Surrender is the New Strength

Have you ever felt the frustration of life not going how you thought it would? Then read this story, and I hope that you enjoy its message as much as I did.

“The Woman Who Tried to Climb the Lake”
from Barbara DeAngelis book, Real Moments

Once there was a woman who spent her whole life climbing a very high mountain. She began as a tiny child and could not remember a time before the mountain. Year after year she would ascend the steep cliffs, and in the process she became very good at the motion of climbing. The muscles in her arms, legs, and back grew strong, and after a while, climbing felt as natural to her as breathing. As time passed, and she went higher and higher, she didn’t even have to try and climb anymore – her body did it automatically.

At last, one day she reached the top of the mountain. She was overjoyed with her achievement and couldn’t wait to start out on the next portion of her travels and to conquer her next mountain. As she looked out over the horizon, she saw a beautiful blue lake stretching sideways as far as her eye could see. But being a climber all of her life, the woman had only lived on the mountains so she had never even seen a lake, and in fact, didn’t even know what a lake was. She watched the strange blue expanse before her and concluded that it must be some unusual kind of a blue mountain. Since the only way to continue her journey was to cross over the odd looking blue form, she decided that was what she must do.

So the mountain woman walked up to the water, and began trying to “climb the lake” with the same motions she had used to climb the mountain. At first she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t making any progress, and in fact, was exhausting herself. So she mustered all of the energy in her strong body and tried to “climb” even harder, placing one leg in front of the other, using her hands to attempt to grasp the “blue rocks”. But her efforts were useless. She kept falling over and wasn’t going anywhere.

Just about this time, when the mountain woman felt like giving up, she noticed a person floating by on top of the blue lake, gently gliding his body through the water with the slightest movement of his arms and legs.

“What are you doing there, my friend?” he called out to her.

“What does it look like?” she answered, her face flustered with embarrassment. “I’m climbing the lake.”

“Good woman,” the man of the lake replied, “don’t you know you can’t cross a lake by climbing it? The only way to travel through water is to swim.”

“But I am such a marvelous climber,” the mountain woman insisted. “I’ve spent my whole life learning to climb. I can climb any mountain. I can reach the top of any peak. Surely there must be some way I can climb the lake.”

“I’m sure you are an excellent climber,” the man of the lake replied politely. “But that skill won’t help you in the water. It took one kind of wisdom to get you to the top of the mountain – you had to make your power stronger than the mountain. Now you need to learn another kind of wisdom to get across the lake – you need to surrender to the power of the water and allow its force to be stronger than you. You don’t have to try hard anymore. In fact the less you try, the better you’ll do.”

And so it was that the man of the lake taught the woman of the mountain how to swim. At first, she splashed and thrashed in the water, for she was accustomed to using her very strong energy in her climbing. But her teacher was patient, and slowly she learned to float on the water’s surface and allow the waves and the wind to carry her gently forward, until she was hardly doing anything at all.

And that’s how the mountain woman learned that the strength of surrender was just as powerful as the strength of pushing forward.

So I ask you, pick an area of your life (career, relationships, money, health) and journal on this question:

What would surrendering fully in this area look like?

I’d love to hear what you discovered.
with love,


Debbie Lichter is a certified pilates instructor, owner of Blossom Pilates & Soul studio in Hillcrest, San Diego, and designer of Urban Blossom Jewelry

To experience the transformational pilates and programming offered at Blossom visit or call 858.224.3577. Be the first to know about new offers and special events at