What comes to your mind when you hear the word: “surrender”? Does it conjure up the image of a vintage western film, where the antagonist (in the black hat) throws up his hands and lets the protagonist (in the white hat) arrest him? Do you think of historic battlefields, where one side realizes they’ve been overpowered and puts down their sword? Do you think of it as loss or action born of failure?
Surrender. The word suggests that by giving up, we give something away.
But surrender can be something quite the opposite: a beginning.
We live in a constantly changing world that offers up unexpected experiences and events. Friends relocate. Adult children move away or move home again. A fun day on the slopes ends in a cast and a hospital bill.
For some, not knowing what will happen after we open our eyes in the morning can be thrilling, but for many that uncertainty is unnerving. To wit, many try to control their lives by creating systems, lists, routines, rigid schedules—you name it—to impose a bit of order and combat the specter of the unexpected.
The truth is I love my routines and my carefully scheduled calendar (I’m a Virgo, after all). Structure and planning not only get me through the day, they help me achieve my goals. The problem isn’t in the planning and organizing, but in how we respond when life breaks our carefully planned days.
This is when it helps to know how and when to surrender.
Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up; it means giving over your energy to what’s within your control. It means reacting in ways that support your growth when life unfolds in unexpected ways. Being able to adjust in a positive way to unexpected events in our lives means being flexible, maintaining a sense of humor, and retaining our certainty that life is happening for us, not to us. Our life is unfolding— just as it should.
This brings us to the month of Capricorn.
Capricorns are planners. They’re a serious bunch, persistent and tenacious. Because of their ability to take a project from A-Z, Capricorns make excellent business leaders, CEOs, financial planners, business analysts, and architects. As professionals, their strength is knowing the importance of patience. They feel most comfortable setting goals and working diligently, step by step. Disciplined, responsible, reliable, and dependable, we need at least a few Capricorns in our lives.
Now for the challenge, and we know all signs have their challenges. For Capricorns it’s control—more specifically, letting go of it. Surrendering. Their strengths may be in organization and structure, but they can have a hard time adjusting when life doesn’t adhere to the carefully laid plans they’ve made.
The month of Capricorn is a perfect time for us all (not just those born under this sign) to practice surrender. It’s a month to identify what we can control—and gracefully let go of what we can’t. As we’re all aware, 2020 has been a perfect example of a year when all our collective expectations were dashed by a global pandemic that, a year ago, would be merely the plot of a science fiction novel. Hardly a reality.
You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles. ― C. JoyBell C.
As in many principles, it’s easy to understand but can bedevil us in its practice.
Start by identifying ways to let go of our expectations. The laying aside of what we “know” and expect opens us up to greater joy and appreciation of each moment. When we aren’t anticipating what comes next, we are fully living in the now. Letting go of the need to control places our trust firmly back in the hands of the Creator. So, you see, surrender isn’t always a bad thing.
Rethink Moment (Rethink Mantras):
- I am flexible. Instead of reacting, I accept unexpected changes.
Like a tree branch, it’s easier to bend than to break.
- I know what to surrender and what not to.
There’s an expression: pick your battles. Some things are important and should be pursued with every bit of your ability and all your temerity. Other things, not so much.
- I am not in control and that’s okay. I will do what I can and accept that I have done my best.
If you feel the desire to control an unexpected situation, ask yourself: “Can any action of mine make it better?” If not, consider surrender.
- I know that there is a blessing hidden here for me. I know there is something here for me to learn.
Unexpected events often bring about unintentional gifts.
- I am worthy of good things. I love myself.
Whatever chaos or craziness has erupted in your life, don’t let it shake your belief in yourself. The situation is not who you are. This is true even if you are the cause of the disruption. Learn from it. Commit to making changes. But don’t dwell there.
- I will get through this. I always do.
Challenges are an opportunity to not just overcome, but to thrive and become a better person.
This month is a good time to rethink the word surrender. Instead of looking upon it as black and white, good guy and bad guy, giving up and giving in, think of it as a freeing practice that will help you navigate the uncertain events that are sure to arise.