That has become my word of the year.
I never chose a more powerful word.
Actually, Michael Singer chose it for me. He’s a nice Jewish boy who now lives like a Buddhist. Transformed by a life of meditation and yoga, he teaches people how to let go of all their preferences and let life choose what is best for them.
He wrote two books that I read almost daily, “The Surrender Experiment” and “The Untethered Soul.” Early this year, I made a deep commitment to surrender. To keep my heart open. Once I did, I became painfully aware of how often it shuts.
It closes on the driver who won’t let me pass. On the mosquito dining on my elbow. On the stranger playing music too loudly.
I listened to an eight-part series of Singer’s talks on Sounds True and at the end said, “I’m in.”
Then my world turned upside down.
It was all good.
I even had to surrender the good. He believes that if we stop clinging to what we think we want and stop resisting what we don’t want, we will be free to accept whatever the universe gives us. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at what happens next.
I often cling to the good. I replay it and take videos and pictures of it instead of soaking up the experience right as it is happening. I used to save my happiest moment of the day in a big clear crystal vase to read at the end of the year. One day the vase was empty. The cleaning lady tossed it all out.
At first my heart sunk. Oh no, all my happiness gone! Then I laughed. The universe made me let go, even of the good stuff. Faith means trusting there is always more good.
It’s like manna from heaven. When the people of Israel were being led through the wilderness to the Promised Land, they were hungry and bread fell from heaven. Voila! God provided. When they tried to save it for the next day, it went bad.
The lesson? Trust the Source to provide for your daily needs. Surrender to that Source.
So here’s what happened when I did.
My sister and her husband decided to move to Cleveland this year. I spent a few days on Zillow in March looking for the right home. I sent her various links, but nothing felt quite right. One day, driving by one of the Shaker Lakes, I saw a lovely home with a for sale sign in the yard. I sent her the Zillow link.
She said it wasn’t right for them, but wrote, “This house is like the gold standard of houses!”
Really? I clicked on the link I had sent her and scanned the photos: Mid-century modern Cape Cod across from a lake, central air, first floor laundry and a first floor master bedroom and bath, something we’ll need when we grow old.
It was perfect for us. But we weren’t looking. So I took it to prayer, surrendered the outcome and called the agent listed. “It’s sold. It says pending sale, but it’s sold. I don’t even know why it’s listed,” he said.
So I went back to prayer, and said, “Thanks for showing me this house. Keep us in mind if it ever goes for sale again.” Then I let it go.
When I told my daughter about it, she said her Realtor sold that house to its current owners and suggested she might let me see it. At first I closed my heart, why bother? It’s sold. Then I opened. Why not?
The Realtor took me through it. Wow. Giant windows revealed a huge backyard and front view of the lake, plus there were skylights in the family room. So, I surrendered again. Maybe years from now it would be available when we were ready to move.
The next day, the Realtor texted me. The buyers backed out. The house was for sale. It was going back on the market in two days.
What? We had 48 hours to decide. Meanwhile, my husband had no idea I had even looked at the house and had surrendered it three times.
So back to prayer. He might not want to leave the house we had lived in for 23 years. So I surrendered and trusted whatever happened next.
He loved it.
We didn’t love that it didn’t have a basement, but that’s another column, three truckloads to Goodwill and a lot of surrendering who we used to be. Our house sold in a month. We moved in June. Same city, just a mile closer to the grandkids.
When we tell our friends we moved, they all say, “We didn’t know you were looking.”
Neither did we.
Fortunately, the universe was.