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A Lesson in Surrender

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

The day that Tom Petty died I was writing a response to a bogus bullying complaint that was made against me. The experience of having to continue to work with my accuser and the lack of support from my manager caused me to suffer from acute anxiety and adjustment disorder. I lodged a work cover claim, took extended sick leave and whilst I was on leave I received a first and final warning from my boss where he accepted that I had been bullying my colleague, despite the detailed evidence to the contrary.

This began the hardest challenge of my life, I was not working, had no income and suffering from a mental illness for a period of seven months. In addition, I lodged and fought two work cover claims (which were both initially declined), appealed the two work cover decisions with the workplace regulator, engaged an employment lawyer, lodging a stop bullying order with the fair work commission, dealt with a miscarriage, my husband lost his job and I eventually tried to find a job.

I have always known that I am a resilient person, but this time taught me what I can truly endure. To be in a heightened state of anxiety and liaising with WorkCover, a vindictive employer, the fair work commission, lawyers, insurance companies and creditors was a time that nearly broke me but I knew I could get through it. I knew that if I didn’t fight no one else would, I had the resilience, financial capacity and support network to get through it. Through that time the universe was watching over me (although I may not have believed it at the time), I always had just enough money, time, patience and resilience to keep going. I relied heavily on my yoga practise and walking with my dog to manage my anxiety, I should have lost 15 kg with the amount of exercise that I was doing but alas the cortisol surging through my body put a stop to that!

I am eternally grateful to my yoga practise for helping me through this time, my lesson in Surrender is very clear in my mind. I was lying in savasana after my teacher, Ruthie had taken me through an energising practise with the theme of surrendering and acceptance. A few hours later I was due to meet with the industrial relations regulator to finalise the work cover claim that I was appealing, it was the last role of the dice, the last chance I had for the workcover decision to be overturned and to be compensated for my workplace injury. As I lay there, exhausted, I let go, I surrendered it all to the universe, the sun streamed through the window, I saw a glow of blue and I knew that everything would be ok. A weight had been lifted and I was free.

Twelve months after Tom Petty died, the claim had been accepted I had been reimbursed for wages, medical expenses and psychological counselling. Throughout this time there was a song playing softly in my head as I exercised and in my darkest moments. I learnt that even though you can stand me up at the gates of hell and I won’t back down, the niyama lesson of Ishvara- Pranidhana (surrender) needed to be embraced it in its fullness to win the real battle.

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