March 2010


Surrender is NOT for sissies.  Surrender, by definition, means relinquishing control…a frightening concept for us control freaks.  Surrender drops you swiftly into a sea of uncertainty, at the mercy of your worst fears, producing serious doubts about ever being productive again. I’m speaking from experience here.

But, despite the discomfort, I’m fast becoming a fan.  Something happened when I stopped struggling to impose my will and surrendered to receiving guidance–financial success started to feel like a spiritual journey.

Primitive cultures and Eastern Religions had rites and rituals to honor the Time- Between. They took their people out of the villages, into the wilderness, allowing them to connect with their spirit guides, reassess old ways of being, recognize their true purpose.

But no one teaches us, or even encourages, this practice any more.

So, for those of you wishing to take some time out in a rich and rewarding way, I bring you The Beginners Guide to Surrender ( so named because it’s written by a total beginner…me!).  There’s no need to leave your village, or even your job. Just follow these 6 simple (though not easy) steps.

Step #1—Eliminate everything but the most essential.

I remember saying to my guy last winter, “I wish I could take the next month off!”

“Why don’t you?” he responded.

I gasped. Taking time off was unthinkable.  Or was it?  I decided to ease into it slowly, by saying ‘no’ to things that didn’t feed my soul, no matter how lucrative…or tempting.  I said ‘no’ to speaking invitations, ‘no’ to networking opportunities, ‘no’ to new clients, ‘no’ to writing my newsletter and blog.  If anyone asked, I was on sabbatical until further notice.  I continued a little teaching and coaching, but only because I wanted to.

As a result I was left with a lot of down-time…which, of course, is the whole point.

But to many, down-time is a dirty word. And I know why:  we’ll do anything to avoid the dreaded step two.

Coming up: Step #2—Allow uncomfortable feelings to surface.

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How do you know when it’s time to surrender?

In my case, I just felt ‘blah’, squeezed dry, devoid of creativity, lacking the passion that once was so prominent.  These feelings sort of snuck up on me, caught me by surprise, sometime last summer.

My coach, Martha Lynn Walker, suggested I take a retreat, get a way for a few days. I did and blogged about it earlier –  http://barbarastannyblog.com/2009/12/16/it%E2%80%99s-a-miracle/

I returned reinvigorated, back in the groove. Or so I thought. A few months later, my business partner and I split up. At that point, I really felt lost.

I knew, right then, my “blahs” and the break-up were more than isolated incidences. They were wake up calls, signals from my soul, sending me an urgent message: Stop what you’re doing; Pay attention; there’s something you need to know, but you must be quiet enough to hear it.

I wonder how many of you are receiving similar messages, alerting you to the fact  you’ve somehow drifted  off purpose or  perhaps your direction may be morphing into something altogether different. I wonder how many of you haven’t a clue what to do.  Or are horrified at the very thought of taking time out. Well, my friends, I’m here to help.

Coming up next: a Beginners Guide to Surrender

You may have noticed. There’s been a big gap between my last blog and this one. What a perfect metaphor!!

For months now, I’ve been literally living in the Gap.  Last December, I ended one phase of my life (my business partnership) but to date, haven’t begun the next phase (still being determined).

However, instead of forcing things into focus, I decided to consciously Surrender. Allow the future to unfold at its own pace, in its preferred direction.

This is not a tact I’d normally take.   I’m a go-getter kind of gal.   Surrender, to me, had negative connotations, something to be avoided by anyone with any ambition. Or at least that’s what I thought…

…until I began interviewing women who made millions. Making millions was my new goal, and the idea for my next book.  In the course of those conversations, however, I stumbled on a startling revelation.

Every woman I interviewed experienced a sort of limbo, or ‘time-between,’ just before she started making millions. They all described spending somewhat lengthy periods in the unknown, tolerating (though not enjoying) the uncertainty, allowing things to fall apart without rushing to put them back together

I saw how these Time-Outs served an essential role in their eventual triumphs because they used them, as one woman put it, “to regroup and come back stronger.”

These Surrender Points were often precipitated by an outside event—anything from a painful loss to a life threatening illness—though sometimes, the women themselves deliberately chose to step off the grid. I much preferred to follow in the latter’s footsteps… surrender and regroup–by design, not default.  It’s been quite a ride!

I intend to use my blog, at least for a bit, to explore this whole notion of surrender, share my experiences with you, and most of all, hear from those of you who’ve done something similar.

I’m beginning to think it’s time we stop avoiding the void.