Q&A with Dr. Judith Orloff
The Ecstasy of Surrender Q&A with Dr. Judith Orloff
Let’s get this out in the open. Your new book is about surrender. A lot of people, especially in the United States, think of surrendering as something negative. We don’t give up! We preserve! We don’t surrender. We fight! What do you mean by surrender and how can it benefit us on a day-to-day basis?
I am so passionate about writing a book about surrender because, as a physician with more than twenty years of medical practice, I’ve seen that it is the missing part of the equation to happiness and health. I’m intrigued with the idea of surrender, not as defeat or loss—as it is frequently thought of—but as a positive, intuitive way of living. Contrary to common stereotypes that equate surrender with weakness, I’m presenting it as a way to gain mastery of your life. People don’t think surrender will work because they fear giving up power. In this book I want readers to experience the elegant balance of knowing when to exert control in their lives and when to let go. This is the secret to success and bliss.
Lots of people strive to keep all aspects of their life in control at all times, but when a crisis hits, such as job loss, relationship difficulties, or problems with a child, they spiral into anxiety or depression. What would be the first thing you would suggest they do to start healing and relieve stress?
The first step to healing is to realize: As much as we might like to control everything, everything cannot always be controlled. Accepting this will lead to inner peace. Of course, it’s natural to feel depressed and anxious when adversity hits, but the art of surrender allows you to exhale instead of clench. It’s important to surrender to the love that is around you for support. Mighty forces can come to your aid when you humbly surrender to life. This doesn’t mean giving up or giving in—it means accepting what is and trying to do your best with as much faith and hope that you can muster. And above all else, shower yourself with compassion. Know that life goes through cycles of change, and you can ride through like a surfer navigating a magnificent wave. Accepting life on life’s terms—learning to flow through joy and adversity—is the gorgeous dance of life.
Over the years you say you have personally learned to trust the process and surrender to those things you resist or fear. What have you learned and gained by surrendering? Are you always successful? What if I try to surrender, do so for a day, but then feel myself creeping back to my old ways? What can I do?
Surrender is my lifelong meditation! It keeps all of us healthy, younger, playful, more passionate, and flexible. I have only touched the surface of surrender. It’s natural to slip back to your old ways of overcontrolling. But be happy with baby steps. In this book I celebrate small changes. Don’t worry if you slip! Just pick yourself up and keep moving! Be grateful that you are making progress at all. Surrender is a journey that continues to awaken you. When I began the holy journey of writing this book, I longed to experience surrender more than anything else. Now, as my writing has concluded, I see how generous this book has been to me, how much I’ve softened and learned to let go. Surrendering has been the catalyst for my growth, even when it was terribly inconvenient and unsettling. This is where faith and trust come in. When you can flow with change, the results are incredible. I am in the midst of radical change—a great blossoming for which I am profoundly grateful.
We live in a fast-paced world and let’s face it: sometimes we get caught up in emotional traffic jams. You say that people can be blocked in different areas of their lives. Relationships. Money. Health. Sexuality. Does the modern world and pace set us up to struggle with letting go? Is there a way to embrace the modern world and the surrender at the same time?
When you choose to practice surrender, you are being a revolutionary, a path forger who is willing to challenge cultural norms. Western culture’s habits of overintellectualizing, overcontrolling, and pushing so hard that you sabotage and exhaust yourself do not work. In this book, I invite you to live life in extraordinary terms and to devote to your practice of letting go. Every moment of life is so precious—the modern world, your inner world, your soul’s journey. In this book, I urge you to surrender to it all. I encourage you to give yourself some time away from mundane reality (even five minutes each day!) so you can replenish your energy and faith and grow stronger. You need to be strong to function in the world. When you can spiritually, emotionally, and physically surrender it takes so much pressure off! And you can feel bliss. Yes, bliss!! Everyone is capable of it if you can surrender to the magnificent mystery of life and to your magnificent self!
“With wisdom, grace and good humor, Judith Orloff’s book provides a road map for helping us let go of our fears and anxieties.” —Deepak Chopra, author of What Are You Hungry For?
“This luminous book is crammed full of wisdom on every page.” —Larry Dossey, MD
“There is no real peace, happiness, or joy without surrender. This book gives your intellect the information necessary to trust the wisdom of simply letting go.” —Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Womens Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
"The Ecstasy of Surrender is a stunning accomplishment. Orloff masterfully explores the multiple facets of letting go and discovering personal and spiritual freedom. This is a wonderful book." —Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Defy Gravity
"One of the most important changes we can make is to go from seeing surrender as sign of defeat to seeing it as a land of victory inside ourselves. Dr. Judith Orloff offers beautiful guidance and insight into making the switch. This book takes you straight into the light: our surrender to a intelligence, power, and love that is greater than our own. Dr. Orloff nails it. " —Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love
"Dr. Judith Orloff not only writes eloquently about the beautiful process of surrender, but she demonstrates
it through her open-hearted writing. She shows us the strength and power that comes from healthful vulnerability. Judith and her book The Ecstasy of Surrender are treasures!" —Doreen Virtue, author of The Miracles of Archangel Gabriel
"The Ecstasy of Surrender: wow! I surrender to my intuition, to my wisdom, to my inner guru, and to the moment." —Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now
"My wise and courageous colleague, Dr. Judith Orloff, has spun a brilliant book--The Ecstasy of Surrender--blending spiritual wisdom, modern medical insights, and Judith's vast intuitional skills. This book will remove blocks to your inner peace, happiness, and health. I highly recommend it." —Brian L. Weiss, MD, author of Many Lives, Many Masters
"In this hope-filled offering, Orloff (Emotional Freedom
) posits that the only way to live a powerful, successful life is to surrender to it. Blending neuroscience, energy medicine, psychiatry, and the art of intuition, Orloff, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, addresses major life issues by breaking them into 12 different “surrenders,” including “redefining true success, power, and happiness”; the “four vital insights into power and letting go”; “cultivating impeccable communication”; and “exploring the divinity of your body and sexuality.” With a compassionate and empowering tone, she counsels others not to micromanage life details, but to be in “flow” with them and to look for the lessons in all situations as well as to refuse to live a life governed by fear. Self-assessment quizzes allow readers to measure their level of involvement in self-defeating behaviors; helpful and non-judgmental suggestions provide strategies for overcoming these negative mind-sets. Orloff demonstrates her own adherence to these principles by unflinchingly sharing her own experiences in the spirit of teaching others." —Publishers Weekly
"Stop dreaming about the life you want and start living it. Dr. Orloff explains a dozen ways in which you can let go of what you don't need so you can let in what you do need to lead a happier, fuller life." —Bella New York
In The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life [Dr. Orloff] puts her finger on the number-one behavior that leads to ever-increasing levels of stress in our lives: pushing through, forcing things, and trying to make things happen. This well-written, easy to read, highly practical book will be invaluable for anyone who works too hard, lacks balance, feels unhealthy, is stressed out, has dissatisfying relationships, or just wants to get more joy, pleasure, and spark out of life. —Seattle Post Intelligencer Review
"Go with the flow. Forget trying to control every detail. Life is lots more fun and less stressful when you let go from the get-go!" —Good Housekeeping
"The Ecstasy of Surrender empowers readers with the art of letting go and the secrets of manifesting power in all areas of life." —Massage and Bodywork Magazine
From the Hardcover edition.