Getting Divorced? Kick Back. Relax. It’s Time For A Surrender Party by Dr. Baruch Halevi
I am a control freak. I admit it. It’s painful. It’s even a bit hypocritical, as I teach people how to shift from living a life of self-controlling to living a life of soul surrendering. For example, when asked to speak publicly, I never, ever merely show up. I prepare and prepare and prepare some more. My blogs? Written and rewritten. And when it comes to my relationships, I find myself going above and beyond and beyond and beyond.
True, some of this originates from a place of authenticity – the desire to put my heart and soul into my life and my work. However, truth be told, much of it emanates from fear: fear of failure, fear of unworthiness, fear of how others think of me or fear that if I don’t take ahold of life’s oars, and row like hell across life’s turbulent waters, my boat, and those along side me, will crash and sink.
So I work. I work harder. I control. I become controlling. What’s ironic is, the harder I row, the worse things tend to become. The speech I was going to give becomes muddled. The blog becomes confusing. And those relationships that I overwork, over compensate for, and overly control – they usually fall apart.
If you are going through, or have gone through a divorce, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you are a guy, forget about it. You are Mr-Fix-It by nature, and yet this is one area where taking control, working harder and doing more hasn’t, can’t and won’t “fix it.”
We cannot change another person – even if the change is good for them.
We cannot get them to do what we want – even if it’s the right thing to do.
We cannot convince them of anything, which includes staying in the marriage, working harder at the relationship, or being kinder, less angry, more loving, less resentful, or more forgiving during the divorce or long after it is finalized.
Working harder won’t do it. A new course of “action” won’t accomplish it. Trying to fix them won’t bring it about. What I’m saying is, trying to take control of the situation often only results in more frustration, more struggling and sometimes even more damage.
1. It puts unbelievable and unreasonable pressure on us. We become the source of control and power within the relationship. If it works out, it’s on us. If it doesn’t, that’s on us too.
2. It means that if it isn’t working, we need to try harder or do more or be more.
3. It is a recipe for failure as it never works. Because we cannot push, prod or pull anyone, anywhere to do what we want done or to become something they don’t want.
4. Finally, sometimes when we take more control and work that much harder, we only hurt ourselves. We deplete ourselves. We exhaust ourselves. And we lose our true self, our soul, in the process.
It comes down to this. Either, I am God – the source of power, control in the universe. Or God is God. The Source of power. The Source of it all. There is no other alternative (No, your ex-mother in law is not a choice – nor is she the devil – another blog for another time!).
If I am God then it’s on me. All of it.
However, if God is God then I’m off the hook.
I’m not talking about some holy roller version of God – where we sit on our ass and holler, “God will provide! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” (I’ve tried this. It was called college. And finally my dad told me to get off my ass and stop calling him God).
Seriously, I’m talking about the sophisticated, grown up version of God, where I show up and do my part. As the Bedouins say, “have faith in God and tie up your camels.” I do the work of tying up the camels. And then I sit back. I shut up. And I surrender.
That’s right. Surrender.
I know this word is like kryptonite to the western way of being. But that is exactly what we need to do when we are trying too hard, when we are pushing too far and when we are controlling too much – which is pretty much most of the time.
When it’s not going. When the situation isn’t changing. When our ex is not responding. When our relationship is not flowing. When our life is not moving forward, regardless of how much we are rowing our damn boat, in the words of the poet Rumi, “Try something different. Surrender.”
Surrender to what is.
Surrender to what will be.
Surrender and accept those around you, especially your xx, for who she is.
Surrender and accept yourself for what you are not.
Try something different, surrender, rediscover your soul and be free.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of trying to control it all, be at the center of it all and be the source of it all. I’m ready for less, to do less and to be less. I’m ready to sit on my ass, kick back, take a deep breath and relax. Just me. Just my soul. Just breathe. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue to work hard, be the best dad I can be, and go after my dreams. That’s a given. It just means that I am surrendering to what I know I can’t control and focusing on what I can. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Hand me the remote. Pass the bean dip. It’s time for a surrender party!
Rabbi Dr. Baruch Halevi is a regular contributor for DGS. A Relationship & Life Coach, Halevi, (who goes by “B”) is also a motivational speaker and inspirational author.