connection between surrender and spontaneity

Philip Carter phil.carter at
Tue Nov 20 09:55:38 PST 2018

Beautifully said.
In the last sentence “allowing spontaneity… to take hold” is what occurs after the invitation and space co-created to which spontaneity cannot resist, there is an active receiving. Which is why “allowing” is the word because there is some agency there. The big problem is using it re-inforces the dominant discourse of personal agency and making choices which just perpetuates the tyranny of the isolated individual using power over as their main mode and excuse to maintain their shaky egos.

From: Phillip Speiser <parksideartsandhealth at>
Sent: Wednesday, 21 November 2018 5:26 AM
To: Philip Carter <phil.carter at>
Cc: shelley j korshak <sjschicago at>; Grouptalk <list at>
Subject: Re: connection between surrender and spontaneity

Hi friends,

Great fuel for thought!
I associate to the discussion through my work and integration with Focusing from Eugene Gendlin. Over the years this has helped me understand the beauty and also dangers of ‘action’ and how 'acting out and in' is a process of correspondence that helps us understand an ongoing change process.  The relationship between acting/doing/action and being/breathing with one’s ongoing felt sense, or life stream of experience (this includes being still) is, for me, a moment of trust and surrendering- a moment of emerging spontaneity-creativity that charts out next steps and directions for my client and myself. This surrendering is a dynamic relationship shared by myself and the other person.  It takes courage to no longer ‘direct’ the action. But rather, let go and allow the inner ‘felt sense’ of experience to take form and allow the client to let that guide them towards next action steps and change.  I see this like an intimate dance and music/sound improv between director and client- one that takes into account both of our ’senses’ and intuitions and carves shapes of movement and sounds into space/stage areas of exploration for change. It is a complicated state because it is easy to lose the group and it also is at times not specific or logical. At times symbolic and other times very concrete. In the ‘surrender’ state, I am a vessel/guide present with client to allow them to discover their own spontaneity and hopefully an important next sense that is connected with their inner state of ‘felt sense, being’- hence a creative moment of ‘aha’. This is part of my psychodrama experience and part of ’trusting the process’- ’Surrendering' to a brief moment of internal sensing so the body may have a moment to find meaning and/or direction. Allowing spontaneity in a pure inner form to take hold and guide us towards meaning and change= a creative state of shared existence.

Phil Speiser

Phillip Speiser, PhD
parksideartsandhealth at<mailto:parksideartsandhealth at>

On Nov 19, 2018, at 2:31 PM, Philip Carter <phil.carter at<mailto:phil.carter at>> wrote:

Hello Shelley
What you say makes a lot of sense to me. Seeing how ‘will’ operates with surrender is a key dynamic.
As i seek to notice the operation of will on me right now, my belly rises and i notice a tightness in my chest. I have the thought and reflection that i have been barely breathing, with that, seemingly without any cognitive decision or choice to do so, a larger breath comes. I see the will expands and contracts like the breath, like a figure 8, or yingyang, the opposite never disappearing, the two mingling and playing off each other. So, the dance of active letting go and leaving completely alone. An intent gets set up in me to be conscious and openly receptive (surrendered), then it is left alone. I don’t even know if i say “I” leave it alone because i’m not that interested in ‘me’ or ‘ego’ or ‘personality’ as i used to be. I feel a rising up of energy in response to this welcome development. Attention and energising are going. I sink more into this. Yet the posture is upright. I could say i have surrendered. I don’t have to know, or direct, or even make choices. As you say, nothing is left out. There is a stillness not because things are left out but because everything is included, including stillness. I transcend from the inside out and there is a ‘distraction’ where the attention goes out of my head off to the right. The attention energy is caught up with an imagining process. Upon noticing that, the attention retracts quickly into my body again. On and on, like this, we live. And i see that there is something always present, perhaps best called awareness, that always notices, that is never caught up. This thing i am very interested in. This appears more constant and regular than spontaneity or will or power or letting go. I feel very sad. Or, my thoughts have said this sensation that has come that is thick and wet is sadness. I seek to have all the centres going: the body, the thoughts, the sensations. The great gift of the psychodrama stage and method, that all is included. If thinking is dominating, then rather than supress the thinking, we can invite the feelings and body to rise up. And we ‘invite’. It is not a work of will alone. It is a production that with a skilful director/producer is done without the usual operations of an individual ego bossing life around and having to fix things or be protected from threat. Thank you psychodrama. Thank you Moreno for refreshing, and reminding us of, the age-old practice of using drama to invite the profound to dance with the mundane. It has been an insightful journey. Thank you Shelley.

From: List <list-bounces at<mailto:list-bounces at>> On Behalf Of shelley j korshak
Sent: Tuesday, 20 November 2018 3:52 AM
To: Philip Carter <phil.carter at<mailto:phil.carter at>>
Cc: list at<mailto:list at>
Subject: Re: connection between surrender and spontaneity


i have wondered the same thing about surrender and spontaneity, and your  definition is the spirit of moreno...

but i’m thinking he honored our defenses and character defects (asking “hello are you today?”), and he worked to help us transcend them rather than to actively let go of them.

i think his idea was that the surrender will happen effortlessly as we develop spontaneity, so while there is willingness to let go with spontaneity, there is no active letting go...

shelley firestone

On Nov 18, 2018, at 8:17 PM, Philip Carter <phil.carter at<mailto:phil.carter at>> wrote:
What i mean here by ‘surrender’ is a willing, voluntary giving up, giving into, letting go, abandonment. To the unknown, the emerging, the life force, love, mystery, intrigue, innocence…

From: List <list-bounces at<mailto:list-bounces at>> On Behalf Of Philip Carter
Sent: Monday, 19 November 2018 11:22 AM
To: list at<mailto:list at>
Subject: connection between surrender and spontaneity

In his writings anywhere, does Moreno make a connection between surrender and spontaneity?
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