Surrender (Stop Struggling)

by Kaitie Ty Warren

I have a hard time going with the flow. I often find myself fighting life on life’s terms, swimming against the current, or questioning everything. And then I get mad at myself for being so uptight, or mad that I have to deal with whatever I’m facing at the moment, and it gets worse.

Updating to add some context here. In 2014, I suffered a serious concussion which didn’t heal properly, and became Post Concussion Syndrome. The PCS pushed on the form of my life-as-I-knew-it until it broke open: my job, my social structure, my routines all crumbled. Even my sense of identity was changed drastically. I couldn’t continue to live life in the context I knew.

Eventually I packed a suitcase and went to stay in my parents’ (bless them) guest room so I could lay around for days at a time, and just focus on healing. The PCS was a year-long series of radical letting go of everything I knew, or thought I knew. At the end of the letting go, I began to find my Self, and other gifts I never would have unearthed had it not been for this deep trauma.

One day during this time, I found myself chanting – all 4 parts tumbling through at once – so I sat down and recorded this. With the 4 voices, it becomes a conversation (either with myself – the various voices in my head – or with others when singing it in a group). It asks the question: what if I just stop struggling? with a hopeful tone as the thoughts bounce off each other. You can hear the original on Soundcloud (embedded below). The song speaks to the comfort I feel whenever I finally stop struggling for a moment and let life’s current do its thing. I have found time and time again that beautiful, bittersweet, awe-inspiring things happen when I get out of my own way and accept what is. Life has taken me on a much grander adventure than I could have dreamed up myself, and it’s always looking out for me. When I can remember this, I actually start to feel safe.

Karly Loveling taught Surrender at Song Village in 2016 – a year before I attended the festival myself. It was the first song of mine to ever be “released” into the wild by another song leader – and it traveled across the country before I taught it myself. I love hearing from people who learned it far away, from someone I’ve never met. And I love the fact that, depending on who’s carrying it, the song can invoke laughter, or tears, or dancing. Here’s how I teach it:


Alto and Tenor:
What if I just stop struggling?
What if I just stop struggling?

Let it go…
Let it go…
(or, if you have enough breath, you can sing What if I let it go?)

Can I surrender?
Can I surrender?


*please note I’ve labeled them SATB but all 4 parts can really be sung by any vocal range*





Live recording with 90-something people at LA Community Songfest, 2019

The Original:

Featured on Patricia Norton’s Podcast, A Breath of Song, episode 54–show-notes/54-surrender

Thanks for listening.