when nothing can fix it. a lesson in surrender

I've been reading Henry Miller. Specifically, the Colossus of Maroussi, which, oh, I dunno, is only the freakin' greatest travel memoir cum life lesson bible ever to grace our book shelves. 

Anyway, the man is quite nifty at showing me what I need to see at the precise moment I need to see it. Or perhaps some divine hand is very good at opening a book's page to the very passage I need to read at the very relevant moment in my life. I don't know about you, but that happens to me, often.

via theresourcefulmother

So, the passage:

Peace is not the opposite of war any more than death is the opposite of life. The poverty of language, which is to say the poverty of man’s imagination or the poverty of his inner life, has created an ambivalence which is absolutely false. I am talking of course of the peace which passeth all understanding. There is no other kind. The peace which most of us know is merely a cessation of hostilities, a truce, an interregnum, a lull, a respite, which is negative. The peace of the heart is positive and invincible, demanding no conditions, requiring no protection. It just is. If it is a victory it is a peculiar one because it is based entirely on surrender, a voluntary surrender, to be sure.

Ah, yes. Peace. Surrender. These two things, I’m struggling to achieve at present moment. It’s been a... difficult... period for me. My husband’s been living with a chronic pain condition for 3 years and whilst he’s recently reached a new, more productive level of acceptance, I’m far behind. I haven’t accepted that our life has changed. I haven’t surrendered to the story, haven’t trusted that if I allow myself to flow with this turbid stream, I won’t get lost in it forever. This happens to most of us when we're dealing with a life changing condition or event. Surrendering to your adversity can feel a lot like giving up.

Miller steps in again:

Surrender is absolute: if you cling to even the tiniest crumb you nourish the germ which will devour you.

I like this reminder of the sense in doing precisely what feels like the wrong thing to do. The more we butt heads with something that can’t be fixed, the more it corrodes our strength.

Miller continues:

I know what the cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.

That’s it. There is a heartbeat to this world. Sometimes we dig its pace and we’re happy to drum along to it. Other times the pace is all out of whack for us. We’re not ready to bop to its beat. But true peace - peace that doesn’t depend on circumstance – happens when a single unified beat is achieved. That’s my task - to trust that it’ll be okay, that the turbid waters will take us to a better landing. My task is to surrender to the story so that my heart may beat in unison with the great heart of the world, and I can feel peace.

I do hope that if you need to feel some peace, you find this short rant useful.


  1. Thank-you, Maria, for this post. It is exactly what I needed today - doesn't the universe work in the most serendipitous way at times? Although I only found your blog a couple of months ago, this is not the first time that reading your words has cheered my day considerably. You are a much appreciated and recurring entry in my (almost) daily gratitude list! Again, thank-you. Jani
    PS. I don't actually know how to comment on a blog, so I hope I don't make a mess of this...

  2. I really, really found your 'short rant' useful. I've been having a lot of trouble with a member of my family recently, and it's caused me so much stress. I think about it every single day. There is a huge lesson in surrender for me. Thank you so much. (And I love your blog by the way). Lizzy

    1. Thanks Lizzy, so glad it's offered you something. xx Maria



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