For the past week and a half, I’ve been sick. Sicker than I’ve been in years. With barely enough energy to get off the couch and make myself tea, never mind to actually work or write.
My inbox is completely filled with things I have to catch up on. I feel the overwhelm settling in. And I’m just barely starting to feel better.
Every time I get sick—especially very sick—it’s a huge lesson in surrender. Because, inevitably, it always comes at a bad time. I’m not quite sure there’s ever a good time to get sick. But sickness always finds it way to me during busy times when I’m run down, naturally.
And I have to battle that internal desire to power through versus the deep need for rest and nourishment.
It’s not surprise that I started getting sick right before we entered Value in the current Sacred Circle—the water energy associated with nourishment, receiving, and equal energy exchanges.
2018 has been a powerfully busy year already. A lot has been changing for me. And the work is growing and expanding in ways I never expected. But ways that are also demanding as I learn to step into its new way of being.
I often say to our Circlers in Value that to give as much as we want to give, we have to be Olympic receivers. Because, otherwise, undernourishment becomes inevitable. And we got burnout, resentful, exhausted, sick, or just generally miserable.
So part of me—maybe subconsciously—knew this sickness was coming. And even welcomed it. As a reminder about just how much I need to step up my receiving game if I’m going to step further into the work. About how my own needs for self-care are still always top of the list. And about how even when I tell myself that I can’t slow down, my body will always remind me that’s not actually true.
For me, surrender is always one of the hardest lessons to learn. It’s something I seem to call into my life almost daily to be reminded of. Because it’s not an easy one to get down.
To let go of the outcome I’ve convinced needs to happen. To let go of my own plan all together. And to respond to each moment as it arises.
If I didn’t surrender, I wouldn’t be with Garrett. If I didn’t surrender, I wouldn’t be doing this work. If I didn’t surrender, I wouldn’t be writing right now.
Not surrendering is like having a one-way conversation. Like telling my love life or my career or my body that I want this to happen. And I know best. And never, ever listening to its response.
It’s like a parent telling a child that he or she wants that child to be a lawyer. And refusing to listen to any conversation from the other side. Refusing to honor that child’s subjectivity.
But my body did speak back. It did tell me what it needs. It did get sick and throw a temper tantrum. And I could choose to keep pushing forward. Or I could choose to stop working for over a week during a very busy time.
I’d hope that, if I ever have children, I’d be able to drop everything to be there when they really, really needed me. And I hope I can show up that way for myself.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned while lying on the couch watching Gossip Girl this week (hey, don’t judge me—I’d never seen it, and I needed something that didn’t make my heavy head think), it’s that surrender is simply about listening to the other side of that conversation. To not assume my own thoughts or plans are best. To listen—to my body, to other people, to my work, to life.
To have subject-subject relationships instead of subject-object ones. And to respond with the best possible scenario for all.
When we have the courage to listen, surrender becomes a conversation. And the answers are always there.