To Surrender is to Dance
“To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.” ~ Lao-Tzu
The word ‘surrender’ is one of those verbs that leaves me scratching my head on exactly how to do it, since it seems to be the very opposite of an action. How does one make an effort to surrender, because it appears to be so passive, and it seems to be more about inaction than anything? In fact, the active attempt of trying to surrender already puts us at a place of putting in too much effort, and it’s like we’re banging at the door, screaming for someone to let us in. We try to ‘make’ something happen. We hold on, forcing things, clenching onto something ever the more tightly. This usually results in whatever we are grasping onto wriggling away from us or dying of suffocation! No bueno!
True surrender, however, actually is an active process, but just not in the way that we typically think. The first thing that happens when you hug someone is that you have to open your arms. In the same way, surrender is a patient process of opening your hands in order to receive. It’s a different sort of action that involves listening and acceptance. Surrender is opening your heart to the truth of a situation, or the reality of what something or someone truly is, and being present in that moment. It’s living that moment fully. It’s responding to what it is instead of what we think it is or try to make it into.
There’s a saying ‘the map is not the territory.’ In other words, there’s the ‘making a plan’ part where you decide on your choreography—but then comes the part where you surrender to actually dancing!If we close our hands around the piece of paper, clinging to the plan of the choreography, trying to impose what is ‘correct,’ we have no space in our lives to actually respond to the moments in front of us that are happening in the present. It becomes mechanical and moments that are not motivated by anything organic. At some point, we have to let go of the map and live in the territory. We have to trust that we’ve done the work already, that the map has become a part of us, so that we can let go, surrender to the dance, and live.
Designer & Stylist: Peggy Khoucasian / Writer: Christie Cole
Photographer: Camila Cardozo / Model: Katrina Amato