Hi Friends! 2018 has been one hell of a journey. These past twelve months have seen creativity, heartache, learning, friendship, discomfort, clinging, connection, risk, and so much more… Have you also encountered some of these things? Human experience is truly multifaceted and I am working hard to embrace every aspect of my existence. One major decision that has helped me to navigate life from a fresh perspective was enrolling in a 200-hour yoga teacher training program this fall. At the end of the month I will officially be a certified yoga instructor (which would have most likely come as a surprise to my priori self). As we round out another calendar year I would like to share with you one particular aspect of yogic philosophy that has had an impact on my thinking and that I plan to carry with me into 2019 like a good friend: the idea of Surrender or Ishvara Pranidhana.
(If you want to surrender or let go of all of the writing in this post, just click on the desktop/phone wallpapers above and enjoy! ☺)
Surrender is one of ten restraints and observances (called Yamas and Niyamas) that form the foundation of yoga’s ethical practice. I find it to be an easily understood concept that requires endless practice to genuinely experience. Surrender is not passive, but actively meeting the moment with an open heart. If I am being completely honest with myself and what I need most to grow as a spiritual being, this Niyama would quickly become my life’s work. My ego is stubborn. In the day to day, there is a LOT of (unnecessary) effort, heel-digging, and directing. I like to pretend that I am the puppet master running the show. This is quite unfortunate considering the idea that we able to exert absolute control over our lives is a total illusion. Of course to some degree our free will and ability to make moral choices is important, but in the grand scheme of things there is so much outside of our control.
This is where surrender invites us to be purely in the moment as it is. There is a lot to be gained from this (somewhat radical) act. If I could just imagine all of the energy (both physical and emotional) I spend maintaining my grand illusion of control and taking undeserved credit for avoiding disaster - well, I can’t imagine it to be honest! If I was a computer, my hard drive would be completely overloaded. Freeing up all of that space would leave me with a clean slate (side note - I actually did this recently when I accidentally deleted a very important folder from my desktop containing years of documented artwork and files… I guess it is time for lots of new work in 2019!).
I have glimpsed the boundless expansion inside of me through meditation, yoga, and other introspective practices. By clinging tightly rather than surrendering to life as it unfolds I keep that expansion hidden behind lock and key. I know there is so much more and if I could let go and open up to the universe a currently unfathomable freedom would reveal itself to me: Freedom from the need to make things “just so”. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from the exhausting and false job of conductor. I could just walk away from the platform and just be.
I thought if I could use this reminded daily then maybe it would be helpful for you too? Perhaps as you head into the busiest holiday season you might embrace the idea of loosening the reigns and surrendering to the stream of life before you. Imagine yourself on a little inner tube, floating down the river, enjoying the view and perhaps just laughing if you catch a rock and flip into the chilly water. Swimming upstream sounds much less fun, no?
I hope you enjoy these desktop and phone wallpapers that I made for you. Happy holidays and a very happy new year! I will see you in 2019. Sending warmth, love, and light your way.