Surrender: Ask and You Shall Receive

March 22nd, 2012 by Laura Longley

After I returned from New York and had the experience of feeling my wholeness for the first time, I was on a high for weeks.  I was in my authenticity, I knew my purpose, I was inspired in all areas of my life.  Then one day I started feeling grumpy and out of sorts.  I didn’t know what was up for me, but something obviously was.  After a couple of days of this low level grumpiness the feeling escalated to one of despair and desolation.

As I sat at my kitchen table that morning trying to do my daily inspirational reading, a feeling of utter depression and hopelessness swept over me.  It wasn’t attached to any specific thoughts, and I really didn’t know what was going on or what to do about it.  I began to cry uncontrollably – not a common experience for me.  I cried and talked out loud about how bad I felt. In the midst of this I said, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. Help me, please!”  In the moment I didn’t consider this a plea to God; I didn’t know who I was talking to, I was just expressing my misery and feeling of helplessness to feel better.

At that point, some miraculous things immediately began to occur, and continued for the rest of the day.

  • Meditation was part of my morning spiritual practice, and I got up from the table and went to my meditation spot, but I was too agitated to be still. I had been experiencing some heartburn for the previous few days coinciding with the onset of my feelings of grumpiness, as well as a stuffy nose and I decided to look these up in Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life.

Heartburn: “Fear. Fear. Fear. Clutching fear.  I breathe freely and fully. I am safe. I trust the process of life.”

Stuffy Nose: “Not recognizing self-worth. I love and appreciate myself.”

These hit the nail on the head for the core of my misery.  I had been blind-sided by fear of living in my authenticity, by doubt of my wholeness.  I could see that my current emotional state was my ego stepping in and doing its job to (theoretically) protect me.

It was telling me that being my authentic self was scary, that living only from that place of wholeness left me open for attack and hurt.  That who I am wasn’t enough, wasn’t whole and I’d better get back to work on trying to fix that.

  • I came back into the kitchen with the intention of writing in my gratitude journal.  This was also part of my morning ritual, but in my current emotional state I just didn’t feel like doing it.  I went to my computer and opened Facebook and the very first post I saw was from a friend I met at Robert Holden’s happiness coaching certification course in New York the previous month.  It said, “You can’t feel stress when expressing gratitude.”

Message received.  Could there have been a more direct indication that I needed to write in my gratitude journal?  So I did.

  • I had been reading a book called Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein, and decided to finish it.  The very next chapter was all about Gabrielle’s own dark night of the soul. It helped me immensely to read of someone else’s similar experience and to know that I would get through it.
  • I came across that famous quote by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I knew this captured exactly what I was experiencing.  As I was fully owning my wholeness and authenticity and what that meant about who I was in the world and what I had to offer I was running up against my ego who was asking “Who are you to be special? What makes you think you have something of value to offer?”

Again, it was so helpful to know that I was not the only one who had experienced this awful, dark feeling, and to have validated that it really was about my ego stepping in when it thought I was getting too big for my britches.

  • As I went back to Facebook, someone had posted a video of Robert Holden and Tom Carpenter talking about self-image (ego).  Part of the message was to be gentle with yourself when you realize that self-image has created the very situation that is the source of your misery.

These first five “miracles” began immediately after my surrender, my crying out that I didn’t know what to do and needed help, and continued for the next hour or so.  At the end of the day the next miracle occurred.

  • I picked up the mail that had just been delivered and saw there was a greeting card with a postmark in the UK.  This happened the week before Christmas, so I thought it might be a Christmas card and wondered who I knew in the UK.  The handwriting on the envelope looked familiar and reminded me of my sister’s, but she had passed away 8 years earlier, so it couldn’t be from her.

I then realized that it was a card I had written to myself at the happiness coaching course the previous month.  They had given us cards to write to ourselves to be delivered at some time in the future.  I had forgotten all about it!  I’d also forgotten what it was I had written inside it.

I opened the envelope, and the front of the card had a beautiful picture where the predominant color was purple – the color that has come to be my favorite.  The message on the outside said “Trust Yourself.”  On the inside I had written, “Just be yourself.  Everything else will follow.  I love you.  You’re perfect.”

Wow.  That was exactly what I needed to hear that day.  I had been hearing it from various other sources: Louise Hay, Gabrielle Bernstein, Marianne Williamson, but here it was written in my own hand to myself.  How perfect was that?

The miracles that continued to affirm my wholeness and perfection continued into the next day.  I really looked at the message written on my coffee cup for the first time in ages, “Believe. Everything is possible.”  I read the message on my desk calendar for the previous day, “Less Ego + More Love = Greater Success.”  And on and on.

Although I felt better than I had the day before, it took a while before I was back in the place I had been before this “dark day of the ego.”  As I share this experience here with you, I still marvel at the power of surrender, of acknowledging that I don’t know how.  How swiftly help came for me once I let go of trying to do it myself and asked for help.  That is perhaps the greatest lesson I will take from this experience.


4 Responses

  1. sarnak says:

    wow, Laura, what a powerful expression written so beautiifully. I relate to what you wrote very strongly and also grapple with the grip of a strong ego that tries to derail me at every turn. One of my realizations that may be helpful to you is the fact that the ego never goes away, it returns daily and it’s stronghold is tight, especially if we have identified with it so strongly in the past…. the trick is to recognize it for what it is and thank it for being there to protect you, but not to buy in to the negative messages it brings forth. I use this analogy to help me sometimes: sometimes my kitchen is spotless and clean and I bask in the neatness of it all. Next day, as soon as I have dishes piled up, I feel like I am back to square one. Truth is that everyday, there is mess and then we clean up . Similarly, every day our ego is going to come and try and “mess things up”. Our task is to see the ego for what it is and tidy up the mess before it gets out of hand and over takes the cleanliness of the pure ego. In essence, the belief that we can rid ourselves of all the negatiivity and darkness, is in and of itself a trick of the ego to keep us stuck in the darkness. Each day, welcome the ego with gratitude and then send her on her way….. wishing you love and laughter

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I hear what you’re saying, and I like the visualization of a clean/messy kitchen. I do appreciate that the ego will always be there, and in my better moments I can realize that it thinks it is protecting me in some way and be grateful for that role that it plays – even if sometimes overzealously! I like the idea of making a practice of welcoming it with gratitude EVERY day! Thank you for your kindness and good wishes – love, laughter and happiness to you, too!

  2. L Llanos says:

    Laura, thank you for sharing this beautiful experience. I’ve been there too. I guess this is part of our journey. Sometimes, we have to go deep down to spring back up with more strength and appreciation for ourselves and our experiences.

    • It is always so wonderful and helpful to know that others have similar experiences, we’re not alone in our journeys, and that we all get through it! Thank you for connecting and joining around this shared experience. I agree that there are times we have to get down in the muck to be able to rise above it.

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