“When you have done all that you can do, give it up to the part of yourself that is divine.” –Oprah Winfrey

You want something to happen.

You really, really, really want it.

You want it more than you’ve ever wanted anything, before. Perhaps you’ve worked harder than anyone else you know, or perhaps you know more, or you deserve it more because you’ve had the shittiest year ever and it’s time for life to cut you a break.

Then someone says to you, “Surrender,” or “Accept,” or “Let go,” and perhaps you think: “Ah, yes. I need to do that. I will start working on that.”

But you can’t force the release.

(This is the bad news).

If reading those words causes your hopes to fall a bit, or perhaps gets you a bit pissed, I’m right there with you. When I’m “in it,” it really pisses me off, too. It feels unfair and wrong that someone such as you or me or everyone else we’re friends with should be intelligent and loveable and hard-working, with access to resources or full of ideas–and yet, we can’t seem to get unstuck from this one bit of stuckness that’s showing up in the form of really, really wanting something and suffering in that attachment.

We can “live in a space of letting go.” I learned this lesson when, for about a year, I attended weekly Al-anon meetings. Again and again, people came and shared their stories of how they were living with alcoholics. They came into the first few meetings so pissed off and tired and worn out. Often in the initial meetings they would introduce themselves and share that they had come because they wanted more ideas for how to “deal with” the alcoholics in their lives, perhaps “get them to stop drinking.” Over time, they’d slowly realize what all of us regular attendees were working on–we were powerless to control anyone else’s behavior.

Nope. The release cannot be forced. Forcing is clenching, not releasing.

So what tends to come next when someone realizes they’re not releasing? Fretting. Stewing. Why am I not releasing?

Probably because you’re fretting and stewing. More to the point, you’re fretting and stewing rather than being in your process, which would involve even being open and accepting and curious and observant of the fretting and stewing.

And even more to the point? You’re not releasing because you haven’t yet had the gift of whatever is coming. As far as I can tell, we release when:

a.) We’ve already shifted something internally and thus no longer need a tightly-clenched fist,


b.) We’re going to see lessons/transformation, as part of the process of releasing,

And often, there’s c.) Both are true; both will happen.

“Live in a space of letting go.” –Oprah

A release comes over you. I experience it as a wave of energy that washes through me, and once it does, I just “know” that I’ve let go and surrendered.

I always loved those weeks when someone who had been attending Al-Anon for awhile weeks would say to the group, “I realized that if he’s going to drink, I have to just let him. I can’t make him stop.”

We’d all look at that person, perhaps some man or woman or teenager who’d been grappling with the fear and sadness that accompanies living with an alcoholic, and I’d sense that we could all feel it–a little ray of light had just entered through a crack in that person’s life, and they were going to use that light to see themselves the whole way through.

That little bit of surrender–you can’t force the release, you can only keep working on you and keep “giving it up to the part of yourself that is divine.”

But when it happens? When that opening happens? It’s everything.