Today is the Winter Solstice. The Return of the Light after the longest night of the year, when we’re supposed to rest, repose, contemplate.
I am calling myself out. As yoga teachers and/or spiritual seekers, we talk a lot about surrender and trust. We love to quote Hafiz and Rumi because they talk a lot about surrender and trust. Surrendering to your dharma, trusting the flow, trusting in what life tosses at you because it’s all for your own good and you’ll grow from it, blah blah etc.
Hafiz and Rumi don’t talk about how treacherous the path of trust and surrender is. At least they don’t Instagram about it.
I cannot trust. I cannot surrender. It goes against every fiber of my protection, my walls that have saved me. I do not feel safe.I am the worst at team-building trust exercises. Do not ask me to fall into your arms because you’ll be waiting for a very long time. I do not walk on street grates. I will never stand on the glass floor of the 103rd story of the Sears Tower. I do not ask for help. I do not say “I love you,” first.
These things will not hold me. They have held countless others before me, but my trembling limbs, my racing heart, my twisting guts have me convinced that they will collapse under my weight.
I want to trust. I want to surrender. To the Divine. To my flow. To love and light and dark and itchy, ecstatic human experience. I am enamoured, chasing Trust & Surrender like lovers.
I taste them sometimes. Fleeting, like trying to recall the taste of violet candy, or the smell of my grandmother’s perfume. But once they fade, I am filled with the empty dread of my aching white knuckles that keep me from falling.
I do not invest, because the stock will plummet. I cling to my discipline and meticulousness, because when I am disappointed, when you fail me, I will still be standing.
I open, but not too much.
I divulge, but not too much.
I commit as long as the Exits are clearly marked. Preferably with orange cones and flashing lights.
As warm and loving as I am, these walls are wide and high.
How do you change your story? How do you forget you’re afraid? Even when you’re certain that you already have, because this is so agonizingly difficult and painful and weird that this has to be Surrender & Trust, right?
Maybe I cannot trust or surrender. Yet. But I can be with the sickness. I can stand on the ledge shaking and crying, feeling like I want to pass out and puke simultaneously. I can cross my arms in front of my chest like a sava and have the courage to whisper “Catch me,” as I lean back, when I’m not sure someone will.
I am no stranger to being crumbled–my knees know the gravelly Earth like a dear friend. My body has been wracked with sorrow that has threatened to rip me at the seams. My ventricles have been rent apart and laced with gold.
So what am I afraid of?
I’ve flipped this over and over in my head, and this is the only thing I can come up with: The answer is to keep breaking. To vow to leap over and over again, even if I fall, even if my voice breaks and I cry in front of you when I didn’t want to. To dismantle this high, wide, meticulously constructed fortress, brick by brick with bleeding knuckles. To ask for hands to catch me.
Last night was the longest night, but this is my intention now: I surrender more. I trust more. I commit to the path ahead of me, even if it’s 1300 feet above the city, or into outstretched arms below me.
I know I am strong enough to stand on my own feet, but now I must leap.