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Interview with Iris Krasnow

Author of

SURRENDERING TO YOURSELF:

You Are Your Own Soul Mate




What does it mean to surrender to yourself?

Surrendering to yourself means living your truth, and excavating your passions and primal character. Like an archaeologist on a dig, you must sift through layers of false selves to get to your naked essence. Surrendering means probing for honest answers to the questions "Who am I? Who do I want to be?" and then confronting yourself head on, your fears and imperfections.

From strengthening and transforming in the marrow of your being, you become a self who begins to trust your own voice, your own gut, one who looks to yourself for definition and direction, and not to the judgment of lovers, friends and peers. Surrendering to yourself means daring to be outrageous, to be free, to take risks, to stop putting off becoming who you were meant to be all along.

What would you like to accomplish with this book?

My goal is to propel readers to unravel themselves, and surrender, long before a life crisis hits. Many people do not discover who they genuinely are until they've been confronted with a tragedy, and are suddenly forced to face their alone-ness, their mortality: Your remaining parent dies. You lose a longstanding job. Your spouse shocks you with a request for divorce. Your doctor calls with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I say we come to know and love ourselves while we are striding healthily along and not wait until life deals us one of its inevitable blows. We need to start the process of surrendering while we are strong.

Many people you will meet in my book have survived grave illnesses, the sudden death of loved ones, betrayal in marriage, and they have a hard lesson for us all: Develop unshakable soul power now, so that when our own little worlds' come unraveled, or as our larger world continues to reverberate in a war without a foreseeable end, our own selves will not come unraveled. Selves that are true-to-the-bone are spiritually indestructible.

Isn't it a luxury to be able to afford the time and money to surrender to yourself?

What I'm talking about is not a luxury; surrendering to yourself is a necessity. This process has very little to do with money, it's an emotional and spiritual shift that is assessable to everyone, rich and poor. Whatever your circumstances happen to be, every person needs to take even a couple of hours a week to experience some joy, some playfulness, some creativity that links you directly to your soul.

I'm thinking about one woman I interviewed for this book named Bernice, a single mother who makes her living as a housekeeper and babysitter, often working two or three jobs a day. Bernice cannot afford to concentrate solely on her music, the passion of her soul, but she has never stopped singing or playing the piano, even in the toughest of times. Bernice attends weekly choir rehearsals, and her rich alto-tenor can be heard every Sunday morning in a Baptist church in North Carolina. As she puts it: "Singing gets me to my soul. It keeps me from getting depressed." We all need to chisel out some time for recreation, literally to re-create ourselves, with a sport or a hobby that binds us to our essence.

The chapter called "Can Botox Fix Your Soul?" seems to come down hard on plastic surgery. Why so critical?

Men and women seeking plastic surgery need to make sure they are doing so for the right reasons. Those who think a facelift or lifting other body parts can resurrect a sagging life are setting themselves up for disaster: We must lift our hearts in order to achieve sustained happiness. The best candidates for cosmetic procedures are those people who aren't looking for quick solutions to an empty life; their lives are already full yet they simply want to look better, by getting noses straightened or other minor, surface detailing.
We all have friends who go at it again and again, with repeated liposuction and implant procedures, and multiple Botox treatments, and to what end? Even in the hands of the most wondrous of surgeons, you can never win the race against time. Wrinkles and rolls return. So I say we work on accepting the vision in our mirrors as the aging process naturally unfolds, staying in the best possible shape with a healthy diet and committed exercise program.

Those of us striding swiftly into middle age need to band together to shatter any lingering myths that being sexy and whole has anything to do with age. I would never want to be 27 again. At 27 I was floundering; at 47, I know exactly who I am. There are plenty of mature, un-retouched characters in Surrendering to Yourself with sexy, adventurous, very hot lives. When you are passionate about who you are and what you are doing, added lines and increasing strands of gray don't seem to matter as much.

Your previous books were geared toward Baby Boomers with families. Is Surrendering to Yourself targeted to the same market?

Although this book will be particularly appealing to midlifers hungry to change their lives, Surrendering to Yourself is really for everybody. One of my favorite sections of the book is called "Growing Old With Finesse", featuring daring seniors in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who can't wait to get out of bed each morning because they have work they love, and a network of loving relationships. I also speak directly to young readers in their 20s, stressing how important it is not to leave college without figuring out something they are passionate about beyond going to parties; that they need to discover a stirring in their hearts that feels challenging, inspiring, spiritually right. Because what young people are drawn to early on can be molded into a successful and satisfying career. Too many seniors are remorseful that they didn't act on the passions of their youth. And now they are 66, in a longtime job they can't stand.

The book's over-riding message to every generation is this: Get on with your dreams with great gusto -- now. We only get one shot at creating a life that is real, a life that is aligned with the passion of your soul.

The idea of plugging into the passion of your soul may seem too ethereal for some people. Can you bring this down to earth?

This concept is actually as earthy as you can get, and translates into this: Don't abandon a childhood vocation or other forms of play you once loved, but left. Dig out your old ice skates, dust off your guitar, get back on a horse, take piano lessons again. Re-connect with the old seeds of yourself and I guarantee an abundance of raw, soul energy will come flooding back. We feel the passions of our soul when we are children without even realizing it, as we exalt and excel in certain sports or an area of artistic expression. Then, those primal selves get buried with time and responsibility. Plugging into your passion means going back to something that felt good and right and liberating. Whatever our day jobs happens to be, we all need to stay true to the work of our soul -- delving into some form of heartfelt play, even if it's just a couple hours a week. Or else we are at risk of drying up inside.

Iris Krasnow is the author of SURRENDERING TO YOURSELF: You Are YourOwn Soul Mate (Miramax Books; Price: $23.95 Pages: 288; ISBN: 0-7868-6913-5).

Who am I? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? In Surrendering to Yourself, Iris Krasnow takes readers on the ultimate journey into full and loving self-knowledge.

In a powerful blend of personal narrative and interviews, Krasnow shows us how to listen to our gut instincts, resurrect childhood dreams, and plug into the passion of our souls. In these uncertain times, Krasnow urges to surrender to our true selves now, and not to put off becoming the person we were meant to be all along. Iris Krasnow is the author of Surrendering to Motherhood and Surrendering to Marriage.

Her work is featured in many national publications, including The Washington Post and Parade magazine.


Read excerpt from the book


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