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Surrender ~ A Gift of Aging

August 30, 2013

“Surrender is the simple yet profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”

Eckhart Tolle

After a long day working on the re-write of my book Caring for Mom, I logged onto Facebook to see what was going on among my friends on the Aging Abundantly page and elsewhere. The above quote by Eckart Tolle, posted by one of my favorite posters and pages, Rena Hatch of Beyond Stuck,  jumped out at me from my news feed. Surrender is a concept that sums up just about everything I’ve learned over the last decade. To me, it is the very essence and gift of the aging process.

Advancing years have a way of forcing our surrender, most especially the surrender of our ego. In writing and thinking about my experiences during the last years of my mother’s life, now more than ten years later, I realize I faced a plethora of choices that required the surrender of my ego. In dealing with my siblings, who wanted something different for my mother’s care than I did, I had to choose whether or not to go to battle for my cause. Part of me wanted to wage the war, to plead my case and win the approval of my four siblings and free my mother from the bondage I believed she was in.

When I looked beyond the surface, and the ego-bumping-ego of family conversations, I realized that the bondage my mother found herself in was of her own choosing, and something that I could not fix.  It was her wounded ego or low self-esteem that got her where she was. A change of scenery would only be a stop-gap and a temporary fix before her festering emotional wounds would appear again in a different way. Once I surrendered my need to be right I began to see things from a broader perspective.

Two things came to light. First, maintaining peace among the siblings, I believed, would serve the higher good and mean more to my mother in the long run than the potential outcome of pitting sibling against sibling. Secondly, I had to accept the fact that I could not make my mother happy. I could not heal her wounded ego or repair the low self-esteem that led her to deem herself powerless throughout her life.   In this situation I chose to “yield to the flow of life” and allow all that had transpired in that situation to inform my own self-perception and future choices.

Our ego, or self-esteem, comes into play in difficult situations and if we carry a wounded ego it can wreak havoc on our lives. When we operate and make decisions from an ego-based position, we are not seeing the whole picture. In the popular “do something” culture, we often overlook the value of surrender, of stepping outside of the ego. We also miss the opportunity to see and experience that surrender can actually be a step toward a healthier ego and improved self-esteem.

©Dorothy Sander 2013

Eckhart Tolle

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2013 11:56 am

    one of your best posts Dorothy and they are all good. Loved this, so reflects how I experience this time of life

  2. September 1, 2013 1:39 pm

    Great post. Surrender and acceptance are the things that can get us through difficult times. It seems to me it’s what the whole world needs.

  3. September 4, 2013 10:12 pm

    This is exactly the same struggle my brother and sister and I are having regarding our mother except I believe we’ve all agreed to let things play out as they will. The lesson I’ve learned as I’ve watched my parents inch towards ninety is that I want to go there with a joyful and thankful heart. I want to give until I can no longer give even if its only a big smile and an encouraging word. I do not want to fight the inevitable but find the blessings aging brings. Great piece. Thank you.

    • September 4, 2013 11:09 pm

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hear what you are saying. How our parents live and die can give us a broader perspective on our own lives, influencing our choices for a long time.

  4. September 26, 2013 1:51 am

    Oh Dorothy, I am honored that I am one of your favorite Facebook posters/pages! What a compliment! This post is relevant to so many aspects of life.
    For me it seems that life keeps giving me challenges which are just opportunities to soften into the flow and surrendering to whatever has shown up.
    I really resonate with your words … “by choosing to ‘yield to the flow of life’ and allow all that had transpired in that situation to inform my own self-perception and future choices.”
    When we surrender and trust in the flow of life it truly has a positive influence on our self-perception and future choices.

    Love it! Warm wishes, ~Rena of Beyond Stuck 😉

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