chi ruach illustrationKind promise: I will surrender patiently.

The tricky bit about this promise is that I don’t want to surrender always to everything. If the wicked witch writes “surrender Catherine” across the sky with her broom, I do not want to pack up and go home.

When and to what am I surrendering?

This promise is designed to keep me flexible. I get caught up in my expectations of myself, of how I should be, of what I deserve, of you, of what we should do, of this moment, of what will happen next… There is no end to the list. These expectations beat down on my life so that each moment becomes a brittle husk.

Not having any expectations, we can be infinitely patient.” (Chögyam Trungpa)

I, humanly, bring my expectations to this moment. I surrender expectations again and again as they arise.

When I wrote this promise, I was thinking about my body. I wish I had the physical ability and energy to do everything I can dream. Instead, I can do less and less each month. Making this promise, I want to avoid wallowing in rage and frustration at what I can’t do. I want, instead, to surrender patiently.

In surrendering expectations, I am not surrendering effort. As things become more difficult to do, I want to continue to do them… to a point. There may come a time when the struggle is too much. As long as the effort is life-giving, I will continue to make it.


I think of the Hebrew idea of the breath of God, moving over the waters. רוח הקודש
I think of the Chinese idea of the life force. 氣

I come home to my own understanding of a higher power that energizes all and surrounds all.
Returning to what I think of as traditional language, if the effort glorifies God, then I will make it.

I am surrendering to God.


We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot