Surrender Versus Control

“The mind is the security system of the body, so it wants to be in control to feel safe.”

Mona & Giovanni – Question the Mind

We operate under the illusion that we are in control. To surrender means to yield or give up. Surrendering to a Higher Power means asking for support. It is saying we can’t do it alone. It brings us out of ourselves somehow, and gives some relief to our struggles. “As a typical baby boomer who left formal religion behind at age 19, I had to be pushed pretty far for my ego to even begin to allow me to surrender.

I see now that what happened to me was an important part of my menopausal journey. It was the intensifying of experience that often happens in the last couple of years of perimenopause. Both Christiane Northrup and Susun Weed talk about this. My restricted left shoulder, injured carrying heavy rugs, was the event that catalyzed this key part of my journey. As my shoulder froze up I became so limited physically that I went into a completely different space in body-mind and spirit. Although I functioned in my life in a limited way, my main focus was on what was happening inside me. For a few months I did what Christiane Northrup calls “hanging out in the underworld”. I like to call this place the “abyss”. There I had seemed to have no choice but to allow my worst fears, grief and confusion to be fully experienced.

A few years earlier I had remembered that I had experienced sexual trauma as a toddler, but I was unprepared for the strong emotions that arose in me, and the occasional brief but graphic visual flashbacks that seemed to come from my shoulders after I received healing bodywork. My concern was that I would lose touch with reality and ‘leave’ my body somehow. This is what I think happened, albeit briefly, at the time of the abuse. During this difficult time I remember walking down the street and saying ‘please help me’ to a Higher Power I think of as ‘The Universe’, ‘The Light’, ‘The Great Mother’ or ‘God’.

Surrendering of this nature was definitely not my usual modus operandi in the world. But I was desperate. I felt lost and alone in many ways. I knew that most people, not having made a similar internal journey, didn’t understand what I was going through.

But “thank the Goddess”, there was one person who really got it, and that was my very wise chiropractor, Christine. One day she said to me, “sometimes when you’re standing on the edge of the abyss, there’s nothing else to do but jump.” I felt comforted and validated that she understood the limbo I was in.

As the months wore on, the shoulder restriction slowly eased with the help of chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and exercises. After six months, I had approximately 80% of the mobility back in my arm. As the shoulder released, something softened and released in me emotionally also.

I asked for guidance on what to do next and soon the idea came to me of writing to Judith Duerk, author and women’s retreat leader to inquire about leadership training. My goal was to offer holistic groups for women. I went to Wyoming to work with Judith over a period of three years. I also sponsored a Judith Duerk retreat in my own community.

Out of this time in the abyss, a new ‘me’ was born. I was able to move into the next phase of my life as a mature women…a crone which has been very satisfying. I returned to school to get a master’s degree in counseling. This qualified me for my life’s work with women.

My life is not a perfect life now, now is it particularly easy. But I know who I am more and more and know what I can contribute to the world.

Copyright 2007 Ellen Besso

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