I’ve been thinking a lot about surrender lately—the visceral act of letting go. Surrender is often confused with its cousins: Apathy, Resignation, Giving Up, and Hopelessness. And although they bear a slight resemblance, they are not really related. In a battle between Surrender and Giving Up, surrender always wins.
When we develop a chronic illness, our basic way of understanding the world dissolves. At least that how it feels. At least that’s how it felt in my case.
Somewhere in my 2nd year of living with severe multiple chemical sensitivities, I began to feel as if I were in a dying process. Not a physical death (though there were many nights when I wondered if I’d wake up in the morning), but a psychological death. I felt like my way of understanding who I was in relationship to the rest of the world, had been stripped. I was no longer a teacher, or a workshop leader. I was no longer a nature guide, or a healer. Hell, I wasn’t even someone who could buy groceries without feeling like I was going to pass out. I felt purposeless and adrift. Although I was doing everything I could to heal, I wasn’t sure I was someone who was healing. In short, I had begun the descent into the “underworld.”