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Stop trying to control your life. The Universe does not need you to be in charge.

Owning Surrender: Going With The Flow

Lissa Rankin's picture

 

The Outer Banks Posse

The Outer Banks Posse



Yet another in a series of posts I wrote while vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina:

Today, I went kayaking for the first time in ages. I absolutely adore kayaking and have such fond memories of kayaking with Dad that it always makes me happy. Dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was in his thirties, so he couldn’t keep up with the rest of us when we skied, hiked, or danced. But in a kayak, Dad could out-row all of us, gliding along the water like a duck in heaven. Whenever we vacationed, my family would kayak, because we loved it, and because Dad could do it with us.

But having a three year old daughter has kept me from kayaking recently. The last time I kayaked, I was twenty-three weeks pregnant in Mendocino. So getting into a kayak today for the first time in four years gave me a major shot of mojo. I was grinning from ear to ear. It’s been so long that I kinda forgot how to kayak. You’d think it would be like riding a bicycle, but I guess not, because I found myself struggling, dripping water all over myself, paddling in circles, and getting stuck in the reedy bank.

Don't Try So Hard

My hunky guide with the rock hard abs and ripped chest said, “Lissa, you’re putting too much effort into it. Release your grasp on the paddle and don’t try so hard. You’re digging too deep, paddling too hard, flinging that paddle all over the place.” Easy for him to say! If I had muscles like him, I could glide like a bird too. But I was sweating already and we’d barely just begun, so I figured I’d listen to his advice.

He went on, “When you’re kayaking, you don’t need to put much effort into it at all. Just put your oar gently into the water, keep it pretty shallow, and let your oar glide through the water, just like this.” He demonstrated with a graceful, easy stroke that jetted him forward.

Less Efforting= More Forward Motion

So I channeled my inner Pocahontas and imitated his stroke. And damn if the hunky guide wasn’t right. When I efforted less and let my oar glide gently through the water, I moved forward more quickly, and it didn’t hurt my muscles nearly as much. Before you knew it, I got my rowing mojo back and was drifting effortlessly down the river, having a good ol’ time and thinking of Dad.kayak lissa sm

Rowing silently on the peaceful, still river got me thinking about what my guide said. Isn’t life just like that? Isn’t it true that we sometimes put so much energy into efforting that we fail to achieve the ultimate goal? But when you surrender to the flow of life’s river and stop trying so hard, your goal rises up to meet you. I think of my infertile friend who struggled and efforted, trying to get pregnant, one in vitro cycle after another. When she and her husband finally gave up and signed the adoption papers, they conceived on their own. Or my friend who was so desperate to find the right guy that she signed up for every online dating site, suffered through blind dates every chance she got, and put an ad in the personals. Then when she finally gave up and decided she was swearing off dates forever, the perfect guy walked right into her life. Or my unemployed friend who sent out a gazillion resumes, tortured herself with a series of painful interviews, and suffered rejection after rejection. Then, when she finally surrendered and decided she would embrace the opportunity to just enjoy time off, a flood of job offers rolled in. Have you noticed the same thing?

Letting Go of My Book

I’ve recently surrendered the publication of my second book. My first book sold right away- no problem. But not my second one. I finished writing it a year ago, and my literary agent has spent the whole year working her ass off to try to sell it to a publishing company. It’s gone to the top of pub boards (the meetings where all the shirts sit around and decide whether or not they’re going to publish your book) a maddening number of times. Editor after editor has read my manuscript, fallen in love with it, and championed its publication to all the higher ups who fork over the cash and buy the book. Then someone at the top nixes it because I don’t fit neatly into anyone’s box. The book is a memoir about my life. It’s part doctor memoir, part spiritual journey, part girlfriend’s guide. But it doesn’t fit neatly into any one box.

So the marketing gurus don’t know how to sell it. They want me to put on my white coat, get up in my ivory tower, and act more like a doctor. But that’s not what my book is about, and it’s not who I am, so I don’t want to compromise what this book is. It’s been exceedingly frustrating because I believe (and my agent agrees) that the fact that my book doesn’t fit in a box is what makes it great.

But it’s been a year, and my agent can’t find a publisher. So what did I do? I finally surrendered it to Universe.

Why Question The Universe's Plan?

Maybe there’s a really good reason why my book is best left unpublished. Who am I to question the Universe and its destiny for me? So instead, I launched Owning Pink. I figure, if I can’t get my message across through that book, I won’t let it stop me from getting my message to you Pinkies. Since I stopped efforting, all kinds of beautiful things have been happening in my life, flowing in effortlessly. The more I go with the flow and quit struggling to make something happen, the more I attract magic, mystery, and mojo.

How ‘bout you, Pinkies? How are you expending too much energy, sweating and paddling and spinning in circles? Would you be willing to stop efforting and just surrender? Could you believe that if something isn’t happening, it’s because it’s either not supposed to or because you’re struggling too much and just need to release your death grip on whatever you’re trying to achieve? What if you just let it go- releasing it to the Universe and trusting that what is meant to happen will happen? What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?

What do you need to let go of? Can you do it? You just might be surprised how good it feels when you surrender to faith and trust in JABA (Jesus/Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Athena, etc). Let it go, Pinkies, and just go with the flow…

Floating (almost) effortlessly with the flow,
Lissa

Comments

Trish's picture

Debbie, you seem to already

Debbie, you seem to already know how to save you from you! I appreciate your wisdom. You are good at loving others already and willing to put yourself out there. We can all learn from that. Thanks, Trish

Lissa Rankin's picture

Oh, Debbie- this is just

Oh, Debbie- this is just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your prayer. I just wrote it on a slip of paper and put it on my altar. Your words are so wise. We can all benefit from reading and knowing them.

Debbie's picture

Surrender... sweet sweet

Surrender... sweet sweet surrender - only problem is it doesn't feel so sweet when you are trying to do it or just at the figuring it out stage. The more I surrender the more I find that I need to surrender. Even that's okay because I have learned that no matter how long it takes me, when I do get there the rewards are great and I am the healthier, more whole person for it. Sweet! I'm just getting used to the idea of sharing this very personal prayer with people from time to time and share it with you all now. The first time I spoke it I was put under a magnifying glass in the theological world. I got quiet about it. Now I am finding those sharing their innermost self are needing to hear the witness of my very personal prayer. I have been cared for through all times - positive and negative. I am my own worst enemy. I am working on loving myself and learning how that opens me to love others more (which by the way - I always thought I was pretty good at). Therefore, my prayer stands. I'm not really ready for it to become just another slogan or catch phrase but I am ready to surrender that for just even this moment too. So, with all sincerity and I believe very sound theology I share with you and pray: "Save me from Myself"

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Mommy. I miss Dad

Thank you Mommy. I miss Dad so much, and I know you were always so proud to be Mrs. Dr. David Rankin, but I know also that Patricia Rankin is this righteous babe all on her own. Thank you for sharing your wisdom here. I'm so honored that I get to be your kid as I watch you blossom into this next phase of your life. xoxo

trish's picture

Struggles. It's like trying

Struggles. It's like trying to get loose from a rope that has somehow gotten caught around your body. Struggle and it tightens, but surrender ( Ow that awful, wonderful word) and the knot loosens and can be worked ( with effort) loose. I have had one of the ultimate surrenders in the last few years as I give up being a wife. I was one of those women meant to be one, so giving up my dear friend, David my husband and giving up the title role, Mrs. David Rankin, has been the toughest things I 've ever done or perhaps ever will. So what is the good news? Now I know if this is the hardest thing and I feel I've successfully done this, then I can do anything. But time: it takes time. We are an instant society and we want it yesterday. Today I took out a recent widow ( last week) and had lunch and let her talk. I know that is what I needed to do at that stage and she rewarded me with hugs of gratitude. So I have surrendered Mrs. David Rankin and I feel I am beginning to find Patricia Rankin in her stead. I wish none of you this struggle but if you must tread this way, I wish you blessings along the route. I am counting mine.

Omagaz's picture

Nice Blog !

Nice Blog !

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Laura. I've been a

Thank you Laura. I've been a lifelong control freak until just recently. As Rachel Remen says, "Anything I've ever let go of has claw marks on it." But lately, I find that life is just easier and ultimately more rewarding if we quit paddling upstream and just go with the flow.

Laura Cococcia's picture

So glad I've found this site!

So glad I've found this site! I have such a hard time letting go - definite control freak - but I have to remind myself often that I'm only one part of the equation. In fact, I have kayaked a lot in my life and it's one of the things that calms me and helps me let things go! Thanks Lissa - and I'm so glad your book path is unfolding for you (just based on what I read from the above comments).

Lissa Rankin's picture

Dear Janet- The Universe is

Dear Janet- The Universe is funny, eh? Since I wrote this post 2 months ago, I was approached by an editor who had read my original book and pitched a book idea to me. My book proposal got bids from 4 pubishers, but I chose the editor who originally pitched the idea to me (felt like karma- and God's plan). Looking back, the path seems paved just the way it's supposed to be...

Congrats to you, darling! Can't wait to read your book!

Janet Conner's picture

Lissa: I had the identical

Lissa: I had the identical thing happen. My agent believed so strongly in my book on how to heal a heart broken by divorce that she put it out to auction. I have been rejected by the best! She was shocked and I was devastated. But guess what. The story wasn't finished, the big forgiveness miracle hadn't happened. If it had been published then... Instead the universe delivered a contract for Writing Down Your Soul which sold out this year and is being reprinted. So trust that something somewhere is in charge and all is well. Cause it is!

Lissa Rankin's picture

I'm proud of you, Christa! I

I'm proud of you, Christa! I know going with the flow doesn't come easily to you (for that matter- it doesn't come easily for most of us). But yes, what will be will be. Whatever lessons you're meant to learn during this time of transition will be made known to you one day. Big big hugs to you, darling.

Christa's picture

I have surrendered to the

I have surrendered to the housing situation, meaning, if it is meant that my home is to sell, it will. No forcing, wishing or worrying will make it so. I also surrendered, in some part, not all, to not knowing where I will live next. I know I won't be homeless (visualizing myself living in a cardboard refrigerator box at the curb stresses me out) so I move forward, enjoying my day and releasing the hows to JABA (and Capt'n Crunch). :-)

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