My homework for the week is “letting go of struggle.” I’m sad to admit that I often struggle with struggle and struggle with letting go of struggle! This article came in my inbox yesterday and it speaks to the theme of the week beautifully. Read the entire article by Sally Kempton or see my excerpts below. Highlights are mine.

A truly surrendered person may look passive, especially when something appears to need doing, and everyone around is shouting, “Get a move on, get it done, this is urgent!” Seen in perspective, however, what looks like inaction is often simply a recognition that now is not the time to act. Masters of surrender tend to be masters of flow, knowing intuitively how to move with the energies at play in a situation. You advance when the doors are open, when a stuck situation can be turned, moving along the subtle energetic seams that let you avoid obstructions and unnecessary confrontations.

Such skill involves an attunement to the energetic movement that is sometimes called universal or divine will, the Tao, flow, or, in Sanskrit, shakti. Shakti is the subtle force—we could also call it the cosmic intention—behind the natural world in all of its manifestations.

Surrender starts with a recognition that this greater life force moves as you. One of my teachers, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, once said that to surrender is to become aware of God’s energy within oneself, to recognize that energy, and to accept it. It’s an egoless recognition—that is, it involves a shift in your sense of what “I” is—which is why the famous inquiry “Who am I?” or “What is the I?” can be a powerful catalyst for the process of surrender.

As a practice, surrender is a way of unclenching your psychic and physical muscles. It is an antidote to the frustration that shows up whenever you try to control the uncontrollable. There are any number of ways to practice surrender—from softening your belly, to consciously opening yourself to grace, turning over a situation to the universe or to God, or deliberately letting go of your attachment to an outcome.

When the attachment or the sense of being stuck is really strong, it often helps to pray for surrender. It doesn’t matter who or what you pray to, it matters only that you are willing to ask. At the very least, the intention to surrender will allow you to release some of the invisible tension caused by fear and desire.

Most transformational moments—spiritual, creative, or personal—involve this sequence of intense effort, frustration, and then letting go. The effort, the slamming against walls, the intensity and the exhaustion, the fear of failure balanced against the recognition that it is not OK to fail—all these are part of the process by which a human being breaks out of the cocoon of human limitation and becomes willing on the deepest level to open to the infinite power that we all have in our core.

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