We are often living like characters in a TV show. We play a role. We play many roles. We get attached to the many identities we have. So are any of these identities real? When are we actually being ourselves?
The ego is always busy protecting the self-image we have constructed. We want to appear confident, cool, smart, strong and in control. But it can get exhausting and even boring playing a role; especially in relationships. And the closer we are to someone, the more our ego tries to defend its precious self-image.
As humans, one of our deepest fears is that we will be rejected and left alone. In our relationships, the stakes are high. If I do something my partner doesn’t like or isn’t comfortable with, will he leave me?
We are constantly in the mode of trying to control situations. We think–If I do A, then probably B will happen. I don’t want B to happen so I won’t do A. We try to guess results. We make assumptions. We try to read each others minds. We predict how others might respond. It’s all really a waste of time and energy.
What if instead of striving to defend ourselves and control our circumstances, we used our energy to be radically open and honest and vulnerable with the people we love the most? What if we let go of outcomes and just made our best effort every day to live according to our own truth? What if we could share what we were thinking and feeling without the fear of rejection hanging over us? What if we could express our desires, our dreams and fears with vulnerability and graciousness?
Of course, these are questions I am actually asking myself these days. I could probably change each “we” to “I”.
We will never break free from fear when we are pretending, defending, acting and controlling. To break free, we must be completely true to ourselves, radically honest with ourselves and others, totally open and transparent and graciously vulnerable. This is not to say that we share absolutely everything that we are thinking all the time but it does mean freely exposing our true nature–not unlike being naked.
There are people who say they want more intimacy in their relationship but they have not yet developed intimacy with themselves. Once a person becomes intimate with their own inner world, then they are ready to explore real closeness with another.
To be intimate with yourself it takes courage to surrender. It’s letting go of who you think you are in order to discover what you truly are. Letting go of old and comfortable identities is not easy. Even if they are not serving their purpose anymore we fear that if we let go, we might destroy ourselves…or others.
I’ve been pondering the concept of surrender and I think I am finally getting a tiny peak into its meaning. To many, the word surrender equates with being passive or giving up. But spiritually, surrender simply means being completely yourself, being whole and true and then allowing the universe to work its magic (or let the chips fall where they may, as some say) This is what will ultimately bring us deep peace in our hearts.
Surrendering is letting go of outcomes and it is a difficult process. How do I “simply” be myself and surrender, trusting that all will work out perfectly, beautifully, divinely? How do I let go of all of those roles I have been playing for decades? How do I allow myself to be emptied so that the universe can fill me? These are questions I have yet to answer.
I went to my first choir practice this week and uncannily, the song we started out singing was called, “I surrender” The lyrics went like this:
I step into the flow and then I let it go
I open my mind, my heart and my soul.
I surrender, I surrender, I surrender…
I open my mind, my heart and my soul.
Trust, openness, surrender.
As I took a bath, I looked into the water to see the reflection of my face. I couldn’t see my features, just the shape of my head. And a ray of light made it look like there was a crack going down the centre of my head. Perhaps this was an analogy for how I’ve been living–showing half of myself while keeping the other half hidden.
I read Nepo’s excerpt that morning that he titled, “The Lazy Susan Self”. He wrote:
The God in us in not half-presence.
There is no screening who we are.
For years, I lived this way: turning the side of me to others that they could understand, spinning the aspects of myself like a lazy Susan, offering only what others wanted or needed or felt most comfortable with.
What I didn’t realize was that more and more of who I truly am was being hidden, and that only showing the part of me that others found acceptable was not being true to myself.
Fear of conflict. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being loved. Fear of showing what I believed no one else could possibly understand. A lack of trust and faith that the flower inside me could survive the elements out here….
I thought–Wow, this is how I feel. His analogy so eloquently describes this inner spinning, this attempt to control and please. The only way to stop this spinning is to surrender to the truth of who I am.
WAVES OF BRAVE…It’s funny because when I feel most terrified is when I feel the most brave. It feels like a wave of brave that suddenly is carrying me, lifting me…I get this strong urge and I think–this is my chance to tell the truth and if I don’t, this wave will crash and I will have to wait until the next big wave of brave comes along.
There is nothing scarier or more liberating than being and sharing your true self. It’s the feeling of being really ALIVE!! When we can be brave enough to surrender and trust that we will be carried, the inner conflict and resistance will dissipate. We will truly be free and life will become an effortless flow.