In The Wizard of Oz, there is a classic moment when the Wicked Witch of the West sky-writes a warning to the little girl from Kansas: Surrender, Dorothy! Most of us have always thought of that as an ominous threat. What if we look at it instead as wise and magical advice: surrender. Dorothy doesn’t surrender to the witch, but she does surrender to the power of her own journey, which finally brings her back home. Don’t all of us who are on life journeys come up against that ultimate challenge—letting go and trusting in something greater than our own individual lives? A surrender that will bring us “home,” to ourselves and to the heart of the universe.
In the past year, I have faced this in my own life. Never having been raised in a religious tradition of any kind, surrender was a foreign concept to me. Yet, the deeper I went within my own uniquely eclectic spiritual journey, the more I found surrender to be the key to opening the door to a greater expansiveness in myself and a profound connection to the cosmos. Not to mention, the key to a greater ease in living life.
Synchronistically, messages to that effect began to appear everywhere in my life. On an Oprah show that I tuned in to, Shirley MacLaine offered one piece of advice: “Surrender to a highly sophisticated Divinity.” A friend of mine described a comic strip with the punch line: “Resign as general manager of the universe.” It was Panache Desai’s ideas about “allowing and receiving,” however, that really struck a chord within me: in essence, flowing with everything that comes into your experience.
I’ve discovered that for me surrender isn’t a mental decision or a set of prescribed steps. It’s an ongoing process of emotionally letting go and embracing all of life, over and over. Part of me wants to hold on, wants to be in control, and it gets scared if I consider releasing that tight grip. Gradually, though, I’ve learned to relax and open to a wider vision of my life and my place on Earth. Like Alice, who discovers another world “through the looking glass,” I too have found that this physical reality is only one piece of the multilayered dream we call life. And it’s nothing I have to “control.” It involves trusting that my life as it is unfolding is exactly what I need in order to grow/evolve and that all that I perceive is part of an intricate tapestry of universal meaning and infinite love. As I have more and more experiences (within the physical realm and beyond) of the web of connection that we are all a part of, my trust grows, and I allow my life to flow with greater ease.
Surrender, then, is ultimately an opening of the heart: surrender in joy, surrender with tears and laughter. Fall in love with the world! Surrender to the dance of life. Step through the looking glass, put on those outrageous, sparkling ruby slippers, and “ease on down the road”! You’ll be home in no time. (“Ease on Down the Road” from the The Wiz)