We interrupt our regularly scheduled program — the “Pray, Love, Then Eat” blog tour for Cravings — to get back to a good, old-fashioned spirituality post.
Last year at this time, I posted about choosing a word for the year, or, more accurately, allowing my word to choose me: “Listen.” Back then I was having a hard time imagining I’d find one word to define the coming months. This year I’m finding not just one but a series of words that have taken up residence in my heart and soul. It started a few months back and has been picking up steam. It started like this…
I was doing some centering prayer one day and decided that I was going to focus on the word “truth” whenever I felt my mind starting to wander. It came naturally. I was searching for truth in my own life, truth in my spiritual life, truth in general, and it felt right. Then a few days later, when I sat down in quiet prayer again, I noticed about halfway through that I wasn’t coming back to the word truth, as I was “supposed” to, but was instead hearing the word “trust” in my heart.
At first I thought I should change back to truth, but you’re really not supposed to change your word once you dive into a centering prayer session. Plus, it seemed that if “trust” was coming up of its own volition, I needed to pay attention. Later, when I was no longer trying to pray, I thought about the switch on a logical/intellectual level, and it seemed so perfect.
I have issues with trust. Not with trusting other people, but with trusting God. I spend a lot of time in fear — fear of things that could happen to my children, fear of what might happen to me or Dennis, fear of financial stuff, health stuff, professional stuff, every kind of “stuff” you can imagine. And I expend lots of energy on fear, too much energy. So the idea that my heart would choose to give me the word “trust” was really a no-brainer.
And for a while “trust” seemed to be the word of the moment, the word that would be my obvious choice for 2013 when it finally arrived. Fast forward to the start of this year, or the very end of last. Suddenly I found myself being pushed beyond trust, sort of against my will. I mean, come on, trust is hard enough. Do I really have to go to the next step: surrender? I was internally shaking my head “no” at this prospect, but there it was at every turn.
I kept showing up for yoga class and hearing my teacher tell me to surrender, surrender, surrender. I’d open up a spiritual book or click an online link and see it again. I’m sorry but “surrender” is not in my mental vocabulary. Surrender means giving up. Surrender means weakness. Surrender means someone else is in control. Oh. Wait. I get it.
So this year I’m allowing myself three words: truth, trust, surrender. I’m already finding it to be a challenge of epic proportions as I receive emails from people who need prayers for children who’ve been run over, burned, abused, and more, as I read stories of families devastated by losses of every kind and often the worst kind, as I recognize that “there but for the grace of God…” Fear would really like to declare itself champion and take over as reigning word of the year.
I wish I could go back to last year’s word. Listening seems so much easier than surrendering, but this is where I am and, obviously, where I need to be. When I’m on my yoga mat, I see it played out in physical ways — I want to resist certain movements or avoid things I know I’m not good at or things that will stretch me in ways I don’t like. It gives me a clear picture of what needs to happen internally, where I’m putting up just as much resistance to the spiritual and mental stuff that stretches me in uncomfortable ways.
So I feel like I’m facing an uphill battle this year, but there again we see my insistence on resistance. Surrender can’t be a battle, can it? It has to be a letting go, like falling backwards and knowing instinctively that Someone will catch me. Scary prospect. I feel like the little caterpillar in the photo above, inching his way across the road at a horse farm. Talk about surrender and trust!
“In my weakness, I am made strong.” Am I willing to let that become my mantra?