Surrendering is safe.
Working intuitively with patients all over the globe, I’ve learned a lot about loss, grief and healing.
I can say for a fact that what heals people in real life contrasts quite vividly to what I *learned* about grief and healing in med school.
I still remember being in medical school and learning all about the classic model of the grief process, set forth by the amazing and brave Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:
D A B D A
(I’m sure many of my readers, who are also healers, are familiar with this acronym:)
D â€” denial
A â€” anger
B â€” bargaining
D â€” depression
A â€” acceptance
We learned in our training how patients go through this grieving process in any order, and may take as long as necessary in each phase before coming through to acceptance of the loss.
What I have found though, is that this model does not serve us very well.
Yes, I could describe *some* of what patients experience in DABDA terms.
- â€œDenialâ€ surfaces in the surreal feeling of not quite being able to wrap your mind around an unwanted event that is happening.
- I see a glimmer of the other phases at different times as well — some healthy, justified anger… some moments of raw dark depression — but I never quite felt that DABDA captured the true essence of what healing is all about nor do I feel the final term of â€œacceptanceâ€ really capture the true beauty in the end result of the healing process… that often the patient is stronger and happier and more centered than ever before.
- DABDA ignores the fact there are so many gifts along the path of healing… moments of breathtaking beauty, of love, of rawness, of support, of gratitude, all swirled into the moments of hurt, of ugly, of anxiety, of fear.
I began to identify a new way to think about the grieving process, one that serves us better…
…one that felt more accurate to my own personal experiences and the experiences of the patients I’ve worked with.
The new paradigm, for me, looks more like this:
Resistance â€”> Surrender
Not moving randomly through the 5 phases of DABDA, but moving systematically from resistance to surrender.
The sense of denial one typically feels in the beginning of a health challenge is pure resistance:
â€œThis can not (or should not) be happening.â€
Interspersed with sobering moments of:
â€œYes, I can do this, I will do this, this *is* happeningâ€
…and what I notice is that each time patients surrender to what is actually happening, hope immediately returns.
Then a backwards step into resistance, but then three more towards surrendering to the flow of what is unfolding.
In fact, needing to control the process is actually just a normal reaction to trauma, a PTSD coping mechanism that allows us to attempt to regain our footing. There is nothing wrong with the impluse to try to take control in order to cope, it means that we are in the midst of change that is overwhelming us and we are responding.
But the real growth comes when we no longer need to control the process. Letting go of the need to control is a huge triumph in the healing process and a major step in releasing PTSD patterns we may have created when facing the initial trauma.
From the book Oneness, by Rasha:
“The key to maximizing the pace of your progress lies in the degree to which you are able to let go and cease directing the scenarios of your drama.
Allow life to unfold for you.
And consider the possibility that your best interests are best served by a level of awareness that transcends your conscious mind.”
- I know that personally, for me, every single time I’ve taken a step backwards in the healing process it is because I am resisting it or trying to control it.
- And every single time I’ve ever taken a huge leap in the healing process, it is because I was surrendering to the transformation and ALLOWING IT TO BE something more beautiful than had ever stood in it’s place before.
The ugliest messes have a way of being the most necessary, meaningful, healing experiences possible.
And even when our gut is screaming:
â€œno, no, no, no, NO!â€
… the entire time, our soul is singing:
â€œyes, yes, yes, yes, YES!â€
and surrender happens.
And healing happens.
And growth happens.
And my ability to heal and my ability to help patients heal has been directly proportional to my ability to surrender and to help guide surrender.
I wanted to share this here with you, in case this helps someone else that you know and love.
So that we can all be empowered in our OWN HEALING JOURNEY and to feel better as we heal!
There’s a novel concept: Healing should ***FEEL GOOD!***
That’s how you know you are healing!
Anyone can play with the process of healing and perhaps look at it as the process of resistance to surrender â€” maybe to them (as it did to me) it will feel more empowering than the 5 phases of DABDA.
Healing doesn’t happen in predictable phases… DABDA never seemed really described how it truly *feels* to go through a health challenge or transformation.
But resistance to surrender…
…yep, that about sums it up nicely.
Surrendering and watching what shows up feels ever so infinitely better than resisting what life has planned for me.
Surrender has shown me beauty, grace, love, unconditional support, strength, survival… and more of *myself* than ever before.
Turns out, stepping fully into the process of trusting what is unfolding is what real, deep, soul healing has been about all along.
Nothing else has quite compared to this messy experience of real life…
…of being cracked fully open until there was no option left but to surrender to it fully… and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
So if you are in resistance, if you are in a situation you feel you didn’t choose, don’t want, can’t survive…
Let go and surrender.
Jump on in… the water’s fine.
Floating right along side you…
P.S. Want more uplifting help in the healing process?
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