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Life Coaching by Kathy O'Connor
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Control vs Surrender

This week I would like to explore what control is and what surrender means. I think that most of us can agree that we like to be in control of things in our lives, to be on top of things or to know how things are going to pan out. We like to be the one to call the shots, for things to go as we would like them to go and to be the one to make decisions in our lives. There are times when you may find yourself trying to control things outside of yourself, to control other people or situations and in the trying to control we can become rigid and closed. When someone mentions the word “Surrender”, what does that mean to you? Surrender is commonly mistaken for giving up, so we then fight against the idea of surrendering and we hang on more tightly in the need to control. There is a fine line between obsessive control and determination or between surrendering and giving up so let’s take a closer look at this.

Imagine hanging onto a small branch on the side of a cliff. You would hold on as tightly as possible to keep from falling to the ground wouldn’t you? Yes, you would, you would grit your teeth with a dogged determination vowing not to give up until help arrives. The last thing you want to do is surrender to the inevitable fate of falling. Now, what if I told you that the danger is not real and that you are actually only two feet from the ground? Would you loosen your grip on the branch? Of course you would! This is what is called Surrender. It is the ability to relax one’s grip on life in the place of the ILLUSION of danger.

Yes. It is possible that your business might fail, that your wife or husband may divorce you, that you may be made redundant, or you may lose all your savings. This doesn’t mean that you don’t do what you can to be prepared, though you are defeating yourself when you try to control things outside of your direct influence. So, Surrender is demonstrated by the willingness to let go of the need to control things outside of your direct influence. Surrender happens when you do what you can do in the moment, and let go of the things that are outside of your control.Here is a way to experience Control versus Surrender. Clench your fist. Clench it so tight that nothing can slip through into your palm. Now, what would you do if I wanted to put 100 euro into the palm of your hand right now? Would you keep your fist clenched or would you surrender your clenched hand to accept what I am offering? The chances are that you would surrender your grip to accept what is being offered. If you keep your fist clenched so tight you will not be able to accept what is being offered. Life works in the same way.

When your mind is clenched, you cannot open yourself to life and to the riches that you deserve. Here is a quote from Lao Tzu – “He who grasps loses.” So let’s open our minds so that we can receive. What I would like you to do now is to make a list of all the things that you would like to see changed in your life, or the things that are currently causing you stress or anxiety. Now, write down the things that are within your control, the things that you can actively do something about and the things that are outside of your control. When you have this done allow yourself to surrender to the things that you cannot control, the things that are outside of your influence. Just let them go, and then bring your attention to the things that you can control. This is where you can make some changes and this is where your focus needs to be. So many of us spend so much time trying to figure out how to control that which we have no influence over and end up in despair, stressed, frustrated and exhausted. This teaching to surrender to that which we cannot control will be of so much benefit to you and to your wellbeing. The challenge you face is to identify what it is that you can control and to be willing to surrender to that which you have no control over. I encourage you to work on this for yourself and notice the difference that surrendering brings to your life.

I love Ghandi’s quote: ‘Be the Change you want to See’ So let’s get at it and do what works.

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