When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. and filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! Make room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing—the reason they can fly.
–Mary Oliver, “Felicity”
Surrender ≠ Loss
Surrender is not loss.
Instead, it is a refusal to identify with something as my Self.
What I surrender may still exist in me, yet I no longer engage with it.
And if I am not that…
…of what am I to let go?
If I identify with nothing, what’s left for me to surrender?
Agency (any part of me assuming control over the “letting go” process) taints the act of surrender with a motive: fear.
“I” give something up because “I” am afraid of it—or of what will happen if “I” don’t give it up.
If “I” surrender worry, doubt, or fear, it’s because “I” am terrified of being overwhelmed by it.
Really, it’s just one of “my” many selves scrambling to maintain control.
The need to control fuels all these machinations.
True surrender, then, is threefold:
- I become aware of my need to control.
- I acknowledge my need to control.
- I release my need to control.
It is a letting go of the need to control anything—including the process of letting go.