I’m out of the country on a business trip and when I land back in the United States my favorite baboon has left me another piece of wisdom. Sometimes he’ll send me a blog, or a newspaper article, or just a quote.


This time, it was a TED Talk.


Did you know that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design? Me either.



Feelings: Handle Them Before They Handle You.

-Mandy Saligari




“Thank you for sharing the TED Talk with me, Rafiki.” I realize that once again, he has expressed, in another way, the message that I want my Fledglings to hear.


“When I find something that I believe would be of use, you are the first I send it to,” Rafiki responds. “Did you catch the part about surrender?”


“I heard her talk about the twelve steps and the importance of surrendering to heal from addiction.”


“She wasn’t referring to using the twelve steps to surrender from addiction, Phoenix,” Rafiki corrected. “She talked about using the 12-step program to surrender to help her rheumatoid arthritis. “


“Oh.” I pause trying to remember when she had mentioned that in the video. After a couple of seconds, I respond, “I think I missed that. Wait.” My eyebrows furrow, “How can surrendering fix arthritis? You lost me.”


“What does surrender mean, Phoenix?”


“To let go of something. But how would you let go of arthritis?”


“Why would we need to let go of something?” Rafiki asks, not answering my question.


“Because, by holding on, we are trying to control the outcome.”


“Exactly. We control things because we think of what will happen if we don’t. In other words, our control is rooted in fear.”


I let out a long sigh. He still didn’t answer my question. Typical Rafiki.


“When we control something, we’re attaching ourselves to a specific outcome that we think we know is best. We do what we can to prevent our biggest fears from happening. Many times, we end up focusing on our fears so much, that they end up becoming reality. We end up creating what we believed. To completely surrender means to stop fighting and resisting the natural flow of the universe. That shift in thinking allows what is to become.”


To completely surrender means to stop fighting and resisting the natural flow of the universe Click To Tweet


“Surrendering has been the most difficult part of my journey.”


“Of course, it has. You only gave yourself one specific outcome; to save your marriage at all costs. When that wasn’t happening, your world was in chaos and everything came crashing down around you. Look at your world today. What has happened when you’ve finally surrendered?” Rafiki pauses. “The universe is giving you infinite possibilities. Opportunities that you never expected are popping up. You have no idea how bountiful your life will unfold if you just let it happen instead of trying to force your will upon it.”


When you surrender, the universe gives you infinite possibilities. Click To Tweet


“That’s a pretty amazing thought. I’m nowhere near where I was at a year ago.”


“And what has been the key? That key to being able to surrender?”


I know the answer to this one! It’s the reason why Rafiki sent this video to me in the first place. “The key was learning to love myself.”


The key to surrender is learning to love yourself. Click To Tweet



“So, when we’re treating addiction, sure we’ve got to get people sober from whatever their addictive pattern is. But then we need to get them out of the self-harm behaviors, so when they look in the mirror they aren’t going, ‘Oh my God I’m so wrinkly. I’m disgusting.’ NO! That is self-harming thinking. I want you to look in the mirror. I want you to get to know your face. I want you to appreciate the lines on your face like they are the map of your life. Wherever the pain is, wherever the carving is, and the shaping is. It’s yours! And when you look in the mirror, to really appreciate that and to make the best friend you can of yourself. Because if you are friends with yourself, you will not persistently do something to yourself to hurt yourself over and over again.”


“I want you to start to create a relationship with a part of yourself that might feel vulnerable and really needs you on his or her side.”


“And how do you do that?

  1. In the morning, when you look in the mirror, say nice things to yourself. And if that’s difficult, get a picture of yourself when you are 6 or 7 years old, put it in your bathroom and start to talk to her or him.
  2. At the end of the day, write down what you are grateful for.


-Mandy Saligari



Surrender to control.


Surrender to our fears.


Surrender to Help.


Let us all surrender, so Together We Can Heal.




Mandy Saligari is an addiction, parenting, & relationship expert. She went into treatment in 1990 and made the transition from patient to therapist. Mandy is passionate about helping people live healthy, happy, addiction free lives and preventing addiction running through families and society.  She is committed to dispelling the myths surrounding addiction and mental health.


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