered obstacles and on-going challenges, no matter how hard I tried to make things go my way.

I often felt like the mythical Sisyphus, rolling a huge rock uphill, to only have it come tumbling down again and again. It took me a long time to realize that things were so difficult because I was trying to make them happen through my ego.

I invite you to read my July blog post on the voices of the “ego” versus that of “spirit”, to provide some framework for the idea of spiritual surrender.

There are times when you need to take a strong stand, to leave an abusive situation, to fight for something dear, to make a difference for others in the world. And so you should, but often we strive for goals that are ego-driven and do not serve our highest purpose. Learning how to distinguish these instances and when it is time to “surrender”, allows for doors to open for us in ways we would have never dreamed possible. 

A Different Way of Living

We live in a society that prizes long-term planning, climbing the corporate ladder, winner-loser mentality, and pushing to “get ahead”. This approach has not worked for me, so I eventually embraced the wisdom of scaling back my expectations and came to terms with the reality that I needed to look at shorter time frames.

This allows me flexibility and agility and stops me from getting stuck in a rut. I am very good at pivoting in a new direction, because I recognize that growth only happens with change.

Surrender also doesn’t mean that you don’t DO anything or that you have no plans. What it DOES mean is that you are not as attached to a particular outcome, because you know that the Universe might have something much better to offer you.

As we are now all living in this time of enormous uncertainty, it is a good skill to develop, just to be able to have some peace of mind. Long-term plans have been put on the back-burner because we don’t quite know what next month will bring. The past year and a half has clearly showed us that.

I have found that being open to the possibilities that exist in this vast Universe, helps you not to overlook a truly wonderful person/circumstance/opportunity because they might not match your criteria exactly.

And so spiritual surrender is about co-creating your life with the divine force that permeates all things. It is when we stop pushing and begin allowing that energy to work with us, that magical things happen. It is about getting out of the ego and collaborating with Spirit.

A Book That Changed My Life

Despite my frustration at not being able to make certain things happen in my life, when I sat back to contemplate it, I perceived something quite different.

Numerous times over the years, things miraculously came through for me, out of the blue, and in ways I was not expecting. As I continued on my spiritual journey, I decided that I needed to make a list of those things to remind myself of this truth. And yet, I kept “forgetting” to make that list.

Until one day when I began to read a truly incredible book called, The Surrender Experiment, by Michael A. Singer. By the time I finished that book, I was deeply moved by the synchronicities the author cited in his life and the truly remarkably guided existence he had led, simply because he had “surrendered to life”. I highly recommend the book to anyone going through a “dark night of the soul”, when it feels like nothing makes sense and you are just feel like you are mired in an endless negative cycle.

I finally sat down and worked backward through my life making a list of the times when I recalled that Spirit guided me and provided for me in serious circumstances (important work opportunities, housing/relocation, relationships, life altering decisions, health struggles, etc.)

What resulted was so astonishing, it deeply touched my heart, filled me with gratitude and deeply humbled me. Although what I have often WANTED, I did not always (or seldom) receive, I ALWAYS had what I needed. Even in very stressful and traumatic times, I was sent support through the love and care of new and old friends.

Even while things were very dark in my life, there was always love and gentle guidance; I just didn’t see it at the time.

Having said that, I am very good at following the promptings of my soul and when a window of opportunity opens, I go explore it and listen to my intuition about whether to step through it or not.

More often than not, I take the plunge and have few regrets. Normally, it’s the things I haven’t done that I regret, more than the ones that I have!

This is what having trust means. It’s like taking a step into thin air and having the faith that the step will materialize for you and you will not fall. It’s about taking calculated risks and listening within, as well as stepping back and looking at your life from an “observer’s” position, if you are able.

From that perspective, you will be able go gain a broader outlook and to see how people, situations and events appear when needed, weaving a tapestry of exquisite beauty in your daily life.

“Surrender is the art of inviting the Universe to co-create with you a life more magical than you could ever imagine by yourself.”

– Ileana Rontea
Loving Messages From Source

My Own Surrender Journey

After the eye-opening exercise I mentioned above, I became determined to see how my life would unfold without me trying to bulldoze my way through it. It was the summer of 2019, I was staying with a friend in Canada and I was looking for a human resources job in Europe.

I considered countries where English would be one of the spoken languages and began applying for anything that I found in my online search, and was suitable. I remained unattached to which job would come through (or even in which country it would be), working on my trust and reminding myself how I had been directed and supported in the past.

Summer wore on and I needed to leave Canada, but had no job, so I once again followed my intuition and began looking for a pet-sitting assignment in Europe, while continuing my job hunt. It had been suggested to me by more than one person to try the route of international pet-sitting, as I had a lot of experience with felines and also loved to travel.

And so, following this guidance, I landed my first formal house-sit in a gorgeous area of Germany – Baden-Württemberg. This was my first time in magnificent country and I spent the month of August with some wonderful pets, exploring the beautiful countryside. I felt as if I was effortlessly flowing down a gentle river, instead of pushing a huge rock uphill!

“Often in life, the more we fight and push, the less we accomplish. If we have the courage to ‘surrender’ and ‘let go’, we allow the Divine Flow to gently enter our lives and redirect our course to our highest good.”

– Ileana Rontea
Loving Messages From Source

I continued to listen to my inner voice and bought the domain name for this site and began drafting blog posts. I felt an enormous surge of energy and inspiration.

As the month wore on, I had an interview with an organization in Malta and continued to my next house-sit in the U.K.

A second interview followed, but I still did not become anchored to the idea of getting this particular job.

I remained relaxed and positive that the path was being revealed to me, and I was not that stressed about my inability to “see around the bend”.

To make a longish story short, 2019 turned out to be an extraordinary year for me. I travelled to 9 countries in total, reunited with long-lost family, and landed that job I had interviewed for.

In early 2020, I relocated to Malta, found the perfect apartment for me and started the new job. I was also inspired to invest in making the apartment more pleasing by buying a few things to brighten it up right away, instead of waiting.

And so, just before the global lockdowns hit in March, I had a nice home (which I had not had for the past 3 years), a well-paying job and the stability I had been longing for. And while this situation turned out to be only a stepping-stone, it provided me with what I needed at a time of worldwide turmoil.

I continue to follow this path, learning daily to live in wonder, knowing that more adventures await, although I don’t exactly know what they are. One thing I do know for sure – I will end up where I need to be at the right time, as it has happened many times before.

How could your life change if you allowed Spirit to co-create with you?