True surrender is easily misunderstood as passivity, as doing nothing. It’s actually a change in stance, a change in state of being.

It’s a softening, a coming home to. It’s what we receive when we’ve made peace with life, and become its partner, arm in arm.

Before surrender, we act alone. We act because life is an emergency, out of control, vulnerable, worrisome, fear-inducing. We act to fix or control in response to that.

After surrender, we know we are held in a wise and loving embrace. We feel softness, not striving, in our relationship with life.

Bad things still happen. People and relationships deteriorate. Tragedies occur.

We feel the pain in it’s fullness, but we see all the beauty. We see the gifts. We don’t clench our fists against any of it.

From there, when we’re no longer yelling at life telling it how it should be,

when we’re no longer rebelling against what is, when we’re no longer fighting reality



we can take meaningful action. We can find our true role.

We wake up to what it’s all about, what all the circumstances are for: to reveal love, to call us into love, to stretch us to find love in new ways. We begin to see what the real story in our lives, and it’s all about this.

We begin to see how life is releasing exquisite gems to us in every moment, like water dripping from the tap.

Let all the circumstances, all your mental stories about them, all the plans of how it should be or should have been, let it all burn up

until what’s at the center of your life is love given, connection realized.

until your chest throbs daily with tenderness for the faces that grace your life

and the blue out the window is so stunning it brings tears to your eyes.


photo credit: Sydney Rae

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • When I’m white knuckling life I’m so zapped by stress nothing flows.One of my 4 daughters has not forgiven me for her childhood stuff. For two years I danced around her and tried to make up for what ever did or didn’t happen. I finally was tired from beating my head against the wall. My dancing shoes became worn out.

    Finally instead od getting new shoes I quit dancing. I surrendered.

    I’m at peace and realize we may never have a relationship. My happiness doesn’t depend on it.

    I do think surrendering is a process. It happened for me when I could let go of…someday.

  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord says:

    This post is what brought tears to my eyes. It was stunning to read, as surrender has beckoned me since early April. Better yet, I’m heeding the call.

    I just wrote, in an email to a friend today, how I say “surrender” aloud to myself a couple times a day, depending on what’s going on. And it always brings me back into myself — my Divine self, that is led by love.

  • So beautiful, Tara. When we become receptive to life, we stop controlling. There is ease, relief, release. We stop “clenching our fists” against it. We let the natural intelligence of life be our guide.

    Thank you so much for this reminder. You have brought some moments of deep peace to my day.

  • Matt Maresca says:

    Again, I love it Tara! This is related to your “No Problem” post on Steven Atchison’s blog, which led me here. Surrender. Acceptance of life and the world as it is. Allowing life to go on around you as you focus on self. Very powerful.

  • Wilma Ham says:

    Hi Tara, what you say here is confirming to me that we are part of a larger wholeness; “Let all the circumstances, all your mental stories about them, all the plans of how it should be or should have been, let it all burn up.”
    I am learning the value of that and it takes practice but it makes life so less stressful as Tess said. It also makes me more honest.
    Because my stories are only telling me my side of the story and of course there is more than my side to all circumstances.
    It also makes it a lot easier to forgive.
    xox Wilma

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks Tess, for your words. What a powerful example of surrender. I’m so curious to hear more about what shifted for you when you “quit dancing.” Have you written about that at Bold Life? Hugs, t

  • sophiashouse says:

    Oooh! Sounds like this was good timing for you. What is the experience of surrender “beckoning you” like for you? I’m curious!
    And love your practice of saying the one simple word. Thanks for sharing that. Hugs, t

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks Gail, for your beautiful comment. Life does have such an ever-present wisdom, and so often we miss it because of our focus on how its supposed to me.
    I’m so moved that this enriched your day.
    Hugs to you, t

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks Matt! It’s funny – I wrote that other piece a few weeks ago, but I guess you are right – the two are very connected! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for leaving a comment. Plus, congrats on your blog! Warmly, Tara

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks so much for your comment – this highlights a new aspect of this for me – this piece about getting beyond our own version of the truth – opening not only to life’s wisdom, but to the truths coming from others.
    Reading your comment also makes me think about the relationship of all of this to martyrdom. When we are caught up in our mental stories about circumstances and how it should be, we get into blame and righteousness and passive-aggressiveness, instead of simply owning and stating our needs.
    And yes, such a good point, when we give up on fighting the way things are and surrender, we’re open to forgiving in a new way.
    Hugs to you my dear, t

  • Dorothy says:

    This is so timely for me. I feel like I’ve been fighting all my life. Fighting for how things “should be”. I feel like I am going to give up a dream if I accept what is. Because “what is” is very lonely.

    Will have to think on this, so thank you for giving my thoughts some direction.

  • Topi says:

    Hi Tara,
    Your post has made me think about a particular relationship I have. This person crops up in my life periodically, causes me great distress by being critical of my soul, and then disappears again, until the next time. I keep telling myself not to get so upset, but each time it’s like we’re reading from the same script. I think surrender might be the key. I understand what makes this person do what they do, there’s a lot of unhappiness and dissatisfaction there, and it gets projected on me. Perhaps surrender is a way to move past that, to accept this person for who and what they are, and to let go of the negative emotions that cause me such grief. Thanks (again!) for a wonderful and thought provoking piece.

  • sophiashouse says:

    Really interesting. I know just what you mean – when those same scripts keep getting provoked. I wonder what will unfold if you surrender the situation to a power greater than yourself – what may shift in your perception, your capacity or in the dynamic itself. Thanks for sharing, as always. Hugs, t

  • sophiashouse says:

    Thanks Dorothy. Surrendering is so tricky, because it doesn’t exactly entail forgetting or stepping on our dreams. I see it as more of a stance about how we move, and how we take action in our lives. It’s leaving enough space to work in partnership with life. It’s giving up the feeling that we can do it all alone through sheer effort. Sending you all the best my dear. Hugs, t

  • Hi Tara –

    I think of surrender in terms of acceptance. Accepting how things have been and are is so powerful. Accepting who we are, how we feel, what we think transforms our perspective. It is normal to spend huge amounts of our energy fighting against what comes naturally. When we stop struggling that energy is freed up to do what comes authentically. I love this post as it is poetic and truthful.


  • Jodi G. says:

    As tears stream down my face I want to thank you Tess for your comment. I consider myself to be a pretty accepting person (often TOO much) but when my oldest daughter quit speaking to me & stopped allowing me to be a part of my 2 grandson’s lives I fought hard for a long time. It just made things worse.
    I quit trying to call her, text her, go to her house . . . but I still think about her every day & wonder if she or the kids are thinking about me, I wonder if she’s driving by, I worry about her.

  • […] wanted nothing more than to share the joy of true surrender with her. The kind of surrender that comes only from giving in to the flow of life, instead of […]

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