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The Joys of Packing: How moving is teaching me to surrender and let go

Updated: Apr 26, 2018

This past month has been the calm before the storm. Most things have been pretty routine, but I can sense the change, uncertainty, instability, and excitement coming with this new move. My husband Tom and I are at this very unique point in our lives where we don't have any commitments that would tie us down to a specific location for any length of time, so we're going to take advantage of it. We're going to spend the next six months on sabbatical, which means you'll get the opportunity to see all the amazing places we visit. We'll travel all over the United States hiking, camping, exploring, practicing yoga, and visiting friends and family. Then it's off to Europe where we'll do more of the same with our friends across the pond.

This week, the entire house will get packed up into boxes, loaded onto a truck, then shipped off and packed into storage facility for the next six months until we return to the US. I'm actually supposed to be setting aside all the essentials I'll need for the next six months as we live out of our car and drive around visiting friends and family. (Shhh...don't tell anyone.)

It's crazy to think of the multitude things that we keep around us that we don't really need. I'm going to take a three bedroom house worth of things, sort out the essentials, stuff it all into my little red car, and leave room for Tom to pack his things too --- kinda like living in a tiny house on the road. I'm allotted one box, which we've termed my "hippy box", where I'll keep all my incense, candles, oils, etc. I also get a big suitcase worth of clothes, a carry on, one personal item, camping equipment, yoga props, and snacks. We've started measuring the value of things in terms of space for props. "Is that bicycle pump worth one yoga mat?"

All we can do is prepare the best we can, gain knowledge and experience, and trust that everything else will work itself out.

The schedule is ever changing, and I still have no idea what to pack, but the one thing I'll be sure to bring along is trust. The teaching of Ishvara Pranidhana, surrender, asks us to put our trust in the divine. Whether you believe that to be God or Goddess or Krishna or Fate or the Universe or anything else, there's this unseen power at work in our lives. All we can do is prepare the best we can, gain knowledge and experience, and trust that everything else will work itself out.

Here are some things I try to do when it comes to surrender.

  • Stop thinking so much - Have you ever noticed that the more you focus on a problem, them more your brain runs around in circles and stresses you out? It becomes counter productive. Let go of it and focus on something else, like the breath, until all the fog in you mind has cleared and you're able to see things from a new perspective, or roll with it if there's not really any action that can be taken anymore. Have trust that all the preparation will work itself out.

  • Lengthen the exhales - The brain, heart, and lungs are connected to each other via the vagus nerve. Creating those long exhales, helps stimulate the vagus nerve and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tells your brain (and you) that all is safe and well. Let go of the need to control or be a certain way with each exhale.

  • Prayer & meditation - Someone once told me that "prayer is when you talk to God, and meditation is when God talks to you." Think about it. When you're having a conversation, there are times when you talk and times when you listen. When you're praying, you say all these things of praise, thanks, requests, etc. When you meditate, you're in a state of receiving and observation. Answers come when you're ready to let go.

So when I'm rushing to get everything packed into the car before the movers get here, when I find out that I forgot something really important (like I always do), or when we finally start to settle down from traveling and look for a place to live; I'm going to try and remember to surrender my need to control. I'm going to trust that everything will work itself out in this great big plan that God has for us.

What are some things you do to surrender to life? Do you do this too? Let me know in the comments below!


Update: since writing this, I've packed up all this and more into the little red car.

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