The Balance of Effort and Surrender

Apr 22, 2022

A bird soars high in the sky. Two wings flap in perfect harmony. When the wind is right, they are motionless as the skillful bird rests on the wind.  To turn, one wing drops as the other lifts. Then, they return to balanced harmony.

This is the balance of effort and surrender.

Your mind – and your life – are like the wings of this powerful bird. Effort is needed to fly, but it must be balanced with rest and surrender - allowing the wind to do its work for you too. 

Let this beautiful bird teach you about balance. 

I’ll start with an example from my life when I did NOT practice this balance of effort and surrender.  Back in August of '21, I decided it was time to put the tools from our Anxious to Awesome™ program into a book. I diligently wrote and wrote. We published in December. Then, we (this is my mom and sister = Global Family Wellness) immediately dove into the creation of our 21-Day Journey from Anxious to Awesome, which is currently underway. It was even more work than the book because we were writing and creating videos while letting people know about it. We launched on a Saturday and then two days later, I gave my first keynote address as a published author – woot! The very next day, I got on a plane to visit family for the spring holiday.  

Very intense, no breaks. And I could feel it. A deep sense of tired. Scattered mind. I joked to a friend, “I’m stressing myself out creating content for people to not be stressed out!”  

Can you relate? Have you been driving towards the goal (clear or unclear) with no time outs?  

That was over six months of steady effort without much surrender. Not recommended. Now that this intense period has passed, I’m moving into an “intense” period of chill. Unstructured free time with family, a sound bath, lots of naps and hot baths.  

Rather than this kind of marathon, better to chill as you go. Schedule rest into each day, each week and monthly. If your family is feeling frazzled, see if you can schedule in down time in between activities throughout the day and throughout the week.

Find your Sunday

Traditionally, in our culture, Sundays were dedicated to this weekly day of rest. Stores were all closed. Very few people were expected to work on this one day a week. Now, we live in a 24/7 culture. So each family needs to find their own Sunday. It may be Sunday – or Saturday. It may be Tuesday. Whatever fits into your life. 

Surrender requires trust, patience and practice.  

This surrender is also referred to as dispassion or letting go. It’s not just about physical effort, but ultimately about the mind.  

Let Your Breath Show You 

It’s like the breath. Your breath is a perfect tool to demonstrate this. Each inhale is effort – it requires muscular engagement. Each exhale is a release of that effort, a surrender. Breath by breath in balance. You’re not going to breath in again until you have breathed out.  Do the work and then rest.  

Day and night also show us this balance. Being active in the day and quiet at night supports our natural balance.  

It can be a challenge because modern culture glorifies busy. Taking care of yourself is honoring the need for rest while the world around you may not. Though, I think we are getting better at resting because nap pods exist in office spaces!  

It can keep one from getting sick, stressed out or very cranky.  

Effort and surrender in balance means not too much rest either. Low moods and low energy require the gentle opposite of effort.  

Where are you working, engaged and in the effort? Where can you let go, relax and have unstructured free time? Hour by hour, day by day and week after week.  

Breathe in. Breathe out.  

It’s like two wings of a bird. You need both to fly. 

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