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The Gift of Surrender


As we come into the new year, and especially with the added energy of a new decade, it can be easy to feel like you should be making resolutions, setting goals and planning what you want for the future while making grand commitments of renewed discipline, increased motivation and improved health & wellbeing that largely dissipate by February.

Getting clear on your goals and intentions is certainly a worthy, and at times useful, activity but what if you could just take a deep breath and surrender to the universe and all it has in store for you?

This is my only intention for 2020.

For the past decade I have most often operated from a place of trying to control all the things that happen in my life. Coming from the mind with a sense of attachment to certain outcomes being good and others bad. Yet, when I look back, it was the decisions I made based on a gut feeling, surrendered to whatever they would bring, that were the most fruitful and life changing. It was the decisions that didn’t necessarily make sense in the mind but felt right in my body none the less. Like going to China on my own to train in a martial art that I had never done before on top of a sacred mountain, 24 hours by train from Beijing. The decision to go to Wudang Mountain was still one of the best of the decade for me.

It was the decisions I made where I was not attached to a certain outcome, where life was the most delightful and surprising. Where I let go of the reigns enough to actually discover and experience what was happening in the moment. Like starting a business with someone I had never met in person before but trusting that it felt good and right in my body.

To fully and genuinely surrender can be a real challenge. We are taught that with mental fortitude and careful planning we can achieve our dreams. But what if our dreams are an ever evolving force of our deepest desires as well as that which we can never know in advance.

If you could choose to know everything that was ever going to happen in your life, would you? One of the greatest joys of life is not knowing what is around the corner. It is also one of the greatest challenges. When we are pleasantly surprised by life, we are able to access gratitude and trust in its unfolding. However, when we are challenged, we want to find something to blame, and often try to hold on even tighter to control to make sure nothing like that happens again.

What if you could surrender deeply, even when things don’t work out how you had hoped or planned?

Through working with Chantelle and the Embodied Awakening Academy I have been learning to live life more from the surrendered feminine. This means trusting my intuition, following my joy, and allowing life to create and manifest itself through me. I still notice how much I have been hard wired for the masculine approach of goal setting, discipline and mental/physical fortitude, as it still takes a conscious leap of faith, a remembering of my commitment to the feminine and a deep breath to come back to surrender.

When I live in a more feminine, surrendered way, I start to see the perfection of all that happens. When you live this way, I promise, life will open up for you.

18 months ago, I was in a place of complete resistance to surrender. I know in every part of my being that I needed to leave the business I had worked so hard for and find a new direction for my life. Chantelle and I, over many sessions, worked through this resistance. I felt I had a duty to stick it out. To make sure that all the loose ends were tied up before I left. I wanted to control every aspect of my departure so that it would cause no harm or inconvenience to others. Neither Chantelle nor I could say what would happen when I left the business. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what the next steps were. I didn’t have a plan. I had gone through life step by step from primary school, to high school, to a gap year, to university, to a job. Each time, the next step was clear to me, and then all of a sudden, life threw me a curveball and I had no idea what to do next. My body refused to work. I had to surrender. Completely. It was petrifying and, yet, it was also such a relief. To allow my body to relax, to stop trying to control everything and to allow a moments pause and reset before the next step.

I had to take a leap of faith. I had to gently let my rational, masculine mind take a back seat and allow my intuitive, inspired mind to lead for a while. What followed, I could never have anticipated or imagined. Life unfolded in beautiful and unexpected ways since I took that leap of faith. I now work as a Tantra practitioner, have toured my own solo dance show and run workshops around the world, and have been delighted and surprised by my travels and adventures.

So as we move into a new year, a new decade, a new day, I ask if you would like to do an experiment with me?

What if for 2020 we try a new approach and discover what happens if we really surrender to what life is showing us.

This means more time quietening the mind to allow divine inspiration to flow through. This means following the unexpected occurrences of life that are nudging us in new directions, if only we would listen. This means letting go of mental and emotional attachments and resistances. This means surrendering and saying yes to what is actually presenting itself from life right now, in this very moment. It means following the signs into the unknown.

It also means doing the spiritual work to quiet the mind. It means understanding the different energetics between using the mind to control or scare you into action and using the mind in a more useful way to listen, to discern and to attune to what life is truly offering you. Its means using the mind to find inspired solutions. The quieter the mind, the more it opens to universal intuition and flow coming through.

For me, 2020 is going to have a lot of travel and adventure, and already I can feel myself trying to control how this unfolds or noticing attachments to going to certain places and experiencing certain outcomes. I feel myself going into the resistance (e.g. Where will I find the money?)and control (e.g. I want to book every single flight for the year NOW so I know what I am doing). But, I will compassionately come back to my intention to surrender and remember that life takes care of everything if I stop trying to control it.

Are you with me?

In the following part of the blog, Chantelle shares some deep wisdom about surrender and receptivity and surrender and the unknown from the EAA manual.

We from the Embodied Awakening Academy wish you all a beautiful transition into 2020, full of abundance and love, and are looking forward to working with you in the new year, whenever and wherever that may be.

With Love, Xx Erin

EAA Practitioner and Teacher

Surrender and Receptivity

Receptivity is not something you are doing; rather, you are leaving your ‘doing’ behind—you are receiving.

Love is not to be taken; it is to be received.  And receptivity is not active, it is passive.  Love is already here!  You just have to relax and receive it.

To be receptive, it requires letting go, relaxing into openness and trusting love.  It means dropping your guard, releasing tension and resistance, breathing fully and opening like a flower, undefended and with your body.  If you are sad or happy, the practise of surrender is to remain open and full, like the ocean.

Your mind is trained for activity—to achieve, to do, to ‘get’.  Stop ‘doing’, just receive.  This is what passivity means in a context of sacred sexuality: allow love to enter you—through your body, through your heart.

Sometimes love is not even attached to a person.  It is a force that you can simply open to.   Sometimes it will be alive in nature, in a person, in a piece of music.  Can you be passive and just surrender to the love that is around you in any given moment?  You don’t need to actively do something.  You just need to receive without control or interference.  Nothing is wrong with passivity, but the attitude of modern culture is that we have to be active about everything, even love.  Passivity and receptivity can be likened to a meditative state.  Meditation means not doing, but just allowing whatever is flowing to flow.  The level to which you can slow down and receive outof the bedroom is the level to which you will be able to slow down and receive inthe bedroom.

There is nothing wrong with activity, just like there is nothing wrong with passivity.  The idea is to apply them to the appropriate situation. Be more active when you are wanting to initiate lovemaking, worship your beloved and help him/her to surrender.  Or, more obviously, if you are wanting to achieve a goal, get things done, go somewhere or organise activities and finances.

Practise passivity if you are moving into a state of meditation, into Being, into receptivity and into surrender.

In the beginning of lovemaking there is always more activity, then a moment comes when activity can cease, and you can be passive, receptive and just surrender.  This is where you enter a meditative state.  You are not doing anything, you are passive—waiting, allowing, breathing, feeling your body, trusting and entering the mystery. You do not know what is going to happen next and you are not trying to make anything happen.  Your body is still moving and responding but the mind is quiet, you are just simply in the moment.

Surrender is about emptying yourself, not doing anything, not believing your thoughts and not following them because that which you are trying to discover is already here.  When we stop believing our thoughts, when we stop trying to get somewhere, our mind becomes spacious, and it is in this spaciousness that we can get in touch with our soul.  If you are always active and moving towards something, you don’t give anyone a chance to move towards you.  Stop.  Relax.  Still the mind.  Open to receiving.

Surrender and the Unknown

When you surrender to life or you surrender to someone in lovemaking, you do not know what is going to happen or how this person is going to engage with you—surrender is always to the unknown.  When everything is known, there is no surrender.  Your mind knows what the result will be, but only in the uncertainty, in the unknown, can we find surrender.

In other words, to surrender, you cannot do anything to create 100% certainty in the result; it will remain unknown.  For instance, you could create your result by telling your partner exactly what to do in every single moment during love-making, so you know what will happen at each exact moment, but that won’t remain enjoyable for long, for either yourself or your partner!  It will turn into sexual robotics.  The same example can be applied to any situation in life—that’s what is so exciting about taking risks, going travelling or an adventure, or starting a new opportunity—there’s excitement in the surrender to the unknown.

It can be difficult or downright frightening to surrender and relinquish control.  Some people may find the feeling of surrender so life-threatening that they control as many aspects of their life as they can, causing anxiety in situations out of their control or they avoid the situation all together.  So, surrender can shine a light on where you hold on tightly and create suffering and misery as a result.  Ultimately, you cannot control anything—something could happen at any split moment in any situation.  Practising surrender will help you, one day, to give up the illusion of control and enjoy the exciting ride that life has to offer.

So, in relation to the bedroom, many women say to me, ‘I want to surrender, but I don’t trust him.’ That is not the point as there’s control in whoto surrender to. He or she may not be there next week, or they may not be as authentic, or enlightened as you originally thought, or they may let you down—it is irrelevant.  Surrender is completely up to you—release the mind and its desire to control and you fall into a state of vulnerability and openness.  You become the feminine principle of receptivity and surrender; the unhealthy ego is lost, and you have say to the unknown: ‘Take me, I’m yours’.

You may be surprised what is possible with surrender.  Leave it to the experience itself—YOU cannot do anything!  However, your boundaries and safety are priority—put yourself first! So, please note that the difference between being surrendered and being subservient is that subservience knows no boundaries; surrender does.  So, remember the teachings covered in Chapter 6 and always have your healthy boundaries!

Surrender and Trust

Do you trust life enough to fully open to whatever it dishes up?

Hearing women talk of some of their experiences with men and from some of my own experiences with men, I can understand women’s mistrust.  And while men may not talk about it so much, they also have had their experiences with chaotic, crazy women which they have had to protect themselves against.  I can understand why both sexes are hesitant to open themselves wide open, to trust and surrender our heart and body to another. The fearful thoughts of ‘What if s/he leaves me?’  ‘What if s/he takes advantage of me?’  ‘What if s/he betrays me?’can be present, but remember, surrender is not dependent on anyone else but yourself.  You just need to trust yourself to surrender to the unknown.  We never really know if we can trust someone.

Anything can happen at any time and people are capable of all kinds of deceit.  There comes a time when we just need to let go of the past and let ourselves surrender to this moment.  There comes a time when we decide to surrender and trust even though we may get hurt.  There comes a time when we respond to our deep yearning to open to love’s gifts without the tension of mistrust.

Men, ask yourself how amazing would it be to feel your woman’s deep trust and surrender?  How would it be to allow yourself to surrender in this way?

Women, ask yourself how deeply do you long to surrender fully with a man? Your man wants to receive your feminine love.  He wants you to trust his sexuality and direction more than your own.  He wants you to acknowledge, trust and worship his capacity to spiritually and sexually ravish you open in the same way that you want him to notice and worship your body’s radiant beauty, listen to you and give you his heart-centred communication.

This devotion between two bodies ultimately means that she can be opened by his penetrative love much more than by her own active efforts, and he is opened by being drawn into her deep heart much more than his masculine impulses (to withdraw or ‘cave out’) would otherwise allow him.

Are you willing to let go of control and give your beloved the chance to truly love you without letting your barriers of protection get in the way?  It takes practice to surrender, trust and deepen beyond fear.  Are you willing to practise opening, instead of closing?  True intimacy requires this surrender.

Are you ready to live and love beyond the personality and beyond the mind?  Are you ready to trust deep masculine presence and the open radiant feminine?  Are you ready to open beyond your armour of protection, to receive the gifts of love and surrender?  Welcome to Tantra.

When you are ready to embrace the practice of Tantra, you will be ready to trust a man’s depth of masculine presence and a woman’s open-hearted and open-bodied devotion.  Her trust inspires his devoted presence which allows her to open to him.  Her loving surrender inspires him to open his own heart in surrender.  The energies are naturally reciprocal.

           – Excerpt from the Sacred Sexuality Online Course Manual by Chantelle Raven

To find out more about the EAA Sacred Sexuality Online Course CLICK HERE.

Picture of Erin Fowler

Erin Fowler

Erin is immersed in the feminine arts. She is an award winning dancer/choreographer and musician and her creative work includes the internationally toured solo dance work FEMME which explores femininity and the pressures of being a woman in the modern age and, the environmental dance film GAIA (www.gaiadancefilm.com) in which she embodies Gaia, the earth goddess. She teaches embodied movement to actors at a tertiary level and has studied Daoist martial arts in Wudangshan, China on numerous occasions. Her holistic work includes teaching Qoya as well as facilitating women's circles, mother blessings and other sacred gatherings. Her theatrical background invites a sense of richness and creativity in the spaces she holds. She also works closely with the Eliyah Tantra School in Australia and is the Temple Dance Facilitator for many of their retreats.