I’ve been thinking a lot about Trust lately.
It’s been quiet around here, because truth be told, I’ve been going through another bout of hard. Hard physical stuff leading to even harder emotional stuff leading to a lot of not-working.
The hardest part, of course, is when Urgency shows up and makes damn sure I’m aware of all the work I haven’t been doing.
Cue freak-out and exponentially increased stuckness.
But there’s one thing that would stop the freak-outs and frustration in their tracks:
Trust that things will work out.
Trust that this too shall pass.
Trust that we have what we need even when it feels like we don’t.
Trust that the Universe is not just a passive observer, but actually wants us to succeed.
A common scene over the last few weeks was me, sitting down to write, staring at the empty page. And then a slowly building sense of despair at the lack of words. And, after that, anger at my inability to push through and make something happen already.
How would that scene be different if I could really trust? If I really, truly believed that things would work out?
Maybe I’d still sit down to write, but when the words pulled a no-show, I’d probably just shrug and say, “Well, I guess it’s not time to start writing, yet.”
Instead of trying to force it and increasing my frustration levels, I’d do nourishing things. Maybe even fun things. Because I would know that I’d get the necessary work done before any imagined doomsday.
I’ve had enough painful procrastination. I want more creative incubation.
Creative incubation vs painful procrastination. Turns out the difference is trust.
Trusting is not the same as hiding
Let me state up front that I’m not talking about just waiting around for things to be perfect before attempting to do any work. That’s actually not trusting, either. That’s more like avoiding responsibility.
No. I’m talking about working in the ways I can (both inner- and outer-work), when I can. And when I can’t work, giving myself what I need as best I can.
Trust that the universe is on our side sounds like one of those things you either have or you don’t. Kind of like a belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So how do you get it when you don’t have it?
These thoughts are still warm and fresh – possibly even underbaked – but here they are just the same.
It starts with a choice*
I’d never tell you what to believe.
However, I am choosing to build trust. Choosing to believe that the Universe is helpful and kind.
Because when I don’t trust, my life becomes far too painful.
Not trusting means every failed launch or bout of stuckness becomes yet another example of how hard life is.
Not trusting means I focus on the hard stuff without appreciating the good.
Not trusting isn’t working for me anymore.
* Starting with a choice is true for other things, too.
Taking the long view
Where can I find evidence that the Universe is on my side?
When I look back at the really unpleasant situations in my life, after enough time passes, there’s always been some kind of positive outcome.
But I want you to hear me when I say that I am not telling you to “look at the bright side” or “find the silver lining.”
When the crappy stuff happens, there’s no getting around the fact that it sucks. And sometimes it hurts like a motherfucker. (By the way, that’s not the time to go searching for evidence.)
But by allowing yourself to acknowledge and experience the pain, eventually it shifts. Eventually you can begin to see the tiny glimmers of good.
The messy break-ups helped clarify what was important to me in a relationship.
Becoming chronically ill while living in the Caribbean forced me to become a lot more aware of my body and how I was treating it.
Getting laid off from that one job right before getting married forced me to get off my ass and find a much better job.
The betrayal I experienced at the church my husband and I attended for years led me to re-evaluate my beliefs, and helped me to stop giving away my power.
The five excruciating years I spent trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and the 3 years of learning to be okay with doing it? They led me to lots of Thing-Finding wisdom.
And now, even though I don’t know where it will lead me, I’m starting to see the glimmers of good that are coming from all the heartache I’ve felt in 2010. So far, it’s led me to explore the idea of Trust, and to write this blog post.
I don’t care whether it’s true or not
I spent the last thirty-mumble years believing, at best, that the universe doesn’t care. And at worst, I believed that I could only ever have the things God wanted me to have, and God almost never lets people have what they want.
So I’m very familiar with how those beliefs affect my life.
What do I lose if I choose to trust that the Universe is my ally, but it actually isn’t?
Whether this theory is true or not, I will still be loads happier if I trust that it’s true and live my life as though it is.
This doesn’t erase the pain of hard stuff, nor does it make me immune to it.
Chances are, some situation will send me into a tailspin, and in those moments I won’t be able to trust. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to trust.
Like so many other things, it’s a practice. A practice of consciously noticing the ways that the hard stuff led to good stuff. And finding ways to remind myself that even when I don’t know how, things will turn out okay.
Similar to how other types of patterns shift, eventually I’ll start remembering to trust sooner.
Today’s Comment Zen
I’m feeling a little nervous about pressing Publish on this one.
Here’s what I’m really trying to say with this post:
It’s been a hard year for me. And I realize that Trust would lessen the sense of hard. Or at least it would help me maintain a few molecules of hope, and allow me to stop trying to force myself to work when I can’t.
I’m sharing this here because maybe a little more Trust would be helpful for you, too. And maybe you’ll even want to join me in gathering evidence that we have reason to trust. If not, that’s totally okay.
What I’d like: I want to hear about your experiences with Trust. What has helped you to trust? What would you do differently if you trusted that everything would work out in the long run?
What I’d rather not have: Evidence that the world is falling apart and the Universe doesn’t care. Reasons not to build trust. Advices on what I should do instead.
(Ironic update: I finished this post a couple days ago and last night decided that I’d publish it today. This morning? The laptop my husband uses won’t boot. So, yeah, I guess this is an opportunity to practice trusting. You know, after I’m done with fist-shaking.)