I was taking Cynthia’s yoga class yesterday at Groove Yoga and she mentioned this word “surrender” quite a bit which really got me thinking. I feel like in my past practice, I’d hear what the teachers were saying but it wouldn’t really scratch the surface for me. It just seemed like “yoga talk” as I call it and I wouldn’t think too much into it. Ever been there?
Well, Cynthia seems to have a way with words and an ability to get in your head. One of the quotes she said that stuck out to me was “Surrender is what happens when you abandon all strategies.” I’ve been thinking through these words and here’s what they mean to me: Surrender is the moment you realize that how you’ve been doing things doesn’t work anymore and if you keep doing things the same way, you will never truly get to where you’re going. Surrender itself isn’t challenging, it’s the path to get to surrender that is hard. Let me tell you a quick story.
Way back when, probably from when I was 17 till about 22 or 23 (I’m 29 now, dang!) I spent A LOT of time working out. Like a lot. I remember days where I’d literally be at the gym for 3 hours: weights, cardio, lunges, more cardio. I had been an athlete my whole life and was just really used to intensely working out and I was also trying to attain an insane body image that my mind had somehow created. I worked at a 24 hour fitness and basically lived and breathed “gym.” On top of that, I was such a nut about what I ate that if I ate something “bad” I’d feel so guilty that I’d make sure I paid for it at the next gym session. Sounds super healthy and fun right? ha.
Well, I wish I could share with you my “aha” moment of surrender but I honestly really can’t remember. What I do remember is the last Thanksgiving that I made myself feel bad about eating pie. My parents were hosting Thanksgiving and I ate pie and then was going through a guilt cycle and had a flashback of 3 years prior feeling the exact same way and that’s when I said enough is enough. I was so sick of feeling guilty and bad about eating something that other people were enjoying guilt free. All these people were having a great time enjoying each other’s company and being present and I was worrying about freaking calories? Yeah, I’d had enough. So I think that was the real moment of surrender. I had no idea what my “game plan” was to achieve health and happiness outside of what I was used to (aka cardio), but I knew I was done with this miserable lifestyle I’d been living for years. Wow, I sure am thankful for that moment.
Fast forward to today and “working out” is a very small part of my life and if I do ever find myself in a gym it’s for a quick 30 minute workout and I am out of there. I go to this bootcamp class called Northwest Bod that I love and one time a couple years ago they asked me why I only come every once and a while and I told them in some form that “Working out and I have a tumultuous past and this is as close as we can get.” LOL. Seems kind of dramatic looking back but I think they understood the point.
Moderation and fun are my new best friends. I’m all about packing a day full of fun adventures and getting my workout that way. I also have to say to anyone who is stuck on the path that I was on: The moment you allow your body to just be and you stop mistreating it (over or under eating and negative thoughts) and feed it vibrant and delicious foods your body will become an extension of your mind and I promise that you will stop hating it. Your body is a vessel to have fun in. The fact that your body is functioning and enabling you to move and feel and run and surf is amazing in and of itself!
So let’s recap: Surrender is the moment you realize that how you’ve been doing things doesn’t work anymore. For me, that meant that I had to stop focusing on working out and food in order to find happiness. Surrender is not something I chose, it chose me. And from that moment forward I was able to find happiness in other more healthy places. Surrender to me felt like a breath of fresh air. It was like 4 years worth of guilt was lifted off my shoulders and I was finally able to just be again.
It’s your turn. I want you to think about this word surrender and then think about a time in your life when you were forced to surrender. Think about it, write about it, respond to this email and share your story. Maybe you’re fighting it right now? Think about how amazing it would feel to just acknowledge where you are right now, with zero judgment and zero game plan. Surrender.
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Stay epic friends,