Rising Up and Bowing Down – The Grace of Surrendering
I was in an awkward yoga pose the other day. One leg here. The other there. Twisted and contorted at the waist, it seemed as though I was sipping each breath through a straw. I wanted to collapse––to curl up in the fetal position. I wanted to give up.
“Be proud and full of grace,” my inner voice whispered. “Rise up.”
And so I did. I exhaled and found a smidge more space between my ribs and elongated my spine. Then I gracefully unbound myself and bowed down, my forehead to the mat, my body purposefully rounded into child’s pose.
I surrendered to the moment, to the truth that my body, in that space, on that day, was not going to achieve what I’d hoped. And that was okay. I’d shown up with love and given it my all.
It made me think about what we’re all facing right now. We’re battling a global pandemic that has nearly all of us in isolation. We can’t go to church or synagogue. We can’t be with family celebrating birthdays and holidays. Many are unemployed. And most of us feel helpless, like we can’t do anything to fix it and we have to wait for others to find a solution.
If we let it, the situation can make us feel scared, alone, anxious, and helpless. Like all we can do is give up and give in to the darkness. But what if we looked at it differently? What if instead of just giving in and thus giving up, we practiced the art of surrendering?
Surrendering, done correctly, is graceful and powerful.
Surrendering means rising up and then bowing down.
How do we rise up? We face the situation with grace and honor. We chose to act from love not fear. Rising up to a situation, even one out of your control, means being your best self. Do good deeds. Bake your neighbor a cake. Venmo your hairdresser a tip. Write your best friend a song. Do what lights you up and share it with your grandma. And just when you think you have no more love to give, take another little sip of air and expand your heart.
These acts of love and goodness are how you, and I, and all of humanity will rise up to these darkest days with honor and grace.
Once we’re rising up, spreading our love, and being our best selves, then and only then do we bow down in surrender to our situation. When we do it this way, we’re surrendering with honor to a situation that we accept is completely out of our control. It’s different than giving in because we’re rising up in the face of it and then bowing down, our foreheads pressed with dignity to Earth. We trust that there’s a reason and a greater purpose for the situation. We breathe deeply, assuring ourselves and others with every exhale that love and compassion will be victorious.
It’s the goodness we share, our rising up, that cloaks us in honor. An honor so pure and forthright, it will bind us fiercely together even when we’re apart. And our hearts will then, all in unison, bow down in complete surrender to this situation that is beyond our grasp.
Someday soon we’ll all be able hug each other and share food and wine and laugh with abandon.
Until then, spread love and be safe. Be well and be happy.