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Surrender is One of My Favorite Words

by Ellen Tadd


When I’m having a hard time accepting “what is” - I mentally or verbally repeat the affirmation “I surrender.” This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on being fully engaged, but rather it is a tool to antidote stress and arrive at the feeling of acceptance. The renewed internal calm dissipates my turmoil that was brought on by attitudes such as, “I can’t believe this is happening,” or “I thought I could trust that person.” Almost like magic my clarity appears.

When we deeply surrender to what is, peace replaces anxiety or agitation, and from an untroubled internal state we can access enough clarity and focus to ask the question, “Given what is, what am I to do?” This approach fosters appropriate action rather than reaction, courage not fear, and inner empowerment instead of feeling like a victim.

Surrender brings us to acceptance. This is not complacency, but rather a spiritual principle that is key to sustaining tranquility and an inner equilibrium. Unfortunately the attitude of acceptance is not valued or even talked about much in our culture. The concept of acceptance is too often viewed as passivity, but what I have discovered for myself is that without acceptance our perceptions become skewed. Think of it this way, if you are looking into a pond that is full of ripples you can only perceive the surface, but if the water is still you can see what is going on beneath the surface. When we incorporate acceptance into our lives we can perceive with greater depth.

Sometimes it is very difficult to accept what is. Looking at what is ugly or cruel, uncomfortable or distasteful can be very difficult, which is why people often use avoidance as a coping mechanism. But if we don’t acknowledge what is, we can’t chart a wise course. Acceptance is the first attitude I cultivate in the midst of a difficult situation and, if I can’t achieve it, surrender invariably takes me there.

When we affirm that we surrender, we can also arrive at self-acceptance, then we can simply let ourselves be. An absence of self-acceptance is often a root cause underlying destructive behavior or, on the other hand, the pressure to prove one’s value can be fraught with anxiety. We don’t need to have ideal behavior to arrive at acceptance. We only need to know that we are fundamentally good and learning.

Once I worked with a young woman who was physically beautiful, kind, and extremely bright, but her interior life was full of turmoil. Quite simply she understood how to strive to achieve her external goals, but she hadn’t devoted any time to the cultivation of acceptance to support the quality of her inner life. Her anxiety fed her fear of making any mistake or having any weakness, because she had an underlying belief that being perfect was the key to feeling good. So she drove herself hard to become her definition of flawless, an unachievable goal. After my session with her, I felt compassionate, but sad. Here was an extraordinary young woman who was unable to enjoy the fruits of her labor or the gifts from life. This is a cultural problem caused by emphasizing striving without understanding the value of acceptance to form balance.

I am proposing that we as a culture learn to hold the attitude of acceptance in high regard. Striving helps us to actualize our potential, while acceptance gives us peace. Together they form the feeling of wholeness and wellbeing.

If you have anxiety, then you have trouble accepting that which you wish were not true. Try repeating the affirmation, “I surrender” throughout your day. Once you arrive at inner calm, ask yourself the question “Given what is, what am I to do?”

Ellen Tadd is an internationally known clairvoyant counselor who has been teaching and counseling for more than forty years. She is widely respected for the integrity of her work, the accuracy of her perceptions and guidance, and the clarity and usefulness of her teaching. Her work has been supported by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, the Marion Institute, Deepak Chopra, Child Spirit Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and the Boston Center for Adult Education, among others. Her work has been covered in Newsweek, and Tadd has lectured across the country at colleges, universities, hospitals, and community groups. Tadd’s first book, Death and Letting Go, appeared on the Boston Globe bestseller list. http://ellentadd.com


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