Surrender & Agency: Being "At Choice"

Anyone who has spent much time with me lately has heard me bring up this idea of how the Universe wants us to be "at choice". While it seems a bit presumptuous to speculate about the will of the "Universe", I find this to be a really useful thoughtform (a belief that I am adopting for the time being).  This idea helps me to find a balance between surrender and agency.  I am devoted to observing and questioning what beliefs are motivating my actions, and I often find myself aware of this tightrope that connects these two concepts. Surrender... the action of letting go, releasing, detaching from outcome, passivity and deep, embodied trust. An example of this would be the intention I have to offer my life up to the Divine. "Take me, I'm yours. Do with my life what is YOUR will." Contrast this with Agency... choosing, wanting, directing one's life and owning one's own power to manifest, to create. An example of this would be persisting with a personal goal or practice even when things get difficult or uncomfortable. This is the realm of discipline. Surrender and agency are important in one's inner life, yes? When do we surrender and when do we (despite discomfort or difficulty) remain committed to actualizing an outcome that we desire? When we really look at it, surrender is a choice, too. So even in surrender, there is a "meta" layer of agency. Surrender is like floating downstream, while agency is choosing to use our paddles, either down or upstream.   

I've been working with this idea that the Universe wants us to be at choice as a way to understand why difficulty or "contrast" shows up. It's like it's the Universe's way of asking us "Do you really want this?" or "What do you choose here?" or "Remind me what was the outcome you were wanting?"

 I happened upon this notion as a result of contemplation of question of "What is a culture of consent?". This question was prompted when, in the fall of 2015, a former employee of my company reported an incident of sexual assault that happened with a member of our management team. 

Previous to this incident, my two teen-aged daughters, Charlotte and Veronica, had learned about "rape culture" at school, and came home mentioning it in casual conversation. I never really asked them to clarify what exactly it was. I tacitly accepted that rape culture was a thing, because something about it rang true (probably the statistic that one in three women are raped, beated or abused in their lifetime). One day I had expressed concern about Charlotte posting a picture on social media where her cleavage was one of the most noticeable features of the image. And Veronica said "Wow, Mom, way to slut shame Charlotte." Slut shame? Me? Wow, I guess that's a thing, isn't it? Seems like it's an integral part of rape culture, which is far more embedded in my consciousness than I realized.

As I started unpacking how my own actions (or passivity) contributed to this incident of sexual assault, it became an invitation to understand how rape culture lives in me, and in my company. I started to see how, for decades, I had been willing to "receive" emotionally aggressive behavior from others, because somehow, it was easier than choosing my own emotions. If someone else embodied angry male energy, and came at me with that energy, it prompted me to match that vibration, to engage with fear, intensity and often conflict.  On some level, I was choosing this.  Until one particular moment, in November of 2015, when I received an "angry male" text. I felt my blood pressure rise, and I began to engage in my habitual self-calming way; I've actually gotten good at calming myself (and the other person) down. Right around this time, I had discovered this quote:

"Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you. When you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence."  -Barbara Marciniak

Everything did change in that moment. Why was I choosing to absorb this frequency, to coddle the anger? I don't wish to choose that in my life anymore. It was like a switch flipped and I activated some sort of force field around me. Energetically, I started saying "Nope, not interested. You can keep that anger over there, if you choose. I am not responsible for your anger, and I no longer choose to engage with it." 

I haven't been the same since.

Of course the Universe would want us to be at choice, so that we can choose our own reality, we can create our own inner world. I'm viewing my inner world like a beautiful room, furnished with carefully chosen, soulful pieces. Beliefs that are the most functional, beautiful and life-serving are like cognitive sculptures. They direct my attention, focus and energy, at both a conscious and a subconscious level. Each person's inner world is a manifestation of the Divine, of Consciousness, of the Unity of all life. I'm here to advocate for making our inner worlds beautiful, habitable and life-serving.