Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Bubbie left a comment on one of my previous posts, which I'm sure she may have meant to be possibly funny. Instead, it got me thinking, which is ALWAYS a dangerous thing! LOL

The comment was about a witch flying through the air and writing our names in the sky...followed by the word, "SURRENDER".

SURRENDER is one of those words I have struggled with my entire life. For many years, I chose to only accept Webster's FIRST definition of the word: 1. hand over, give up. It has only been in recent years of my life I have ever chosen to look beyond that first definition to the SECOND and THIRD: 2. allow oneself to yield, 3. cease resistance.

There was a period of time when I lived in Houston that I gave up full-time nursing management and followed my conscience...I became a Registered Massage Therapist and had my own practice. I could never quite "give up" my psych background however, so I mostly saw psychiatric clients (referrals from therapists and psychiatrists). I did not practice "traditional" massage, but blended a combination of talk therapy (pseudo-psychotherapy), massage, and body awareness/self esteem relearning.

I also facilitated a women's body awareness group. In this group, we worked on issues of body self esteem, undoing negative paradigms, and embracing feminine archetypes. We did this through a variety of techniques, but one of my favorite to teach was combining color therapy with movement therapy...something I was trained in by a most unusual shaman-type woman!

In using colors to assist the unconscious, one looks at "universal assignments" given to the color's meaning. For instance, the color green in our culture stirs images of money, envy, growth, and even illness (i.e., "he was rolling in the green", "she was green with envy", "the trees are greening up", "he was green around the gills".) We use colors all the time in our language as both substitutes and expressions of feelings.

Each color can be given both a positive and a negative (for lack of easier explanation, I will stick with this simplistic dualistic approach) expression. For example, using the color green, one can be "rolling in the green", or translated to have an abundance of wealth, or one can become "green with envy", or feeling deprived or without.

When combining colors with movement therapy, the therapist uses body movements and patterns of movement that express the "positive" attribute of the color as a way of "retraining" the body (which ultimately retrains the mind) into a new way of thinking. So, the movement for the color green is one that symbolizes "growing/abundance"--from a balled up body shape on the ground toward movement of a firmly-rooted tree blowing in the wind--growth. Very difficult to describe in writing without a visual! LOL

But back to my point, and I DO have one! SURRENDER. I "taught" SURRENDER repeatedly to my clients in my groups, yet it was the most difficult body movement for ME to comprehend and endure! The coinciding color for SURRENDER is the color orange (I KNOW the MS Society did NOT know this when it chose brown and orange as our "gang" colors! LOL).

"Why?" you ask (or perhaps have already stopped reading?!?). Because two very powerful colors--yellow and red--must SURRENDER to each other in equal parts to make a pure orange...the colors must "yield" to one another..."cease resisting" one another.

Yellow is the color of newness, the rising sun, of possibilities and fresh ideas. But its negative aspect is weakness or rot ("he was too yellow-bellied to fight").

Red is the color representing power ("she was having a red-letter day"). But red out of control can also mean chaos! ("he was red with rage")

So now you can see why ORANGE is the symbolic representation of yield to another.

I won't go into great written detail about the corresponding movement for ORANGE/SURRENDER because it is simply too difficult to describe something so visual in words. But suffice it to say, the ENDING of the movement results in a position similar to a Muslim prayer stance...except instead of the elbows tucked under the trunk, the arms are outstretched in front of the head with the palms on the ground. This particular position is known as the "Chopping Block" because the neck is exposed and you cannot see a would be assailant OR an axe falling on your neck, for that matter! Thus, the name.

It is a highly vulnerable position, yet it yields great strength and insights. SURRENDER.

I struggle with SURRENDER every day. I am much better at fighting and "pretending" to fight than I am at yielding or ceasing to resist. Yet, I also know cognitively "fighting" only zaps me of my vital energies and many of my battles are imaginary (or in my mind), making them battles I cannot win.

I am currently in a great struggle with my Multiple Sclerosis...a fight...and I have refused to SURRENDER because I have only been viewing my situation AS a fight and focusing on Webster's first definition--to give up.

Bubbie's comment today humbled me and brought me closer to a much needed SURRENDER in my current situation...this is a battle where there will be no clear winner...only a potential loser and that "loser" will be me if I keep fighting with imaginary demons.

I have also held great pride in my ability to keep a stiff upper lip. But pride can be a dangerous attribute and certainly NOT a useful weapon in a fight. Pride can cause blindness and an inability to see clearly in the shadows.

And MS is DEFINITELY NOT a fair fighter! The disease likes to throw some solidly-placed punches, then sneak back into the shadows and waits for me to either pridefully stumble into it's shadows or exhaust myself blindly and wildly throwing punches at an adversary I cannot possibly connect to my swinging fists. SURRENDER.

I have been wallowing for the past several days in the pig shit of pride, anger, resentment, and fear...a most foul cesspool of emotional excrement! And I have been trying to "fight" my way out of this pool while also swinging wildly at my MS and current condition. Frankly, I am tired.

Today, on Hallows (Halloween to most folks) I have routinely for the past 16 years performed a ritual fast and spiritual cleansing. I have been unable to do this physical ritual today because I am on so many medications right now for my shingles, I would damage my gastrointestinal system to NOT eat for 24-48 hours. This has both angered and disappointed me and initially gave me one more reason to spit venom at my MS.

And then I read Bubbie's comment...SURRENDER...and I have spent the day "fasting" my mind of unwanted thoughts and emotions in preparation to do just that...SURRENDER.

SURRENDER is not something one does once in their lifetime and considers this to be accomplished. Quite the contrary. SURRENDER is an act of faith that must be practiced every minute of every day.

And just for this minute of my day, I will let go of the red of anger and the weakness/rot of yellow, allowing only for the orange blending of power and promise of new possibilities to wash over me in a pure orange. SURRENDER.

We don't always know how powerful our words can be or what influence they may have on another. I doubt Bubbie gave it a second thought when she typed the word, SURRENDER, in the comments here.

But I am deeply grateful she did....


Bubbie said...

And here I thought I was just trippin' on the OZ thing yet again. :)
Your bill will be in the mail.

Sharon said...

Now everyone who was so negative about the orange needs to embrace it. That was one powerful post my friend. Thanks I needed to hear that myself.
Power to the Bubbie

harkoo said...

Just as I was reading your writings tonight as taught to you by a shaman-woman, my sister came out of her bedroom saying she had just found the magazine on Shamanism my teacher had lent me several weeks ago. I had totally forgotten about it-he had written one of the articles. Our last class is Friday so I will have it for him. I am surrendering to a shaman-moment of synchronicity.

R said...

Hey, L.

Appreciate your essay. I have to keep in mind that, in interactions with other people, sometimes I have to surrender to my own power and not let them walk over me. But surrendering to God, the Higher Power, the Great Spirit, is always the right thing.

Keep on truckin'
(That probably dates and places me, oh, well)

Miss Chris said...

Dang,'re deep!

mdmhvonpa said...

Hrmmm ... colorblind ... durn it.

Anonymous said...

So the yellow sign in the road to "YIELD" really means something new and fresh is round the corner ?!?! Life isn't always what it seems ; but I sure do like it when my cup is half full. Well done Grace !