Oh, Man. Oh, Man. This was on a run LAST summer as I was training for the marathon. Little did I know that in a few short months I would be working across the street from that beautiful temple. In fact I made the route by the temple a regular one because I loved passing by it so much, but I never really noticed the school across the street. Life is funny, you know?
Running teaches me a lot of lessons. I think that is why I love it so much. I have time to think and sort out all of these ideas I have in my head. Yesterday was no different. I awoke way to early for my taste on a Saturday morning. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I laced up my shoes, plugged in my ear phones and went for a run.
I was about a quarter mile into it when I realized my body was all tensed up. Now, as a lifelong runner I know that if the body is tense it uses up energy that needs to go to other parts of the body. Like the heart, for pumping blood. It makes you tire more quickly. I took a mental scan of my body and consciously relaxed, focusing my breath. As I was running along I realized that in a way I had surrendered to the run, it was a conscious action that would help me get to the bigger goal of completing the task at hand.
Before this moment I had thought of surrender as a negative thing, the side that loses or has to wave the white flag because they are pushed into a corner. I realized that this is just not true. Sometimes surrender is giving up our will for the greater good. It is choosing the better way over our way. I knew that if I relaxed and gave into the run, it would make it so much more enjoyable.
Then I started comparing giving up to surrender. I thought of my life and the times I had surrendered what I wanted for the greater good. You see, I am not a quitter. I never have been. If there is something I can’t quite get I work and work at it until I master it to my satisfaction. For example a few weeks ago my class got really excited about double dutch jump roping. They kept asking me to come and jump with them, finally one day I was wearing clothes that would allow me to try it out. I am pretty sure the last time I double dutch jump roped was in 4th grade myself! I think it took me six tries to finally get the hang of it again. I could have given up at any moment during those six tries, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Finally, I jumped for a long enough run that I felt I had re-learned the art of double dutch jump roping.
There is a fine line between giving up and surrender. I believe it all has to do with the attitude of the person.
Then….as my mind does I thought of surrender and acceptance. I thought about the difference between
those two things. I thought about some of the things that don’t make sense to me in my life. I thought about the times when I had fought a tough fight and surrendered. I thought back and realized I don’t think there was ever a time that I gave up in my life. I can’t think of a single task that I quit because it was too hard. I did think of a time when I had worked and worked and worked and done all I could do and the only answer was to surrender my will and accept the circumstances at hand.
Then I remembered this:
To me this is the best way I could sum up surrender and acceptance. I believe that surrender and acceptance go hand in hand. I also think that when we get to a point of acceptance we are much happier. For example:
I went swimsuit shopping with my Mom yesterday. I think swimsuit shopping for most women is a perfect moment to Surrender and Accept but not Give Up. As I was trying on suits, I made a comment about a problem area on my body. I had even previously been to a plastic surgeon to have a consult about possibly eradicating this problem area. The procedure would cost $5000.00. Here’s the thing. If I had this procedure would I look better in a swimsuit? Probably. Would I find another problem area to worry about? Probably. My Mom asked me if I was really considering this, at one point I was. Now, however I have decided to accept my shape as it is. I live the 80/20 plan when it comes to eating. I eat healthy food about 80 percent of the time. I exercise regularly. I am a normal size for a woman my height. I have surrendered to that fact that I am aging, and have had babies, and my body shows some wear and tear for it. I have accepted myself as I am, and I am happier for it…..and $5000.00 richer. I am not going to give up on myself because I am not perfect, that isn’t a way to be happy. Have you ever had a pan of brownies and eaten one? Then you know, the row was uneven so you had to straighten it up? Then before you know it you’ve eaten the equivalent to three brownies? This is usually where I stop and feel gross, but I am NOT going to just throw in the towel and go WHAT THE HECK LET’S EAT THE WHOLE PAN! Swim suit shopping turned into an empowering experience, because it was another moment of accepting myself AND feeling happy about it.
Now, the examples I have used are just surface ones. I have thought about these three things on deeper more personal levels as they have happened through out my life. What is the point of this post? I think that it is a recipe for happiness, Surrender/Accept and NOT give up. That is what this life is all about right? To be happy and feel joy no matter our circumstances.