Posted by: scintillatingspeck | May 5, 2016

Surrendering to joy.

floating gardenia

It would behoove us to become accustomed to the advancing and receding of emotional states, all of them, in this human embodiment we are all inhabiting.  It’s a challenge when some of them are so acute and so excruciating.  We label them negative or positive, embrace them, flee from them—mostly flee from them, in my estimation, based on my tiny little speckish perspective.  I see people numbing themselves constantly in this Nation of Alienation.  I understand.  I have fled, too, over and over, appalled at the towering mountains of injustice and terrified of my own supposed unworthiness.

The “negative” emotions, the rage, the sadness, the grief, the envy, the desire to withdraw, destroy, sulk, wail—these are so easily painted as bad.  But they are what they are.  They do not demand some horrible action.  They do not have to be intolerable tyrants controlling us from within.  We can let them exist, give them a voice, give them some love, in fact.  They have their reasons.  They have their rhythms.  This is what it means to be alive.

When there’s a long cycle of “negative,” it can be profoundly disconcerting when the balance tips towards the “positive” emotions, the joy, the playfulness, the radiance, the love.  At least for me.  It’s both a relief and a source of confusion, as if I am so used to confronting or fleeing the dark that I hardly know what to do with the light when it appears.  But I think the key is in dismantling the whole notion of having to confront or flee.

No confrontation.  No flight.  Only surrender.

This sounds downright dangerous in some ways.  Who would recommend surrendering to the dark?  But let me tell you what I mean by surrender.

image source: (although as you may recall, this is from the film “The Wizard of Oz”)

I don’t mean surrender to the Wicked Witch of the West.

I don’t mean surrender to wallowing in fierce waves of depression and rumination.

I don’t mean surrender to impulses that are bound to have hurtful consequences.

I don’t mean surrender to external forces that are harming us.

I mean, just let it be.  Let the feelings be, and lay down the ideas of their inherent rightness or wrongness.  Lay down the defenses—we can use our defenses some other time, when it makes sense to use them.  Lay down and let love guide the river.  Our heads (or at least my head—I don’t know, maybe yours is on the ball) are notoriously unreliable at managing certain tasks, including coming up with the notion that everything is a task to be managed.

What I want to emphasize, though, is that this kind of surrender is not just important with what we deem dark, but with what we deem light.  Funny how I’ve managed to focus so much on that “dark” stuff in a post called “Surrendering to Joy,” eh?  That’s a bit of fleeing you’re witnessing.

There is so much joy, beauty, and love in my life right now, it’s astonishing.  Someone told me the other day that I deserve it.  Really, I deserve it?  Yes, you are intrinsically deserving.  I realize that the dregs of an old belief are still lingering, that I couldn’t possibly deserve it.  It’s attended by anxieties: what if I’m a fraud?  What if my inner undeservingness becomes obvious and all the joy goes away?

This is when Inner Wise Woman steps in.

You are a sweet, shining speck, love.  No more and no less.  This feeling of unworthiness?  Let it be.  You’re just a human.  You are a tiny microcosm of the universe.  You don’t have to fight the beauty that overtakes your senses—you can lean back and enjoy it.  That’s all.  No justification, no striving, no proof, no system of punishment and reward.  The world is not what you were taught, not a machine, not a hierarchy, not a competition, none of that.  There is love and magic all around and inside you.  Look!  You can surrender to it now.




  1. not only that, the negative emotions can be seen for what they are, our soul grappling with existence, a necessary process that we can welcome and labor with to give ‘muscle’ to our spiritual being. i honor your process and insight, dear jen ❤

    • Thank you, Mar. I’m dwelling now on the thought of a muscular spirituality.

  2. Ram Dass said that it’s got to where that when his demons show up, he invites them in for tea. A common aphorism people utter in some circles is, “The space between my ears is a dangerous neighborhood.”
    I don’t buy that one anymore. I can walk into my bathroom, look the guy in the glass right in the eye, and you know what? I like him. I’m comfortable with him. It’s taken me a long, long time to finally be down with that. Someone put up a meme about love not being possessive. When I stopped the possessiveness is part of when I began to like myself again. Sure, I also have stuff come up from time to time. Stuff that could be described in those negative ways. I like the idea of surrender in the context you’ve described here better than I ever could. But what I really like is the idea of surrendering to joy and love without condition or fear.
    You are a good and decent human being who is kind and loving. You do deserve it.

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