Tag Archives: turn it over

I Surrender

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I have to work hard to stay clear,
present, awake, open.
When my beautiful children mention going to dinner
to celebrate their dad’s birthday
with the other woman,
when they say her name,
I just want to vomit.
I want to stomp up and down
and scream out
THIS ISN’T FAIR.
But I’m attending two 12 step meetings
every week now,
and I know enough by now
to turn this one over to my Higher Power.
Now God, show me how to contain myself.
Show me how to be an adult.
Show me how to forgive.
Show me what to do with this sadness.
I give up.
I surrender.
Now can you take this pain away?

A Moment For Myself

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Everyone else is in bed.  I wiped off the table, lit a candle, opened up the laptop, rubbed a drop of frankincense essential oil between my palms, cupped my hands, inhaled deeply. Ahh, yes.  A moment of quiet for myself.  At the end of a long day, it is heaven to hear an airplane rumbling somewhere in the skies above, and inside, just the sound of the keyboard keys clicking, the house settling, the metal ducts of our heating system clicking and ticking as they cool.

It has been a while since I have devoted any time to my idea of incorporating the Twelve Steps into the twelve months that I have committed to daily writing in this blog.  This third month is drawing to a close; I might as well take some time to explore my work on the third step, lest this last week of March escape me without any mention of how I’ve been experiencing it.  Step three is about turning our life and affairs over to God as we understand God.  Nearly every session of meditation starts with me turning the thirty minutes over to God.  God, I turn this meditation over to you. I turn my focus over to you.  I turn my mind over to you.  Please do with it what you will.  Please help me to focus my mind, that I may experience the divine in me.

More often than not, I have been turning my commutes to the yoga studio over to God.  If there is a genetic predisposition for road rage, I have it.  Maybe it was just a learned behavior, but it feels a lot deeper than simple conditioned response.  It feels karmic.  I don’t want to be the person who mutters angrily while driving.  I don’t want to feel the adrenaline coursing through my body, my heart racing.  I have tried chanting, breathing, calling friends and family, and other tactics to distract me from jumping into my normal mode of tenseness behind the wheel, but results are slow to become apparent.  In my quest to transform into the calm person I want to be, I find myself becoming impatient, disheartened, doubtful that I will ever see results…but there is another way to handle this.  I can turn over my driving, my thoughts about my driving, and the experience of sharing the road with other people over to God.  It’s a relief to know that turning it over is an option.  I don’t have to be in control.  I don’t have to be pinched and anxious and angry as soon as I turn the key in the ignition.  I turn my driving over to you God.  I turn my anger and my mistrust of other drivers over to you.  Please help me to stay calm, alert.  Thank you.

I have “turned over” many other experiences and thoughts this month.  It surely requires practice, like any other skill we can develop.  I want to surrender fully to the flow of life.  Because I have become accustomed to struggling with the daily challenges of life and the illusion of control…there is a lot of resistance, and anxiety surrounding this work of surrendering.  I turn over this act of surrender to you God.  Take it and do with it what you will.

I would love to see what I could write–say at midday or early afternoon–when my mind is more alert and my body not so exhausted,  but here I am writing after eleven o’clock at night.  The reality is I’m growing drowsier with each passing minute…so I shall surrender to sweet sleep now.  I turn my dreams over to you God.  I turn over my deepest longings, my hopes and my fears, my sleep, my health, my body, my family–all over to you, God.

 

Bonne nuit!

Do Not Look With Fear–Turn It Over

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Do Not Look with Fear
Saint Francis De Sales

Do not look with fear
on the changes and chances of this life;
rather look to them with full faith that as they arise,
God–whose you are–will deliver you out of them.

He has kept you hitherto.
Do not but hold fast to His dear hand,
and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand, He will bear you
in HIs arms.

Do not anticipate what will happen tomorrow.
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you tomorrow and every day.
Either he will shield you from suffering or
He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts
and imaginations.

 -o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

This prayer by St. Francis De Sales seems to dovetail nicely with the third step of the Twelve Steps:

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

The idea of “turning it over” has been running through my mind more and more as I ponder what it means to surrender to life as it is in this moment, to accept, to allow, to flow.   If I perceive myself to be in control, I will be constantly pushing people, circumstances, and events into neat little rows that I can understand, define, and label.  My analytical mind is desperate to be in control.  It wants to anticipate every movement along this path of self-realization, and it can’t stand how messy the process is at times.

I’m finding that as I practice turning it all over to God–even though my mind doesn’t believe that this is what I’m really doing–there is a palpable sense of relief in my body and in my mind.  If for only a brief moment, I experience freedom from the neurotic mind that is clinging to its idea of control, and the universe seems bigger, friendlier, more open, more fun than I thought it was before.  My body softens, my shoulders relax away from my ears, my breath comes more easily.

My meditations now begin with me saying, “God, I turn this meditation over to you.  Do with it what you will. I turn my focus over to you.  Do with it what you will.”  All of a sudden, I entertain the notion that for these thirty minutes, God can hold me; I might set down my burdens and rest in the hands of the Creator.

Analytical mind says, Creator? What? And I answer, Yes. The force of life that created me, the flow of all that is and all that ever will be–I am held in this, never separate.

I’m hoping that as I practice turning it over, it will eventually become a true surrender to God.  I can sense so much holding on to my stories, my pain, my identity, my hopes and fears.  There is enormous resistance to fully handing my life over to God, so much that my rational mind says, You can pretend that you are doing this, but you aren’t really doing this.  God doesn’t exist, and you’ll eventually realize how foolish you are.

I sense another part that wants to be free, that shouts YES! every time I affirm my willingness to let go, to hand it over to God.  As I practice turning it over in this moment, I know that I’ve taken a step closer to freedom.  So I’ll keep repeating St. Francis De Sales’ prayer and I’ll keep turning this and that over to God, and maybe little by little I will awaken to the liberated spirit within me.

Do not look with fear–turn it over.

Practice First

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I decided to try something different tonight and meditate first.  Often when I come to my blog at the end of the evening, it’s a struggle to just put a few sentences together, and afterwards it’s even more of a struggle to sit still in meditation for thirty minutes, attempting to stay awake.  My body is tired from teaching four yoga classes this weekend, my mind is tired from having little sleep the past six nights. I ended up stopping my meditation early because I was so drowsy I kept losing focus.  I made it through twenty of thirty minutes  though, and that counts for something.

With ten minutes remaining, I opened the laptop and logged in to my blog.  Now here I am.  It seems like the words can flow more easily now that my mind is a little clearer, more spacious.  Even though I felt so drowsy a moment ago, now I feel more alert.  A yoga teacher once said, “Practice, and all else is forthcoming!” I can really feel this now, after making my meditation the priority and attending to it first this evening.  I wanted to save my alertness, the best part of my mind for my practice, and even just twenty minutes have refreshed me somewhat and given me the space to simply be with these words without judgment.

What would happen if I made my practice my priority every evening?  Would my evening posts go more smoothly?  It often feels like I’m struggling to find the right word, but having come from meditation, I sense that there is no right word or wrong word, there are just words, and they point to the essence, the underlying unity of all things.

There is snow in the forecast, and lots of it.  My daughter’s preschool has already been canceled for tomorrow, and I most likely won’t be going in to teach my Monday morning yoga class.  This means I will have a rare, cozy day to spend inside with my family, and right now, this inclement weather seems to be a very precious gift.

As I look forward into the month, I will be spending some time exploring the third step of the Twelve Steps of AA.  The third step is all about turning one’s life and affairs over to the will of God as we understand God. Since I read about this, I’ve thought so much about how much I try to control in my life, and how fruitless and painful this delusional struggle for control can be.  Giving up this illusion, I find the clarity to see my life as it is now, and I have a receptive, open mind that can be led to make decisions for the greatest good of all concerned.

Just for the heck of it, I began today with this idea of “turning it over” to God.  I found myself getting frustrated with other drivers on the road who were pulling dangerous moves, not using their turn signals, dawdling at green lights because they were on their phones.  As I saw myself growing increasingly frustrated, I reminded myself that peace is in this moment, only in this one moment.

I began to say out loud to God, “I turn my anger, rage, resentment, irritation, impatience, and anxiety over to you.  I don’t know how to handle this on my own.  I put this in your hands, that you may show me the way to peace.” I breathed deeply.  I had to keep turning my road rage over to God, because the other drivers kept giving me opportunities to feel irritated, frustrated, annoyed…oh the unsavory words escaping from my mouth!

Then, in the next moment, “God, I turn this anger over to you. I trust that your power will help me to heal. I have tried everything I know how to do, and still I am angry.  Still I react with impatience. God, please show me how to live in alignment with your light and love.”

I turned my marriage, my family, my parenting, my friendships, my work, my creativity, my body, and my mind over to God today.  Every time I felt worried or irked about something, I would turn whatever it was over to God.  The newness of this felt refreshing; it introduced a quality of lightness into the moments where I was challenged by my own negative thinking.  I’m so often trying to mold situations to my liking, and the internal pressure that builds as I push against the things I don’t want becomes profoundly uncomfortable, dark, thick, heavy.  To feel even a little lightness began to ease the pressure I have placed on myself to get it right.  So I kept turning things over, practicing a willingness to let go, if only for a second.  I sense that right now I’m mostly intellectualizing this giving up of control, but over time, with earnest effort, I might actually experience what it is to set down the illusion of control and allow God to show me the way.  I look forward to this grace.

Time for bed.  This mama is tired!