Settle and Trust
July 10, 2022
My mind spins and thrashes like a summer lake full of boats. Churned up by a world that feeds and fuels anxiety, fear and "not enough". My mind screams in agony, what do I trust, how do I trust, who do I trust? The world seems untrustworthy at every turn and yet trusting is essential. Quietly I put down the phone stop scrolling, encourage myself to settle. Hand on my heart, repeating to myself, "I trust you, I love you, I believe in you." Gentle music or a guided meditation, anything to break the spell. Breathe. I trust you. Breathe. I love you. Breathe. Leave the phone alone. Breathe. Settle. My mind tries again look, over there, we need to read... we need to do... So again, hand on heart, Breathe. I trust you. Breathe. I love you. Breathe. It's ok. Breathe. Settle. Breathe. Let the waters of my mind come to rest like a still morning lake. As with the birds at the lake this stillness allows the quiet beauty to emerge. Now I have a chance for creativity to flow for new ideas to be born for imperfection to flourish. Now I have a chance to bring something new into the world. At least for a moment.
I’ve been thinking about trust - why we trust, when we trust, what is it really that creates or destroys trust?
We live in a world that seems to tell us every day that nothing and no one is trustworthy. That we should trust this one thing but not all the other things. We are in the wild, wild west when it comes to information sourcing with so much at our fingertips and so little ability to tell how solid it is or what might make sense. Yet we must trust something in order to get out of bed.
This week I watched western kingbirds in the nest being fed by their parents. These tiny creatures have no choice but to trust. They trust that food will appear and be shoved down their throat (with love I’m sure). Then they trust these new things called wings as they learn to move around in the tree and eventually fly.
Two weeks ago I went to the ER (I’m fully recovered now). I had an experience after I arrived of suddenly feeling like I was being taken care of and dropping into a state of trust. I knew I wasn’t alone, that “we” would handle whatever came. I don’t know how it happened, but for a week I felt calm, safe and held. I slept better than I have in years. I rested. I didn’t worry. About anything.
For 2+ years now my general medical anxiety has been extremely high worrying about Covid and all the other threats in our world. Yet at a time when they were keeping me in the hospital because the condition could have become life-threatening at any moment, my anxiety and worry dropped away and I fell into a state of trust. Curioser and curioser.
Then I went back to work. I described it as feeling like I had been a horse resting and recovering in this beautiful meadow and all the sudden people came running at me, jumped on my back kicking, yelling, screaming and urging me to “go go go”. A sensible horse would have bucked them off but I am more like a skittish horse that later finds herself shaking in the corner. I didn’t sleep at all that first night with worry and anxiety. It took me days to recover.
I’m still not sure how to process it, but I am more compassionate with myself for experiencing it. The energy of the world can be so challenging, especially when it moves 1000 mph. I’d like to know how to drop into that state of trust more regularly without going to the ER. This experience really challenged my idea that trust is a mental construct.
In the mindful self-compassion course I’ve been taking this summer we were encouraged to find our own words to breathe into our hearts when wishing ourselves loving-kindness. The first words that appeared for me were, “I trust you”. It’s a curious process to feel into it without fully intellectualizing what the words are about.
I’m also taking a course from the amazing Julia Inglis (Sacred Familiar) where I’m learning to make needle-felted dolls for healing. Creating with a new medium is such a wonderful opportunity to let go of perfectionism and see what emerges - which requires a lot of trust and self-compassion. Creating with a very (very) sharp needle requires a high level of self-trust and mindfulness. It also turns out that I find gently stabbing wool over and over again incredibly calming.
This week I tried several times to make the head of a new doll and it literally kept falling apart in my hands! Finally, I saw that my intention for the doll wasn’t what it needed to be. I needed to make a doll with the intention of trusting the creative flow fully. As soon as that was clear, the head of the doll came together. And now, funny thing, I have a doll in progress that looks a lot like me when I’m out with my camera bundled up for the winter.
Writing this newsletter is a huge act of trusting the creative flow. Every week I have to trust that something worth reading will come to me or rather will come through me. I am often struggling all week to “figure out” what to write. It usually isn’t until I stop trying, give in to the idea I might not have anything to send this week, that the words finally come.
As so often happens, the words I needed to hear this week arrived from one of the amazing writers I subscribe to here on Substack. This time it was my friend Cali Bird (Gentle Creative ) who wrote about “trust emergence” and believing the words will be there when you are ready to write. Yesterday I just kept repeating to myself “the words will come” and “I trust you”. This morning as I was walking the content finally emerged.
It’s funny how easy it is to trust when I’m out with my camera. I don’t find myself worried there won’t be any beauty. It’s one of the very few places I don’t find myself “trying”. I used to worry that I would miss a sunrise, that I wouldn’t find “all the birds”, that someone would see something unique and I would miss it or that somehow I would miss the signal and “mess it up”. Thankfully I don’t find myself fretting about those things anymore.
I went almost two weeks without taking photos and yet my photo repository is already replenished (and the backlog was never anywhere near empty). There is enough, there is always enough. This time of year it’s butterflies, dragonflies, bees and baby birds. Later it will be seeds and ice and winter ducks. Beauty is endless - and perhaps so is the creative flow.
Thirty years ago I sat through a presentation on trust and all I remember was the phrase, “Trust Always”. At the time I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. How could anyone trust always and wouldn’t they be the most gullible fool on the planet? Being gullible is one of my big fears. I tend to miss subtle jokes and I’ve gotten teased a lot for it over the years. Yet now I am starting to understand what “trust always” might mean.
A few days ago I had a dream. I was being sworn in as Secretary of State. I remember thinking, “all this time I’ve felt powerless to affect real change in the world and here is my opportunity - please don’t let me screw it up!” Yet in the dream I knew the only thing I had to do was trust the words and actions that would come from within. In other words, I needed to trust in the creative flow.
On personal note, today is my best friend’s birthday! I am so blessed to have a best friend I have known for 30+ years who literally knows everything about me and loves me anyway. If trust incarnates in human form it is definitely Donna. Happy birthday dearest friend, I’m so very glad you’re here.
How do you find your way to Trust? Where is it hard? Where is it easy? What helps? I’d love to know.
Wishing you many blessings in your week.
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