Sunday, January 10, 2010

Surrender

~“Give up all bad qualities in you, banish the ego and develop the spirit of surrender. You will then experience Bliss.”
Sri Sathya Sai Baba quotes (Indian Spiritual leader, b.1926)

When I first started yoga, I heard a lot of people talk about "surrender," whether it be to the practice itself, or life situations in general, and I had to make a conscious effort not to roll my eyes or giggle. "Crazy hippies," I would think to myself, "WHATEVER!" However, I have had to reconsider this opinion, and stop to think about what the concept of surrendering really can mean.

When I stopped dancing, I had been going through a series of injuries and was dealing with daily pain in nearly every part of my body. I had been fighting so hard against my body that it was affecting my personality and outlook on life, and the struggle to make it to the studio in the morning for rehearsal was becoming a little ridiculous. I had been working relentlessly on this dream my whole life, making sacrifices and putting other aspirations on hold, and now it was a source of pure unhappiness. Even after I stopped, I was telling my family it was just a break, and in the meantime, I was telling myself this too. Just a few more weeks to rest, do some more yoga, work a little, and then I will go back. After about 2 months of denial, I started making plans to go to India, and I started experiencing my life just falling effortlessly into place. Looking back, the last two years that I spent trying to coax my aching body into ballerina-style submission, the universe was trying to tell me to LET IT GO, it was not my path and the time had come to move on. Oh, the powers of hindsight.

Surrender.

In India, there are things that if you try and question, you will go crazy, because there is absolutely no logic in the way things work sometimes. This is absolutely the case in Indonesia as well. Traveling and living in these places has given me a lot of light on this crazy hippy-trippy business of just surrendering to the whims of the universe. I was recently told by my yoga teacher in Bali that if you stop fighting so hard to plan your way in this world, and resisting so much when life rubs you the wrong way, that things will naturally end up back in balance. An image that comes to mind for me is that if you get a scrape, and then it scabs over, but you keep picking at that scab it will take a lot longer to heal than if you just let it be, and I believe the concept of letting go works in a very similar way.

Surrender.

On my latest trip to Bali I had an awareness of this gut instinct in so many circumstances to just let go. It is so tempting to micro-manage my life, but by scrapping any sort of planned outings I had some incredible and spontaneous experiences. I had been wandering through the big market where all the tourists buy their souvenirs one afternoon, and bought some lunch from a lady set up under a stairway. I began talking to a young guy who was also eating nasi campur, and he was so impressed that I was eating local food and speaking a little bit of Indonesian that he offered to take me out on a tour, wherever I wanted, and absolutely free, simply because I was his new Canadian friend. I gave him a long hard look, and though it is STUPID to go places with strange men on their motorcycles, when you can barely communicate in each other's languages, we made arrangements to meet the next day. It all turned out great, and we went on another adventure a few days later. Thank you universe!
Another day, as I was walking down the main road, I passed a shop selling fruit, and the little old Ibu inside waved me in and pulled out a dusty little plastic stool for me to sit on. She asked me all the usual questions in Indonesian, where are you from, where are you going, are you married, and this one is new lately, "how did you study Indonesian?" I answered her in my baby bahasa, and she beamed at each answer, but as we chatted she was hobbling around filling a bag with fruit. She would shuffle back over to me with a sample of whatever she was putting in the bag, and hold out the fruit to me. I started to reach out my hand to accept it from her, but she swatted my arm away and as I laughed she popped a section of manggis into my mouth. Normally, I wouldn't be too impressed with anyone's blackened and smudged fingers getting that close to my food, or my face, but the delight on this lady's face was just unreal. How could I disappoint her? She fed me some bananas, and peeled me a few rambutan, then sent me on my way with a big bag of fruit at a decidedly local price a few minutes later, and I am so glad I didn't make a fuss about her feeding me; after I had walked about half a block away, I turned back and could see her grinning from her doorway. Before I had even cleared the block, an old old man sitting amongst some paintings in a makeshift gallery waved me in to take a look, he was sitting on a little stool this time, and he went through the same classic questions, but as I was answering he grabbed my hand, wrapped it around his shoulder, and pulled me close into his side. I stood there chatting and being hugged for a solid ten minutes, and although it was a little odd at first, being snuggled by a perfect stranger, it was rather lovely in the end. Being open to these fairly random occurences, along with several others that I haven't mentioned here (I am aiming for a blog entry, not a novel) provided me with some of the most memorable moments of my holiday. Once again, thank you universe for these opportunities.

Surrender.

This is what I am aiming for in 2010. I want the world to take me in whatever direction I am meant to go, meeting the people I am meant to meet, and having all the ups and downs that are intended for me along that path, realizing that I can throw my dreams out to the universe and work at manifesting them, but if it doesn't happen, it wasn't meant to, and accepting as often as possible the unexpected offerings that come my way.


~“If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh quotes