Trust is one of the things that basically keeps us alive in a sense. Without trust we probably wouldn’t get out of bed or leave the house. I know this from my personal experience, as I have been through a period of severe anxiety which came to full strength in the summer of 2017. I had many many wrenching ups and downs in the years before that since 2015 – experiencing PTSD while recovering from my trauma. I can confidently say that I am definitely on an uphill climb in my recovery – the place I am today feels miraculously different (and better) than where I was a couple years ago. My healing journey has never been linear and I think it is safe to say that no one person’s healing is ever like slowly rowing your well-equipped boat down a merry little stream.
My healing required tough-as-nails choices, some hard reality checks, an unwillingness to quit, and an unwavering commitment to Myself and to my growth. This all sounds sort of abstract so to give you a clear visual I will say this:
My journey was like climbing the grouse grind…with 40 pounds of bricks strapped to my back…two glasses of water in each hand (which must remain full by the time I reached the top), while balancing a fuzzy pillow on my head. Oh and I was naked. For those that aren’t local to Vancouver, the grouse grind is a steady uphill climb on the side of grouse mountain, comprised of uneven steps the entire way up. Just when you think you’ve been putting in a solid effort and it seems almost impossible to go on, you see that you are only at the 1/4 way mark. Sounds somewhat challenging, am I right? This analogy of what it takes to truly heal from the inside out is not meant to scare you…but to show you that it takes conviction. It was no small feat. The gold lining is that doing it – and continuing to be committed to your growth is worth its weight in diamonds.
So – Trust. This journey for me was so largely about re-building my trust that had been broken way too many times. Trust is laid carefully around us like bricks, it is our foundation from the moment we are born. We learn and try things and slowly begin to trust our surroundings and our environment. But we cannot learn to trust solely on our own either. We require care and love and safety from others – our parents/caregivers and family. We need to see trust demonstrated to us. Then we can begin to learn to trust and believe that we are safe.
Things will undoubtedly happen to us over the course of our lives where we feel scared or untrusting. These experiences will cause us to doubt others, ourselves and our environment. This is trauma and the degree of trauma depends on the degree to which your trust was broken. The good news is that trust is rebuildable. It takes TIME and PATIENCE and even more PATIENCE. It takes safe people and community. It takes taking responsibility for your own healing. We are NOT to blame for our trust being broken and we are definitely not at fault. We DO, however, owe it to ourselves to take the necessary action to heal our wounds. This is our call, and no one else can do it for us. We must relay the new bricks of our foundation. One by one. Start from scratch if you have to. Let go of the debris. I promise you this – your new foundation will be much more solid and resilient than the one you began with. Because these bricks are laid with purpose, with intention and with the utmost care.
On my flight to Mexico I met a well-known blogger named Neil Pasricha who started a blog called 1000awesomethings.com and is a successful author/public speaker. After speaking to him briefly, I realized how much I have been through and how much wisdom I have earned in seeking therapy to heal from my trauma. I have been thinking a lot about slowing down and what it means to slow down. How do we feel it? During a yin yoga class a couple of days ago I was feeling very anxious. My thoughts were racing and I kept thinking the worst was going to happen to me. I kept fidgeting and found it difficult to settle into stillness and flow. After a few poses I finally settled into my practice. I felt a profound stillness inside. Calm – just here in this moment right now. Nothing before, nothing after, just now. I realized that so often even when we think we are relaxed or calm there is still so much possibility to slow down even more. And then even more still. We have become accustomed to running at this quick-tempo pace. That is why slowness and being fully in the moment feels so uncomfortable at first. We aren’t used to this feeling of luxurious repose and tranquility – so contrasting from our fast-paced world. But this is why slowing down is even more important than ever. The more moments, minutes, hours we can find to sllllloooowwwwww it right down – the more we can be here and ready for those times when we need to gear up and shift into action.
When we slow down, we notice more. We notice the nuances and simple pleasures of life. I was inspired by reading the “1000awesomethings” blog and am going to make a list of my own simple pleasures that often go unacknowledged or unappreciated.
Here a few of them (in no specific order):
- When you take a sip of your tea (or coffee) and it is the perfect drinking temperature. It doesn’t scald your unsuspecting mouth and it’s not like drinking luke-warm bath water. You sipped your tea in that perfect temperature window.
- When you crawl into your cosy bed at night and it’s just the perfect nest of warm softness against your skin. Your limbs feel supported and cocooned in the best way.
- When your dog listens to you the first time you ask them. Those times you say “sit” and they instantly sit, without any reward waiting. Ah, success!
- Those first few moments when you step into a hot tub or hot bath after feeling cold and the warm/hot water instantly soothes your skin and warms up your feet and toes. So glorious!
- When you are thinking something and your partner says the same thing. Yes! No dialogue needed, we have that special telepathy going on today!
- Being prepared for the weather. Wether it’s an umbrella, extra gloves or toque, sunscreen or sunglasses…doesn’t it feel so good to have the things that make it just that one bit more comfortable for you?
- Turn on Netflix to discover that new episodes or your favourite TV series have been added! Woohoo!! Time to cosy up, grab some snacks and welcome the pleasant and sometimes needed distraction of a fictional storyline.
- Watering your plants and they bounce back to life. No more droopy leaves my ferny friends! Green thumb is here!
- Opening a new bag of chips. So much potential for deliciousness in that bag and it is all at your fingertips, awaiting your salivating taste buds. That first crunch, so satisfying! Crunch, crunch, crunch!
- When someone holds the door open for you. Thanks, stranger friend! Thank you for noticing me and for being kind.
What are YOUR simple pleasures??? I want to know!! Please leave them in the comments or make a list of your own 🙂
I was fortunate to have recently travelled to Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. It is difficult to process all the different experiences and emotions of my trip. So I’m going to keep it simple. One of the joys I experienced while I was there was a strong connection with nature and it’s elements. I was walking along the ocean shore and took the time to feel the wind on my face, my feet in the soft wet sand, the sun burning hot against my back, and the sea water rushing over my feet and legs. I felt the energy of each element – air, earth, fire and water – as I experienced it for a few moments. They all have special powers and are all necessary for us to live. We need air to breathe and to bring oxygen to our bodies and other beings and plants. We need the earth to ground us and support us, hold our weight with its gravity – so that we may always have someone to catch us when we fall down. We need fire to keep us warm and keep our passions alive. We need water to cleanse and nourish our bodies, to stay hydrated and fluid.
So – with this simple yet vital connection to the elements – may we learn to embody our best selves.
May we breathe in gratitude each and every day. Exhaling that which does not support our best life.
May we walk with our feet connected to the earth, taking each step with purpose. We are lucky to be portable – but let us remember that which always supports us.
May we live drenched in sunlight, figuratively or literally. Letting it heal our wounds and absolve our sorrows, showing us that a bright present and future is possible.
May we move through our lives like water, ever flowing and ever curious. Drinking in its restorative powers, emulating its ease and grace.
Today I am grateful that the sun is shining.