Surrendering to win

There’s a saying in recovery circles that you have to surrender to win. Throughout my journey of recovery, I’ve found that most of the things I have learned which work in my life are counter-intuitive to me. It was me, and only me, after all, who ended up needing to be in recovery. So it kinda makes sense that I would need some help which does not come from me in order to recover, surrendering that which I know in order to discover what I don’t.

The last month has been challenging, to say the least. After Tyrhone’s paramotor engine blew, we waited for his instructor to diagnose the issue. The piston had blown and we needed a new one. We wired money to Spain, where the manufacturer is, but since it was Easter, the money took almost a week to clear. It was a substantial amount, seeing as we had to ship via DHL, and a stressful wait while we hoped like hell we had sent it to the correct account.

After not hearing anything for a week, Tyrhone’s Mum in the UK phoned the company and paid an outstanding fee which remained on the order (which we didn’t know about). We were told the parts were in the mail. As our lease was up on the 24th, we extended for a week while we waited for the parts to be delivered to the instructor’s house just outside Antigua. They were delivered Friday, but the instructor was away for the weekend and had to pick them up from the depot on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, we were told they had sent the wrong part. And that, friends was one of many straws that broke the Camel’s back.

To say we have been stressed of late would be an understatement. It wasn’t only the recent mis-haps and delays but multiple misunderstandings, mis-information and miscommunications which are too numerous to go into. A lot of ‘misses’ that added up to a huge ball of anxiety, resentment and frustration which we have been taking it in turns to hold before tossing it back to the other in a decidedly unenjoyable game of ‘pass me the stress ball because I just can’t quite get enough of it!’

I can see why it is not an Olympic sport because, take it from me, it ain’t any fun to watch (despite the awesome name). And it could also quite possibly be because no-one wants to see a gold medal winner have a massive coronary on the podium.

In an attempt to try and rid ourselves from negativity, we have tried all sorts of things. Brainstorming, rationalizing, future-planning, gratitude and Parks and Recreation marathons. Some of them worked a bit and some, (I’m looking at you, Leslie Knope) worked a lot, but we found ourselves still coming back to the stress of things not going our way and trying like hell to enact some sort of change which would make us feel better about things.

Today, when our hopes of a near resolution were dashed again, a funny thing happened.

We were really pissed.

Then, we laughed. We looked at each other and knew being angry, again, at people, places and things wasn’t working. It hadn’t been working for a while and it had never actually worked.

I am always amazed by Tyrhone’s ability to self-regulate his attitude and outlook.

I need to pray morning, noon and night, go to at least three meetings a week, have a sponsor and work steps and all that just to function as a normal (okay, that’s debatable) human being who is not riddled with fear, self-pity and resentment (and, let’s face it, that doesn’t always seal the deal for me).

Yet, he comes up with this stuff on his own.

Which further reinforces to me that often, the most spiritual people are the ones who shudder at the word (he does).

After getting ‘the news’ that we were back at square one today, we had the discussion that changed everything, about the fact that we couldn’t change anything, except our perception of the situation.

We gave in to our powerlessness of being in Central America and not being able to pop down to the store to get a part. We accepted that mistakes are made by everyone, that we have tried our best, and that all of the things that have happened have had a silver lining of some sort, despite taking their toll on us financially, mentally and emotionally.

Carrying out an emergency landing means that Tyrhone has some valuable experience with it now. He is also more cautious about where he flies and weather conditions. Plus, he has been forced to do more ground handling which are skills that will only make him a better pilot in the long-run.

I have learned, through a lot of tears and tantrums, to be a slightly less selfish and more supportive partner to Tyrhone.

He really does deserve that and has loved me through more breakdowns and melt-downs than most people would.

Thanks to coming up against my own ego multiple times on this journey, I have also learned, yet again, that I must surrender to ‘what is’ rather than ‘what I think I would like that day’ because if history has taught me anything it is that I do not in fact know what is best for me. I am much better off leaving that job to the power which grows the trees and changes the tides and turns the Earth and does so without my help, direction or input on how it could be done better.

We both surrendered to it all today.

We each have our own, very different methods of doing so, but both seem to work. I surrender to a Higher Power who I trust to guide and direct me in spite of my own selfish desires, and Tyrhone employs logic to realise that trying to control the uncontrollable is a complete waste of energy and a one-way ticket to miserable-dome.

We both think that being grateful for what we have and speaking it out loud does wonders for our perspective and both firmly believe that Parks and Recreation is television Prozac and should be administered regularly, so maybe we do share some methods.

Today we extended the lease on our apartment for a few more weeks and have a few options of what we will do when the engine is fixed, but each day brings a new plan or idea, so we won’t actually know what we are doing until the time comes.

We’ve surrendered to the chaos of this crazy, unpredictable, challenging journey, and the reality of it rather than our initial idealized version. And as a result, we’ve won. We’ve won back our sense of humour, our positive perspective and our love for each other. We’ve won back our gratitude for the blessed life we lead and the knowledge that whatever path we take, it will be the one which is meant for us.



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Surrendering to win — 15 Comments

  1. I’m going to try and hide my usually comments here to make it a bit more interesting for you…
    Blooming eck! Life is frustrating sometimes ain’t it? great post
    Think if I was in Tyrhone’s shoes and I could no longer fly that would annoy me too, it always seemed to distress Superman when he lost his powers love the honesty.

    I think we sometimes forget that we aren’t in control of every detail of our lives. We freak out when something goes wrong, it reminds us that we can’t control everything. But I am glad you managed to let go and have a giggle!
    Rob recently posted..“I FUCKING HATE IT HERE!!” – Tales of a grumpy travellerMy Profile

  2. Wow, I can sense the long exhale and subsequent laugh as you surrender to what is. Huge bummer about the engine part! So effing hard to accept the “it is what it is”, isn’t it? I’m just not there yet even though the logic makes sense. Just when I think that today’s the day I will accept whatever is going on and not tense up with frustration, my emotions get the better of me. Argh!

    But reading your post gives me hope, and I’m glad to hear you’re both finding the silver linings in all the challenges. I hope there are less “misses” and more favorable circumstances very soon for you two, starting with getting that engine fixed! Sending love, my friend!
    Sam recently posted..The Little ThingsMy Profile

    • Hi Sam, even after this initial letting go, we have both drifted in and out of worry, stress and fear, then have to let go again, and this happens over and over! It’s really weird. So don’t worry, we can only have the realizations we are able to have, and do our best to put one foot in front of the other in the mean time. You are a trooper and I am sending you lots of love! xoxo

  3. I read somewhere that travelling in India is like swimming in the ocean. If you stand against the waves, you’ll get knocked over, but if you submit to them and dive under, then you’ll come out the other side refreshed but unscathed. I think this can be applied to travel generally.
    Tim | UrbanDuniya recently posted..Chinese in Lahore: Yum? Yes it is!My Profile

    • Great analogy, Tim. I think not only travel, but life, is like that! A great wave that guides us, pushes us in different directions and sometimes crashes upon us! We try to grasp for all sorts of devices like floaties and surfbords and sometimes motor-boats to try to survive, but often all we need to do it let go and ride the wave. Sorry, I couldn’t help but want to add my piece to that great analogy!

  4. Preach it, Sarah! I LOVE that Joseph Campbell quote so much—it has pulled me through so many rough times when I felt my life was falling apart and I didn’t know how I could go on, how I could take another step. Sometimes there is so much power to be found in letting go, in giving in, in ceasing to fight a battle you cannot win but understanding you will make it through to the other side some how. As we face the end of our trip, I have been struggling so much to change things into the way I want them to be, rather than focusing on embracing the change that is happening whether I like it or not. It has been exhausting… but some time in the last week or so, I’ve felt a shift, and something inside me has finally caved and I’m feeling so much peace now.

    Also, Leslie is awesome and all, but sometimes I think what I really need is Ron Swanson! He is wise beyond belief! (Anyone who loves bacon that much clearly knows what is up!)
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Searching for Something Special in Luang PrabangMy Profile

    • Yes, I can relate to that peaceful shift, it is such a relief! During my recent surrender it felt like a real life miracle that I could feel so peaceful!! Of course, my ego came and crashed the party eventually, but that is life.

      Oh dude, I was SO close to including a Swanson quote. The one where he tells Leslie that future plans are like plans for a house, good to have but any builder worth their weight knows the house will turn out differently.

      He then turned to her and said, “A year or two years from now, you’ll be somewhere else. So just enjoy where you are right now.”

      Tyrhone and I turned to each other with mouths agape, as though he was SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO US! The Swanson wisdom is simple yet powerful! Glad you share a love of the great moustached man :-)

  5. I can totally relate to what you are saying Sarah. I have just come to realize in the last couple of months what you so eloquently wrote in this post. Surrender indeed:) I know I feel so much better for it. We are going through a lot of unexpected frustration and we have just started traveling, grrrrrrr. Reading this today helped me remember what I needed to do the last time I felt this way. Thanks Sarah:)
    Tracey recently posted..Seeing Miami: Miami Open City TourMy Profile