Chapter 1 / Sharing Stories

The practice of surrendering

Words: Courtney Chew
Photography: Desmond Centro

Every day we take inspiration from Nature. With presence, observation and awareness, we can give ourselves the opportunity to witness how the natural earth seamlessly collaborates and creates with its environment to create beauty, a symbiotic ecosystem, and life. Through this, we are given moments of reflection, of gratitude, and of learnings about the world and how we choose to exist with and within it. 

Below is a note on a lesson I've learned that I constantly think about, inspired by the fascination I have with water and the oceans that connect us. There's something about the duality of its energy and function as a source of both life and play, that I find wonderful and exciting, grounding and calming, and also vulnerable and scary all at the same time. This note reflects on the vulnerability element and specifically the practice of surrendering – of letting go, giving in, and truly being, like water in the ocean. Maybe these words prompt a reflection of your own connection to what's around you and what inspires you. If anything, maybe it will act as a gentle reminder that its in the [layered] simplicity of being present that we give ourselves the chance to go within and think expansively – to be courageous and humble, to redefine boundaries, shift perspectives, challenge stuck standards, and evolve as humans and how we choose to just be

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the practice of surrendering is to be like water in the ocean.

in flow with its surroundings not sticky
not stuck   
but embracing the shifts and adapting to the shapes and the forms that come your way. 

there’s fear in the surrendering. 
because it means you have to be completely vulnerable. 
open in all ways to the most you can be. 
open to all things that might come from the surrendering. to be completely honest and not withholding; even with yourself. 

there’s fear because it means you cannot be in control. 

It’s a dance between the mind and the body and the heart. easier for some than others. 
harder for many. 
often a discovery that one is utilized more than the others. sometimes bringing along with it a test of how you believe you are, your values, your character. 
raising questions of who are you when you feel lost. 
when things are truly hard for you. 
when you feel like you don’t know where to go next. 

the deepest reflection of yourself. 

it’s a practice of welcoming and sitting gently 
between the known and the unknown. 
your feminine and your masculine energies – 
no matter how uncomfortable it may be. 
no matter how much hurt or pain you are in. 
no matter the heartbreak or the hardship. 
no matter how much uncertainty or confusion there is.
no matter how right or how wrong something seems.

because even in the deepest dark there is light. 
there’s always a yin to the yang. 
life is full of choices and it’s the hard ones that feel paralyzing. devastating. 
but you‘ll always come out of the other side, changed for the better, stronger,
with new perspectives, new learnings, a new profound connection to hope and fear. a remembrance that nothing is permanent. it’s just about finding the courage to commit here and now. 

a trust to the process. because through the process you will discover what you’re needing to. 

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the practice of surrendering is to be like water in the ocean. 

it’s to let go and fully give in to what is happening for you and remove the lens of what is happening to you. 
to see what the universe is trying to show you –
something bigger than yourself. bigger than right now. 
that everything has its place, 
and where you sit amongst everything. 
it’s an opportunity to teach you about yourself. 
learn about yourself. 
heal yourself. 
connect deeper with yourself.

here you learn to feel in your body and in your soul. 
you learn to lean into and sit with the sensations without having to try and make sense of it all. 
to connect with your intuition.  

to understand that this moment or this time is a part of a larger picture. that it doesn’t have to be all that you’re making it to be. that in the end it will all be okay. everything will be okay. you will be okay. 

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when you’re in a place of deep surrender, the motions that come out of it will eventually inspire a stillness and a peace that just washes over you. it inspires a confidence in you that eventually shows it’s power. it shows you how to be gentle with yourself and accept all that’s to come with ease and generosity.

it rolls off you like rain droplets 
sliding down a glass window. 


because you know it’s in this place that you are also in your truth. when you’ve completely given in to the experience or the feeling or the process or the journey, you have no choice but to just be. 

to be who you are to be. 
and to be for yourself first. 

to act when you feel like you are completely yourself, 
is to make choices for yourself. 
not for others or for the opinions of others. 

and by being in your truth, no matter how scary it might be, or how selfish it may seem, it’s a layer of selfishness that hopefully prompts a more aware and deeper selflessness, with the power to encourage others to see you and respond to you in their truth as well. 

in flow 

and although the practice of surrendering seems lonely and alone. it’s not. 

we ebb and expand and evolve together. 

like water in the ocean.