The Gift of Surrender

One of my friends showed up at my birthday party last month wearing a thumb ring etched with this: “She gave it all to God.”

What a beautiful, spiritual expression of surrender. I knew I had to own one.

While in past years I’ve set a tone in January with very specific goals carefully written out or words like “bold” as my theme (still a fave, by the way), I knew the biggest thing I needed to work on in 2013 was my ability to give myself over to circumstance. I tend to be very directed, ambitious and, yes, in need of controlling things whenever and wherever possible.

Who’s with me? Spinning. Moving from one thing to the next without taking a breath. I write a lot about living in the moment, often because I need to regularly remind myself to do so.

So when I began clearing my throat a lot one recent evening and it escalated to a cough the next day, I knew I was getting sick. So many bugs are going around. It began on a Thursday and by Saturday it was a cough and a headache. By Sunday it was a fever with lots of chills.

But here’s what I noticed was missing: my little judgment censor telling me what a weak and vulnerable individual I was for getting sick. Seriously, this is where my mind would have immediately gone in the past. Stubborn little soul who thinks she’s supposed to be sub-human and above such maladies. And oh what an inconvenience to boot.

That voice didn’t rear up at all. I almost didn’t know how to be with that, but I relaxed into and it and yes, surrendered to whatever was going on with my body.

The result – me lying on my couch with a plush throw for much of the weekend. Friday morning I cancelled dinner plans and napped much of the day. And here’s where it’s different from before – I did so without giving it a thought. I kept joking with friends that I was feeling pretty Zen for a sick person.

I suppose I’ve come to a place in my life where I see picking up a bug as a call to stillness. And, I’m happy to say, I’m finally heeding that call. My body is asking me to pause. OK, then.

So amidst the tea and chicken soup and feeling so weak I didn’t want to move, I watched the NFL playoffs and enjoyed riveting competition. I marveled at 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and went on to read the story of how he wrote himself a letter in the fourth grade that he was going to play for the Niners or the Packers. Hello, manifestation. I know, lots of boys say they’re going to be the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but this one has such an irresistible storybook quality.

In the wee hours there was the compelling film “Coco Before Chanel” and less than 24 hours later there was Anne Hathaway dazzling in Chanel at the Golden Globes. There was Super Soul Sunday on OWN, where Oprah Winfrey and author/philosopher Jean Houston discussed “The Wizard of Oz” and the universal theme of ‘you had the answer all along.’

All of this, all of it, got my blood pumping. This time of year -- between the fresh start, the leadup to the Super Bowl, and awards season for our entertainment community -- always feels so inspiring. The backup quarterback who steps into the spotlight. The 20-something woman who’s making her mark in television. The seasoned actress who’s still admittedly insecure even as she holds the statuette.

Marvelous. The stillness, albeit the kind spent watching TV, was feeding my soul.

One of my biggest takeaways of the weekend was another part of the discussion between Winfrey and Houston. They talked about the concept of “the hero’s journey” put forth by writer Joseph Campbell (he is best known for saying, “Follow your bliss.”). He posited that most of our great myths follow a similar pattern and it begins with the call to adventure. These two accomplished women discussed their respective calls to adventure, strong gut feelings that they felt they needed to follow at one point in their lives, and did.

It had me thinking about mine. And what about yours? Did you heed the call? Or refuse it? How did that set your course?

So much of what I described at the top of this column, my driven self, stems from answering calls to adventure. It can be heady or obsessive or fulfilling. It can be all of those, really. Surrendering to circumstance like sickness along the way feels, ironically, blissfully healthy.

My ring is on order. It feels like the perfect expression of the surrender that I’m so trying to get acquainted with in 2013.

Off to a good start.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to