You can give up, or you can surrender.

Giving up is stepping away from a challenge.

Surrendering is stepping into acceptance. Allowing life to happen for you. Inviting challenge in through the front door, and sitting down with it at the kitchen table. Every single day, life begs us to surrender, to stop gripping the reins, to let go of our need for constant control. Our muse asks us to open the door and accept that she’s taking us somewhere bigger than we’ve ever imagined. She asks us to see that incredible place, to visualize it, to allow our feet to leave the ground and soar to the place we are meant to be.

The moment I found out that I’m pregnant, my body, my heart, and my muse surrendered. There was zero fear. Zero anxiety. In one moment, I became aware of absolutely everything - of all possibilities of the outcome - but afraid of absolutely nothing. Now that I’m settled into this major change at 21 weeks pregnant, of course feelings of worry creep up on me from time to time. But in that first moment of awareness and acceptance, I remember telling myself, “Do not forget this feeling. This is the feeling you want to come back to when the world starts telling you to feel afraid.” I am filled with the hope of the future and the awareness of the challenges ahead. Even though I am experiencing something so new and completely unknown to me, and everything I am right now could be hanging in the balance, I feel more like myself than ever before. I am simultaneously expanding and becoming grounded as I take on this challenge - invigorated by this hope, power, and potential that is within me, all at once.

When you surrender to what’s meant for you, there is always the possibility of heartbreak. The potential for disappointment to wreak havoc on your best laid plans is always there. In this experience of growing another human being, I am allowing the possibilities, both good and bad, to simply be. They are what they are. And they are, for the most part, beyond my control. I can follow the rule book and heed the advice, but in a way, I see all of that as just another kind of surrender. Allowing what’s good for me to take over my life, and accepting that I have no other choice but to kick what’s bad for me out of it. My body is steadily being taken over, but I will always be me at my core. My inner voice will always be there, if I give her a platform.

Imagine if we could surrender to the challenges and possibilities that life wants to bestow upon us, in all facets of our lives. We have such a hard time letting go of our need to be in the driver’s seat, even though we know there are so many other drivers and so many other factors on the road, waiting to force us off course at any moment. Most of the time we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond. In reflecting on the “why” behind my (mostly) sense of calm over this pregnancy, I’ve been reflecting on many of my life’s pivotal moments. Uprooting my life in the Midwest and moving across the country. Choosing to leave the security of my job to pursue a myriad of dreams. Mending a broken relationship when outside opinions could have easily pushed the opposite. Looking like a fool in a theater audition because it made me feel like ME. I tuned into my inner voice and surrendered to the challenge in all of these scenarios, and all of them brought me the biggest, brightest arcs of my life thus far. All of the choices we have in life, no matter how trivial they may seem to an outsider, come with opportunity. Opportunity is often disruptive and messy. It makes us vulnerable and exposes our fragility. But when we surrender to our vulnerability, we give our minds and bodies the opportunity to prove their power.

For years, I have dreamed of being a mom and turning my marriage into a family. My inner voice has been whispering that dream to me for longer than I can remember. Now that the opportunity is here, I understand that my muse has been preparing me for this all along. And after this, she will be preparing me for something else. Every tiny challenge and accomplishment in life is a request for surrender. A request that you trust your inner voice, and follow it. A request that you seize opportunity, and accept the risks that come with the challenge, instead of fighting them. Don’t give in to fear when it feels like the challenge could break you. Give in to the possibility that you will be rebuilt even stronger if you fall apart.

Shannon Pike 21 weeks