Courage To Surrender

I’ve been where Whitney Houston was. No, not the fame, drugs or alcohol but the need to seek validation and safety in something or someone outside of myself. That’s what drove her. That was her inner demon. So when she was interviewed  by Diane Sawyer and asked, “So what’s your biggest demon?” she replied “Me.”

It doesn’t matter whether its resistance to accepting responsibility for our personal lives or for our lives as citizens in a free society. In the end, it’s all the same. The individual who looks for safety in government welfare or subsidies loses the same precious gift that Whitney Houston lost when she turned to Bobby Brown: personal power and confidence in one’s ability to achieve.  Much will be made of the alcohol binges and drug dependency but Brown was perhaps the most dangerous of all her choices… and the most telling.

When a woman (or a man) chooses a partner based upon neediness, there is always a tradeoff and the tradeoff is always the same.  What is exchanged, although not consciously, is personal responsibility. Along with it we relinquish personal power as well. It may take awhile and be a slow process over time, but as the saying goes “you can’t have the benefit without the burden.”

In discussing Whitney Houston’s downward slide, I heard someone say, “She could have gotten herself off that train anytime she wanted.” It’s not that easy. As I said before I’ve been there and dependency, whether upon a substance, a system or a human being is insidious. It does you in a little at a time. It inevitably takes not only the awareness that your existence is at risk, but also the courage to do something about it.

Many have awareness. Not so many have the courage.

It takes courage because the way out of dependency is counter-intuitive. One would think that retaining control, at all cost, to whatever sense of self remains is key. Yet the solution is surrender. Only by surrendering and withdrawing from all that is not working in your life are you able to make room for the Source of True Power to emerge from within. The resistance comes from an illusion that if we give up what we’ve been doing, even if it’s harmful, nothing will take its place…or something worse will. This false belief is a trick of the mind, or the ego, or evil…whatever you choose to call it. But it’s a trick none-the-less. In reality, true surrender brings forgiveness of self and others, a renewed sense of the ability to achieve, and a deep knowing that we are not alone. In surrender, we meet what we were in search of all along… Love.

Whitney Houston could not break through her resistance to surrender and, in the end, that resistance consumed her.

Each of us has to wage this struggle within ourselves. No one is exempt. If we are to learn anything from the loss of a gifted soul and a beautiful voice, let the takeaway be that when dis-empowering one aspect of ourselves we always  empower another or, as mythology tries to remind us, the Phoenix always rises from the ashes.


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