Surrender or Giving Up? - Sunny Dawn Johnston

Surrender or Giving Up?

Surrender or Giving Up?

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I was asking Spirit what topic I should write about and I heard: “Talk about the one you’re in” and I smiled. So … I am writing about SURRENDER!  I recently spent the entire morning working on surrender as I rescheduled our trip to Peru. It is such a bummer, and at the same time totally necessary right now.

The day before, around 6:30pm, I got a call from my travel guru who said, “We must decide on Peru – in like 36 hours. Everybody who has signed up for the trip has to make a decision, not just us.” My heart sunk as I realized we would have to contact over 35 people and get an answer within the next 36 hours.  We had been asking for information for three weeks as to what we could do and what the options were … and they were not great. And of course, we all want to go.

The trip to Peru was scheduled for late June, which of course seems so far away; but the reality of it is, as far as international flights go, we could not wait any longer.  So, we had to make the decision very, very quickly to reschedule what dates we could reschedule during a time when the travel industry in general is closed. Hotels are closed, employees are on furlough … so the connections were sparse.

It has been really challenging. And I know this travel situation is not something that is new. It is happening for everyone. So, I am not complaining about it. To try to reschedule things and work on all this stuff without being able to get contacts, emails, responses, and communication within a foreign country was not an easy thing. So, that morning, I surrendered.

In my heart I knew everyone was going to be disappointed, but at the same time I held onto the thought that we still get to go. We just bump it out a year. That was the first surrender. It was certainly a challenge for me and my sense of responsibility because it is my group. I am taking 31 people to Peru. It is my responsibility, my risk, my people. They are MY responsibility. And at the same time, my hands were tied in a lot of ways and I did not have control. I’m not able to just snap my fingers and change it or figure it out or force it. Like there is nothing in my ability to do besides surrender. And so that is why I thought this would be a great topic to write about … because that’s how I started.

I had to sit in the energy of surrender … versus what is the other option?

Just give up?

Just quit?

Cancel everything and just shut down and go hide away and hide under the blankets and be depressed?

That is an option as well.

BUT it is not an option for me.

So, I surrender.

I surrender to what is the highest, greatest good for all of my community and all of my family and team … while at the same time struggling with the loss of all of the time and energy and money that was invested for over a year in planning this event. And it is no one’s fault.

It is just how it is. But there is a level of surrender that you must do.

So, what is the difference? What is the difference between surrendering and giving up?

Surrender means to give into, to abandon yourself in the circumstance and the situation and just give into the situation.

Giving up is you STOP; you stop doing anything. You stop trying, you stop showing up, you resign yourself to failure. So, giving up is like stopping everything and giving into failure, giving into “it’s the end, and screw it” … where surrender is to giving into the circumstance.

I think that it is really important to start looking at the fact that right now everybody’s in some form of surrender or giving up.

I’d like to ask you, right now in your current situation and experience, are you finding yourself giving up or surrendering?

Are you finding yourself wanting to just dig a hole and hide, go to sleep, not get out of bed, be depressed, feel frustrated, get angry?

Or are you finding yourself in a place of surrender and thinking, I’m giving into this current experience.

I’m giving into this situation. I’m allowing myself to just be in it, to be present with it and not remove myself from it.

So, what are you discovering about yourself?

Do you find yourself more in the surrender mode, or do you find yourself more in the giving up mode?

And there’s not a right or wrong answer, because you are where you are.

And that doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed. It doesn’t mean that you don’t get to be upset or sad or cry or feel frustrated. It doesn’t mean any of that. It just means ultimately you get to choose.

Here we come, right back to that choice, right? So, surrender really is a recognition that it’s not in your control. You can’t change it.

You can change the way you see it, but you can’t change it.

So, here’s some of the things that I did to change the way I saw our trip to Peru.

I said to myself, well, there are going to be a few people that are going to be able to go to Peru now that maybe couldn’t have gone before because those dates did not work out for them.  

There is going to be some really cool opportunities in 2021 that there wouldn’t be in 2020 because right now in Peru, if you are a woman, you can only go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And if you are a man, you can only go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. And on Sundays, you can’t go out at all. That is their quarantine rule.

Obviously if this were the situation right now, we couldn’t go out to do the things that we would want to do. So, of course, we’re going to surrender into the highest, greatest good.
But do you still feel a little bit upset, or a little bit sad, or pissed off, or frustrated?

Sure. Feel it. I’ll give you 10 minutes!

I’ll give you 10 minutes to feel your shit and then move on.

Find a place to redirect your energy.

Choose something different.

Everybody has had to cancel plans. I have a niece that cancelled her wedding. I have cancelled many, many events. We’re all having to do things that we don’t like … and we get a choice.

You can get into the energy of feeling like, “God, I just want to give up” or …  let’s just step into it.

I’d like to share some points about Surrender versus Giving Up. You can surrender without giving up.


Surrender is letting go of control.
Giving up is controlling or needing to be right in whatever means necessary, inducing self-sabotage of your dreams.

Ooh, listen to that one for a minute.

Surrender is stepping to the side, so the Universe can work its magic.
Giving up says, I do not believe in magic.

Surrender can feel more in harmony or more balanced.
Giving up feels extreme or intense.

Surrender brings peace, leaves the door open for opportunity, changes to a new perspective, and it gives you a new energy in your life.

Giving up feels intense and extreme because it is usually black and white.

Surrender feels peaceful and is most often accompanied by a sense of relief.

Giving up feels hopeless, like defeat.

Surrender is an intellectual decision made over time and careful consideration.

Giving up is usually fueled by a strong emotional reaction.

Surrender is acknowledging that you have limited power over a person or situation like this pandemic.

Giving up is a desperate attempt to exert power, which you don’t have.

Surrender is admitting that we might not have all the answers and there could be another way.

Giving up shuts down new possibilities.

Surrender is faith.

Giving up is doubt.

Surrender is simply letting go. Simply letting go and trusting the process.
When you give up on something, it is like you turn off a water faucet. You’re telling yourself and the Universe that you’re no longer interested. It’s a powerful act of freewill.

Surrender invites the Universe to bring grace, new people, new opportunities … and giving up blocks that flow. The relaxed, flexible attitude of surrender encourages the Universe to bring you those fresh opportunities.

Surrender involves continuing to take action steps when appropriate, while giving up means shifting all of your energy elsewhere.

Do you see yourself in any of these and which one stands out to you?

Which one were you like, “ooh, I felt that one”?

Ultimately you just want to look at if you close yourself off or if you open yourself up.

Surrender is an opening up. It is a letting go of the control. Giving up is a tightening of and holding onto control.

For a year, my team knew we were going to Peru. We would go on hikes and while hiking would say to one another “I’m training for Peru.” We bought hiking boots and travel clothes in anticipation of the trip.

Peru had been a focus, a goal for all of us. And now Peru is not front and center. And yes, that is a fricking bummer. But the reality of it is, it is still there, and we can still do it.

So, we can surrender to, we can let go of the idea of how we thought it needed to be, when we thought it needed to be, in what form we thought it needed to be.

And instead say, you know what, I am open to the highest greatest good … that is surrender. Versus … well ,that sucks. That is not fair. It shouldn’t have happened this way. The stupid pandemic. People should not react so much. If people didn’t get sick and just took care of themselves …

Like you know how you can get into that kind of blame thing???? That would be the giving up.

Instead you can have your dreams and you can hold the vision of those dreams. Sometimes they do not show up in the time and space that you think they’re going to happen.

Even if YOU planned it, it might not show up in the same time and space as what you thought it would be.

And isn’t that how life is, guys?

My life is that way for sure.

So, did you hear one of those statements that really rang true for you?

I liked the one that said: Surrender is faith, giving up is doubt.

And I also liked: Surrender is believing in magic, and giving up is saying, I don’t believe in magic.

Please share in the comments below about which one(s) resonated with you as well. Let me know how you can shift into Surrender with your current circumstances!

Please share with your friends and community!

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9 thoughts on “Surrender or Giving Up?”

  1. Julie Deters-Salinas

    Hi Sunny, Thank you for writing this, I’m new here and found you through Soul Fest, thou I’ve been dealing with this for awhile, long before this quarantine started, it just magnified it for me, I’m in that just give up, I quit, what’s the point place. I don’t know how I got here? I used to have such a passion for what I did and I want to get that back, to create again, but it just stopped, I stopped and nothing was or is important anymore, well wait that’s a lie I love and adore my girls and my grandson. But I never looked at it as surrendering maybe if I just said I surrender and just let it be and not hold on so tight to all the darkness that’s dragging me down that maybe if I crack the seal a little and let some light in I can just start when it comes to me, allow it to. so Thank you for giving me a different view. Sorry about your Peru trip, it’ll be all that more special when you do go. Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Sunny Dawn Johnston

      You got it my friend! When we are holding on so tight it is hard for anything else to get in! Let go, put your hand on your heart and breath! Thank you for sharing!

    2. Sunny Dawn Johnston

      Sending lots of love and support your way my dear! Baby steps and love yourself enough to do something a little bit different.

  2. Denise Kirkconnell

    Great article Sunny! I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for using the word “Shady” when you notified us of the tour companies decision. I in no way was referring to you, Jerry or your team. It was a poor choice of words coming from a quarantined frenzied person. I think I was thinking for myself. Because at this point I am all in a refund of any kind was not an option for myself. I was still going no matter when it was.

    I felt myself in so many of the scenarios you described. I have really enjoyed surrendering to the entire pandemic. It is what it is.

    Thanks again for everything you all continue to do to keep this dream alive 💖

    1. Sunny Dawn Johnston

      No worries my friend!! We are all in this together, doing the best we can! Thank you for your patience and understanding!

  3. After reading everything you wrote, surrender does it for me right now; I’m a massage therapist and out of work since March and I sure don’t know how I will be able to restart my company (Soul and company/Ame et compagnie in Quebec Canada) with everything that will have to be put in place for it to be safe for my clients…and I certainly don’t want to dress like an astronaut because if I don’t feel great, the energy won’t feel great to my clients…So, surrender is my best option and it helps me feel free, in the present moment and grateful that my higher self will provide guidance. Thank you Sunny for being in our lives!!!!!

    1. Sunny Dawn Johnston

      Listen to your heart… it will guide you to your next move! Thank you for reaching out and sharing!!

    2. Sunny Dawn Johnston

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience my friend! Sending lots of love and support your way!

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