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A Surrendered Adam

Allowing for Uncertainty (or, Arriving at Myself) …And it’s already another new year, Men Alive!, in an altogether distinct era. A time when we tend to be as hopelessly nostalgic as we are – hopefully – neophilic. And – Resolved to begin anew. Usually all controlling-like. Man. Everything in me just says “Surrender.” So here read more..

 

Allowing for Uncertainty (or, Arriving at Myself)

5A

…And it’s already another new year, Men Alive!, in an altogether distinct era. A time when we tend to be as hopelessly nostalgic as we are – hopefully – neophilic. And –

Resolved to begin anew. Usually all controlling-like. Man. Everything in me just says “Surrender.” So here are some of the specifics on my personal plunge –

Half a year ago and three-quarters of the way into my four-months-long stint vagabonding South Asia, I found myself going from the heights of happiness to a rapid unraveling in India. It was especially in Varanasi’s Shiva-filled, passion-fueled volatility that I found my emotional pendulum swinging so wide and my access to it seeming so slow. Between jacking off boatmen on the sacred, polluted Ganges River past funeral pyres and greeting new friends in the ancient ghats and avoiding swindlers while stepping over bull shit and strolling past temples… I was on sensory overload and all nerved up about my upcoming re-entry to stateside life, and transition to the “Capital of the World.” Ahh!

One month later – and after five-and-a-half years of nigh non-stop worldwide movement – I discovered myself in my beloved homeland and, specifically, home state of Michigan – overwrought and underwhelmed. My sentiment for those who had stood the test of time took a nosedive given my overall desire to evolve amidst what appeared to be stagnancy. A prominent presence in what feels as though it were a former life was beaten to death in what was believed to be a hate crime, a family member passed away, and – sweepingly – I was suffering an abrupt dissolving of a way of being. I felt an absurd loss and aloofness when I had anticipated encouragement and empathy.

A week-and-a-half after, in my old standby West Village sublet, I observed myself undergoing one of the most tumultuous transformations of my lifetime, as I searched for the perfect place in Midtown West while every aspect of my health – emotional, physical, mental – erupted. It began with my skin inflaming. Then hair fell out of my face. Then there was the cancer scare (on my ass, in what seemed like some tricky karmic joke). I was keeping my head above water – determined to move forward – but felt more like I was falling flat as I had no option but to completely commiserate with clients coming in with everything from terminal illness to a history of sexual abuse to an overflowing of men who had never been with another man. I was honored, and I straddled the professional boundary while loving the continually re-realized reality that I was not in any of this alone.

By October, I unloaded my everything in a startlingly luxurious high-rise apartment in Hell’s Kitchen with an iconic view so few in New York can claim. My eyelids were heavy with grief by day, and I would wake up, fetal-positioned, in the middle of the night with a feverish anxiety. Was I going to lose my good looks – and business? Was I going to deteriorate – and die? Could I cave into the very real sense of being led to something greater than myself, and submit to freedom? It’s as though a voice was whispering in my ear, as I’d look out on lower Manhattan: “Everything is on loan.” From what I now called home to the skin on my bones. Everything!

November came, and the selfdom assault commenced, as I strove for connectivity and a recommitment to receiving who I am and what I hold dear. I turned 32, started “Man Alive!,” and had a vision in a Body Electric workshop of the devil swallowing me whole only to witness doves ascending to the heavens on the other side of hell. Of fear. For this boy who was often the petrified-of-the-dark namby pamby, it was this divining of my demons – this embracing of my shadow – this consciousness that the future is so exceedingly uncertain and our place in the universe so especially unclear – that abdication felt like the only possibility. Then –

5B

Ah! Last month! Sweet surrender! I could recognize the burden of the illusion of control that ego has us all under begin to lift. Little strivings for so-called control aside, I began encountering my own worthiness. Past the flesh and beyond approval. I was well on my way out of the nightmare’s delusory bottomlessness, and I was intact – I had been safeguarded. I had yielded. A slow route out – one I’m still forging through – everything had been swiped (I’ll refrain from sharing every outward deterrent, lest I give power to worries I’m currently working through). Security. Finances. Health. Vanity. The status of my relationships… At any moment, the whole damned thing can slip through a man’s fingers.

So, yeah – I’m just now emerging from one of the most challenging chapters of my life. The destruction of an old identity and the creation of a new intent for honoring what came before while agreeing to what is to come. It’s more than apparent that I am my best when putting all of myself out there in the belief that it’s through vulnerability that I can bring about connectedness – for myself and others. That after years of trying to force things (including myself) to fit I can allow them (and myself) to, basically, belong! Belong to this life. Be a part of my tribe. Be in my own experience of it all.

And I’m healthy and aware and connected. I have welcomed edifying friendships, extraordinary clients, and a gratitude-informed influence (not to mention this fresh investment in whole-person health and a keen wakefulness to how expansive the forthcoming really is). I feel indebted to doubt for the magnificence of the mysterious. To rest here in uneasiness. To exist with the unresolved. To appreciate this unclearness.

There is an undeniable heaviness in the air, and I imagine most of you reading this are thankful to have surfaced from last year unscathed. I aspire to bring some lightness to the current climate.

5C

I choose to be honest and intimate with you. I choose to be revealed and understood. I choose authenticity. I choose community. And I choose for what I do – how I go about the day-to-day – to expose and shape my principles and passions.

To view a near breakdown as a total breakthrough. To love and be loved. To practice compassion with myself and each person I stumble upon. To offer and take without judgment, knowing that I can only be given what I have been receptive to – and I can only give what I have received.

To be with the imperfection in myself, the unpredictability of life, and the openness of what it is I do.

Aha! I surrender to the restorative risk-taking of openness! I am receptive to the wondrousness of the world we inhabit! I bow down before infinite possibility!

Yes – there is this indisputable darkness approaching, and I hope to pierce it with this truth: I am tremendously limited and totally adequate.

And so are you!

As darkness defines light, so death illuminates life. Now that I’ve mastered the excruciating art of “survival,” I accept my mortality so as to fully be in my being-ness. Now.

Whether all composed or completely unhinged, I forfeit the trickery of control.

I refuse to fight, and devote myself to unabashed love-making. I see that activeness and lust are most marvelous when balanced with the strength in surrendering to blissful passivity. More yin to counterbalance this buildup of yang.

I won’t resist.

I refuse to resist!

I believe that to surrender to uncertainty is to summon an outpouring of synchronicity. I am committed to being more concerned with an inward unfolding than external outcomes. I am not what I do or have or represent! I am LOVE itself, and act with overflowing gratitude and deliver myself to infinite JOY!!!

I believe that to surrender to uncertainty is to surrender to love and life itself.

GOOD GOD! I surrender, surrender, surrender to the freedom of becoming who I am and belonging to all that is!

The time to get radical has arrived: Long live the self-love revolution!

(Being so affected by the treasure trove that is Maria Popova’s brainpickings.org, I got turned onto Jonathan Fields’ righteous Good Life Project, which led me to Brené Brown’s cathartic The Gifts of Imperfection. Along with other influences, these fine folks’ work greatly informed this blog entry. Check them out!)

Add a Response 38 thoughts on “A Surrendered Adam

  1. Happy New Year my beloved friend. I am shaken by this post… and I have come back to this several times in the last couple of weeks to let those words sink in deep into myself. May 2015 bring you abundance and a new heightened sense of freedom in your calling.

  2. Wow, Adam – talk about, literally for yourself – “Man, Alive!” Thank you so much for sharing such personal aspects of your life with us.

    Two thoughts immediately came to mind: (1) “The dark night of the soul.” As described by the Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross in his book entitled “The Dark Night of The Soul,” it is not until one experiences the utter depths of darkness and despair (for one night or many nights), does one have the joy of experiencing the light, i.e.: in Roman Catholicism, the experience of God; and (2) “Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.” This popular “statement,” possibly from a song, i am not up on my pop music, is, i believe, very true. Both of these ideas, the dark night and what did not kill you made you stronger, i believe can, in part, explain what you went through and, having met you, i know have had their positive effect on you. You have emerged from one of the most challenging periods of your life, definitely the better man for it!

    As you know, i escaped the heaviness of last year, and the last fourteen years, not necessarily unscathed, but with a renewed readiness and anticipation for the coming new year, thanks to you and the session that we shared together. Like yourself, i was a “petrified-of-the-darkness namby pamby” boy who now looks to the great unknown of 2015 with joyful, yes even gleeful, anticipation of the good things that are to come. Like yourself, i second one of your final thoughts – “I surrender, surrender, surrender to the freedom of becoming who I am and belonging to all that is!”

    P.S.: I love the superimposition of your facial image on that of both, of course, Adam, and God the Father in Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.”

  3. Thank you for such an eloquent and heartfelt post. India is such an interesting place for me given that it has such incredible history and culture. But it also has the stark and sometimes bleak contrast of opulence and abject poverty. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your observations from your time there. And thanks again for sharing. You have a very unique voice.

  4. So wonderful! I loved this! Especially the sentences:

    “I feel indebted to doubt for the magnificence of the mysterious. To rest here in uneasiness. To exist with the unresolved. To appreciate this unclearness.”

    and

    “To view a near breakdown as a total breakthrough.”

    Wisdom par excellence!

  5. Adam, the parallels in our lives astound me. This past fall I began emerging from the most challenging chapter of my life as well. I feel blessed for having had the opportunity to feel every bit of it. Having done that “work” months ago, I was allowed to celebrate the new year with weightlessness. I look forward to releasing my need for control and existing with all my marvelous scars.

    • It’s so many of us, Pete! Downward spirals, hard-earned scars, and upheavals with these uphill swings. I appreciate your sharing, and send heaps of solidarity your way. 🙂 Adam

  6. regarding your “near breakdown”–

    “There is a crack in everything.
    That’s how the light gets in.”
    ― Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968

    • Consider me cracked, Chris – and all of us broken down with the potential for a whole lot of light to find itself breaking through. It feels so, so good to cave into the healing process. Thank you for this. Adam

  7. Hi Adam, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I thank you for your openness and most inspiring words. I have gone through some very difficult and tragic times in my life as well. Reading your story has very much inspired me. Hopefully it will give me the strength to completely surrender to things that have happened and I have no power to change. I wish our paths would have crossed sooner. Thanks for being open and honest, it means a lot. Looking forward to seeing you in February. Wishing you all the best in 2015 and beyond. Take care and see you soon.

    • Oh, Smitty – you are so, so welcome! Our paths will cross when they’re best meant to – and that’s just a little over a month away when I get to welcome you stateside. 🙂 All the best back… Adam

  8. My Dearest Adam, having known you at both your (my) worst in Varanasi and best in New York City I fully agree with what you are saying in regards to surrendering: not in a way that is weak but in a manner that invites unseen oppertunity. Something we both had to and have learnt!

    There is an Old Arabic saying ‘Insha’Allah’- meaning “God willing” or “in gods hands” in reference to life’s many turns of events. I learnt this from an old man I met in Kashmir and it has stuck with me in the way in which I now approach life. Much love x

  9. Dear Adam,
    It was a joy to read your latest blog posting and see that you are greeting the New Year with the same optimism and openness with which you greeted your 32nd birthday (a time I was privileged to share a bit of with you when our time together the previous night stretched beyond midnight!). You have taken E.M. Forster’s wise advice–“Only connect”–to heart and made it your mantra, and in so doing, you are enriching many lives and not just your own. May the skyline outside your window and the passion inside your soul both continue to inspire you in the New Year — and may you continue to inspire others, and feel the satisfaction and joy that you deserve.

    It is all a journey, and hope to see you again soon to share more of it.

    Paul

    • What a thoughtful sentiment, Paul, and I sure hope we’ll be seeing one another soon to share in this satisfaction and joy. 🙂 Adam

  10. Dear Adam,

    I Thank you, Thank you and I am amazed at your openness. I am blessed to know you. I will strive to live by your words to just surrender to what is to be. Much Love and gratitude. Dennis

  11. What a compeling piece, Adam. It gives one much to think about. A reminder of the joy of letting go and letting things be. I had a similar epiphany when I turned 50 last year. I find it interesting that so many people do that at milestone birthdays or after life-shifting events, but it does help in living a more fullfilled life. I think about how the cirlce of friends I created all broke apart as each of them moved away to follow their own path. And I learned that it was okay to still follow my own path and because of our bond, they truly are only a call away if I need them. I think about the decisions I’ve made about the men and women I’ve allowed to come through my life and the relationships I’ve tried to cultivate, but in the end, the failure of not being able to connect has turned out to be the best thing for me. And releasing those “friends” who don’t respect me and my friendship proved to be easier than I thought.

    For the while, I have longed for one person in particular with the hope of sharing the rest of this life with them. But I realized after a lengthy conversation, when he returns to LA, all those issues of his insecurity that he had living here regarding the physicality of other men would quickly resurface and we could never have a sustainable relationship. So now, letting that go has freed me to open myself to new possibilities but it also helped me realize that I can also be content with being alone if the fates do not send someone in my path.

    I know that in reading this blog, I renew my commitment in releasing all the negativity around me and how it has opened me up to experience new things I never would have dreamed of trying. There are so many things in life we have no control over and once we all just focus on what truly brings us joy, it all seems to become easier.

    I can tell that surrendering all that you have will open up many good things for you.

    • I’m with you, Rod. Sometimes the light shines most brilliantly through the cracks of our brokenness. Perhaps if we surrender to the illumination we won’t experience being so shattered. I look forward to one of your big hugs when next you return to NYC. Adam

  12. You continue to inspire. Just yesterday I was thinking that I’ve spent the last several years in a comfortable rut. It may be that 2015 will hold some major changes, if I can work through the fear.

    • I can’t stand comfortable ruts, Mike, and have been through enough of them myself. Less “may be” and “if” and more “I hope” and “I choose”. You’re on your way! And I’ll be seeing you again in March. Get ready for a push… 😉 Adam

  13. Happy New Year, Adam! What a thoughtful and powerful post to kick off the new year. I’m glad to hear you’re well after all of the turmoil that the end of 2014 brought. It sounds like you’re ready to charge ahead to have an empowering, excellent 2015. I’m due to be in NYC in April. I do hope we’ll be able to connect and catch up.

  14. I jumped with pure glee when I received your email for a new blog post.Cheers to the New Year!!!! The irony of reflection comes upon us at every new year. I always try to start fresh during the year , but to no avail. I think the new year brings an undisputed boost of inspiration , just hearing the words new year brings an out of body experience that gives us the mentally and power to get anything accomplished. I think the power of consistency over rides determination ( even though both are needed) to achieve goals. Something I wish I learned a long time ago. Your words are always a force to reckon with; always leading a inspirational word of wisdom with a touch of the underdog that we all can relate to. I am now learning the power of touch and kind words can heal the wounded. My only goal this year is to start to heal myself and others : mind,body,and soul. Again the new year, anything is possible. Now our countdown really begins. Ciao!

    • “L” – if I could go back in time and answer that elementary school question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” I’d exclaim, “Someone who makes men jump with pure glee!” 🙂 As it is, I’ll know how to answer the question, “So, what do you do?” at the next cocktail party I’m stuck at. Thanks. 😉 As you stated, anything is possible. And our countdown really does begin! One joy-filled week in New York City, baby. An X and an O. Adam

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