May 25

The White Flag

In battle the white flag is raised as a sign of surrender and also as a signal for a cease fire in order to open the lines of communication and come to terms with the other side.  We often consider this gesture a sign of weakness, even cowardice, when in truth the call for peace always takes both wisdom and courage.

“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.”  ~  Jack Kornfield

About the time we get to the Third Step in Twelve Step Programs some of us begin to feel uneasy about what we’re being asked to do.  The fear of surrender and the perception of weakness or giving up the fight can stir up some resistance.  As we begin to more fully understand what we’re fighting for and the purpose of recovery we recognize that the greatest conflict we face is the one we’ve waged against ourselves. Our tactics have been working against us and we must change our course of action if we hope to win anything of value.  It is time to call for a truce while we regain our bearings.  We can use the white flag as a powerful reminder for choosing serenity and letting go.

Consider the following from Wikipedia, “The white flag is an internationally recognized protective sign of truce or ceasefire, and request for negotiation.  A white flag signifies to all that an approaching negotiator is unarmed, with an intent to surrender or a desire to communicate. Persons carrying or waving a white flag are not to be fired upon, nor are they allowed to open fire.”

We all have our battles in life and some of them have gone on for far too long.  Raising the white flag does not necessarily imply defeat.  Knowing when to cut our losses and realizing that cost has already been too great is part of claiming victory.  We have chosen to step out of the fray into a quieter place where we can see more clearly.   We assess our situation with rigorous honesty and come to terms with the futility of the struggle.  We begin to open the lines of communication with others by laying down our own weapons as we become willing to lower our defenses and connect with our Higher Power.

When we agree that we must revise our strategies and choose peace we are led to the Source of all true strength.  Recovery is not for cowards, it takes great courage to raise the flag and face the truth that this war can never be won if we continue to fight in fear and anger.  Surrender and claim a power that is greater than your own.  Claim the protection, the wisdom, the strength and the courage to direct your energy toward serenity and healing.

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