Falling Into Surrender
This story, like so many others that I write here, started as a random sequence of events and thoughts that swirled through my mind. At first I don't realise they're related. But in their own good time, they come into formation, like a group of sky-divers, to create something unifying.
Today, that formation is the theme of falling into surrender.
What I mean by that is committing fully to something, particularly an idea or dream... As though you are free-falling... 100% in, no turning back, no thought of fear or failure. It’s a falling into, not a falling off.
So let me now introduce you to the assemblage of thoughts that have been taking joy rides and high altitude dives through my mind these past few days…
Following A Dream...
Well, first up, you know I just started another business – Flowervore – A home floristry business. This represents the manifestation of a lifelong passion and also triumphing a history of why nots. It’s a complete leap of faith, fuelled entirely by an obstinant love, and well, for want of a better word, faith. On paper it doesn’t look like a wise business choice… For many years I’ve tried my best to follow the advice to do only one thing, niche, focus, don’t get distracted, be realistic, be practical, work to live and indulge your true passion and hobbies on the side.
There’s always been another rebellious side to me that truly believes that you CAN have your cake and eat it too… If I’ve had any mission in life, that’s been it.
So the business is launched, marketing underway, offers created, sales made, delivery complete…
But I’ve noticed some incongruity between my internal monologue and my external conversation… Internally I’m saying, this is going to work. This biz is going to rock. I love it AND it’s going to be profitable.
But I’ve caught myself saying to others things like, “Oh it’s just a little side biz”, “It’s not going to be much of a money earner”, “I’m just doing it because it’s fun”… etc.
I didn’t even realise I was doing this until my partner pulled me up and asked why I was even spending time on it, if this is what I truly believed. I got really frustrated and a bit angry. I started defending and justifying. He said he was just trying to help, that he didn’t want to see me overwhelmed.
Eventually, in a highly emotional state, I defiantly stated that I did believe in it, and I felt passionate about it and I was going to make it work.
It was news to him, and when I’d admitted that, he completely changed and said, "Good for you, go for it."
Why was I saying one thing and feeling another? Fear of failure. Rather than declaring commitment to success, it’s easier not to be held accountable… Just incase it doesn’t work out.
Interestingly, since verbally declaring my commitment... Momentum is starting to build this week which is super exciting!
That's the first sky-diver in this formation... Now here's the next...
Learning To Snowboard
Randomly I’ve been thinking lately about when I first learned to snowboard. It was during my time living in Europe in my early 20’s… A couple of years in a row a group of us went to the French Alps and spent a week on the snow during the day, and on schnapps and red wine at night.
That first trip was pretty much spent repainting my body maroon, black and a dark menacing green… I spent more time on my agonised bottom than I did on that board.
The next year I started getting the hang of it.
The turning point came one morning after it had snowed overnight and there was a fresh layer of powder snow over the world. We were first on the slope. A truly magical experience.
We were zooming down... I was still very average… Keeping upright and in forward motion by making wide arcs from one side of the run to the other (irritating skiers no end)…
My French speaking friend who organised the trip each year zoomed past me and said, “Commit to the turn.”
At that point and I was arcing around on my front edge I surrendered my body forward, weight onto my toes. I completed a lovely turn, much tighter than I had done previously. And then after a couple of seconds of suspended animation as my weight balanced evenly on the middle of the board, I shifted onto my back edge and turned in the other direction.
I got it. I had it. And it took a feeling of falling into surrender to achieve it.
Stranded on Mars
Sky-diver number three...
A few days ago I saw the movie: “The Martian” – an new sci-fi thriller starring Matt Damon. He gets stranded on Mars alone after the rest of his crew leave him for dead. He’s left there alone, on a planet devoid of breathable air and with pressure too great for the human body to withstand… And with food to last only a few months (if he rations it and if the space station doesn’t implode or get blown away in one of Mars’s extreme storms… Plus a pile of other seemingly insurmountable variables.)
Can you imagine? I don’t know about you, but when I watch a movie I’m there, completely absorbed. I was Matt Damon, stranded alone on Mars.
He freaked out for a while… But then he started problem solving. Essentially he surrendered to the scenario and then fell in to staying alive.
He didn’t half heartedly say to himself that he’d ration his eating, hope for a miracle or throw his hands up and say oh well I’m going to die. He said. “I’m going to have to science the hell out of this!”
I won’t spoil it for you, or tell you what happens in the end… But for me it was another great example of the power of falling in to surrender… And whether or not he survived is actually beside the point. He gave it his all...
Falling For Fun
And yet one more movie, this time a documentary called Sunshine Superman – about the grandfather of base-jumping… That breathless sport where sky-divers jump off grounded objects like skyscrapers and cliff faces…
I think he was one of those rare people with truly no fear of death and a need to live life to the extreme, but his wife, who looked more like a quiet librarian than an extreme sports person shared his passion. There’s a lot of footage of her calmly running and leaping off a sheer cliff face and then plunging at terminal velocity towards the ground, before being sucked back up by her opened shoot and then calmly fluttering down to the ground like a feather in a summer breeze.
That is something you can’t do half heartedly. You can’t ‘maybe’ jump or ‘just a bit’ jump, or ‘possibly’ jump… You either do it or you don’t. And if you do, you’re literally falling into surrender… And in so doing, you’re achieving something incredible.
A Game of Chance... Are You All In?
Life is one big game… You can either play serious and get upset when you land on Mayfair loaded with hotels and have to sell off Bond and Oxford Street to afford the fee… Or you can have fun with it, act it out like a game of charades, enjoying and giving it your best go.
And that’s not to say it's inauthentic, or phoney, it’s just to say that any game can be played. You may win or lose and that’s beside the point… But if you’re going to play you might as well go all in, have fun and fall in to it completely. Because if you don’t all you’re doing is sitting on the sidelines with a knot in your stomach wishing you had the chutzpah to give it a go.
Now skydiving or base jumping might not be your thing… It’s not mine!!! But something is, and you can either not do it, kind of do it, of take that leap and fall into it with complete surrender, no idea whether you’re going to make it or what will be on the other side.
And you might just find that you glide down the hill, snow billowing around you, fresh alpine air filling your lungs and that achingly beautiful, transporting feeling of being so much more than you ever realised you could be.
Then when you get to the bottom of the slope, glance back up at your trail, give a whoop of excitement and maybe a satisfied punch to the air… You’ll wonder what else you might be capable of. What new game could you try?
Falling into surrender can be the most bold and brave thing you’ll ever do.
>>> Leonie Orton is a writer, editor and marketing communications consultant. She'll create communication mediums in the shape of words, graphics and webs for your business, connecting you with the people who need you. Get in touch byemail, facebook or twitter. And if you're not already signed up for new writings and special offers, get hooked up here.