This blog is about surrender.
This is not necessarily a popular topic in this society/during these times. I believe that the more typically ‘masculine’ qualities of controlling and mastering our lives and overcoming obstacles are much more the way we are conditioned to think we must behave in order to succeed in every area of life. This approach can serve us very well in the office or board-room, when sparing with an opponent, or on a football pitch. However, what I’ve seen time and again in my work with those of us who struggle around food, body-weight and body-image, is that our issues are rarely if ever tackled in this manner.
Everyone I’ve worked with closely around these issues who has found newfound joy followed by long-lasting freedom has first reached a point or period where they’ve recognising that all their attempts to get their eating habits under control and feel great about their bodies just haven’t ultimately worked.
Prayer is key in the shift of perspective I believe is required to create the foundations for long-lasting joyful change. Prayer has nothing much to do with religion, unless this is helpful to you. I myself am not religious, and yet I practice prayer in every area of my life in which I feel that my life-long habit of micro-management and control has become fruitless and burdensome, and is not yielding the results I so dearly want.
So how exactly do we surrender, and pray, to find the positive change we crave? I believe there are a few steps to this, and I’ve broken down the process as I see it into two simple steps:
Self-judgment and self-blame keeps us stuck in the exactly the same place, year after year. It is the cement that keeps the unwished-for state or circumstance firmly in place. Some parts of me wrongly believe that criticising me will make things change for the better. However every piece of evidence from my own experience suggests the opposite to be true: when critical parts relax, we’re suddenly free to embrace positive changes without the pressure that has been holding things in a state of stagnancy.
One thing that has helped these inner-critics in me relax a great deal has been the concept of ‘karma’. I believe that the reason I’m up against this particular set of circumstances – however challenging – is because of my own personal karma. I view karma as my own individual soul’s course of study – what I have yet to learn in this lifetime about receiving love and giving love, to and from myself and others. I see this lifetime as an opportunity to practice being in flow – I can choose to learn what I need to learn to live this way, loving, healing and releasing whatever is blocking me from being in flow: a conduit or channel of love.
The notion of karma is a relief to me: when I’m in what I would perceive to be a negative situation or circumstance, it is not due to my own ineptitude, stupidity, or failings. I have come to believe that it is meant to be that I’m right here, right now, facing whatever it is I’m facing. It is part of my soul’s learning in this lifetime.
I need help. And I’ve found I don’t get too far in a good direction without it. I’m talking help both from other people, and help from the Divine (Self, the Tao, the Universe, a Higher Power… inner and outer … I invite you to choose whatever word and concept works best for you) … I’ve found that, for me, a good time for asking for help is first thing. I practice offering up my most pressing and anxiety-provoking issues as soon as I open my eyes each morning. I use certain prayers that I read allowed or say in my head from memory, and they slow the momentum of my oft-anxiety-fueled “fix-it-quick” thought-cycles that would otherwise jump right into action on a variety of topics as soon as the alarm-clock sounds.
I’ve authored a few suggested prayers if you feel you’re well-and-truly up against it in the area of food, body-weight, and body-image. I encourage you to use them/edit them/reject them/replace them and generally make them your own as you embark on the process of surrender around your food and body lives:
“Divine Beloved, allow me to feel completely at ease, knowing that total freedom from what has felt like an endless cycle of over-eating and dieting is now finally well underway.”
“Let me trust that my needs to be healthy, happy, and to love my body are now being met in amazing ways.”
“May I know my own value, beauty, and worthiness without question.”
“Let me allow others the supreme pleasure of giving to me, guiding me, and supporting me on my journey of healing around food.”
“Change me into one who can fully love, forgive, and accept myself.”
“Let everything that needs to go, go. Let everything that needs to come, come. I am Yours.”
Being playful also does wonders, I find:
“I’m done! I’m exhausted! I’ve had it! I give this whole burden over to you, Divine Love. Take it off my hands and make it clear what I need to learn next. Show me the way in a way I can take in, understand, and follow.”
I find slow, deep breathing works well during prayer.
Acceptance and Offering are the opposite of “passive”. This is an active engagement in working with the Sprit of Life that created everything, and I’ve found it works wonders in every area of my life where I feel stuck.
You may believe that the Self doesn’t care about the mundane details of food and body-weight, and has Her/His/It’s focus on more global issues. I believe Self/Spirit to be available on hand both in the minutiae of life, and in the business of moving the planets and keeping the stars burning bright.