Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel.
Each week Chel Micheline of gingerblue dot comwill offer her perspectives on our Bliss Habits. Please enjoy the wisdom and clarity she offers.
“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.”
– Isaac Watts
“If we really want to be full and generous in spirit, we have no choice but to trust at some level.”
– Rita Dove
A few months ago I took part in an amazing class on spirituality and well-being. It changed my life and even though it was very difficult for me, I’m really glad I pushed myself through that experience.
One of the very first things our teacher asked us to do was tap into “trust”. Gack! The moment that the word “trust” came up, I immediately felt resistance. And it wasn’t a little bit of resistance- it was a big, fat “absolutely NOT!” gut-level response.
My issue: I don’t *do* trust. Seriously.
But I didn’t even realize I had a resistance to the idea of “trust” until it came up in class.
I’m not talking about religion or beliefs here- I’m talking just a basic sense of being able to rely on things. Maybe it’s common among people who have dealt with life-long health challenges or people who have had very unreliable lives… when things that turn your world upside-down happen often enough in life, you begin to start becoming a little wary of things. Doubts creep in.
And those doubts eventually erode away at a general feeling of trust in most anything in life. I just felt like I would be safer if I continually stayed on top of things *myself*, and didn’t rely on anything else.
To be honest, I’m generally a skeptical person. I question things, inside my head and heart. I constantly process things, like a computer crunching away at data. I *study* possibilities and potential outcomes of all situations, all relationships, all interactions. For some reason, all this “crunching” has made me feel safe.
Safe… and utterly exhausted. I realized that something had to change. But I also knew that diving into trust head-first was not going to be possible for me. So I had to find a middle ground.
I started by simply asking myself a basic question: Surely there were regular events and interactions in my every-day life that I felt comfortable with, that I had was able to place trust in, right?
As usual, I thought about gardening. My garden seems to hold a lot of answers these days.
When I plant a seed in my garden, I have some amount of trust that it will grow. Otherwise, why would I bother planting it? Sure, some seeds don’t grow at all, some (like the rose…) take months to germinate, but in general, if you plant a seed and take care of it properly, it will grow.
I plant a WHOLE lot of seeds- so, right there, there’s some trust. Good. That’s a start, right?
And as I thought about my garden, I started thinking about weeds… and realizing that doubts are basically little weeds in the giant garden of trust.
I know that sounds silly, but bear with me a second as I try to explain myself:
Say you have a nice garden. It’s fairly normal to have a weed show up in that garden. That’s just nature, right? Things creep in, things unwelcome and things that sort of blow in from other places.
Does the appearance of said weed (or even a whole bunch of weeds) mean that the garden is destroyed? Or that there is no garden anymore? No- if a weed shows up in a garden, it’s just nature doing its thing. However, it’s important that the gardener regularly take the time to look for weeds and treat for them so that they don’t overgrow the garden. But weeds rarely take over an entire garden overnight.
And what about with trust in general? If I have a doubt about something, or maybe even multiple doubts about that thing, does that mean there’s no trust?
No, it just means that something’s building below the surface that I need to shine a light on and pay some attention to. If I let the doubts just go, and multiply, and smother everything else, it’s a big problem. But a handful of doubts? That’s *normal*.
When, exactly, did trust become synonymous with having no doubts at all? Maybe that’s not the case for everyone, but it was sort of a big deal to realize how many things in life I had pretty much given up on because of the doubts that popped up.
I’ll be honest- this “investigating trust” is a work is progress. It’s a *big* job for me. Right now I’m in the process of looking at EVERYTHING in my life, assessing the “weed” situation, and paying careful attention to each and every one of those doubts.
My point in all of this? Weeds are normal in a garden. Doubts are normal in life, a normal part of the process of trust. The key is to not let them get out of control.
In my past, I let the doubts take over my general sense of trust. Instead of taking the time to investigate the doubts, to figure out where they might be coming from, to yank them out at the root before they multiplied and took over, I ignored them because they scared me. And by ignoring the doubts as they popped up, I allowed them to smother my sense of trust.
So, if you struggle with trust like I do, *tend* to your garden. Go out there, shine a bright light on everything, and take stock of what’s growing. The amount of weeds might seem overwhelming at first, but as you begin to remove them one by one, you’ll see that there’s still a lot under there that’s really worth saving.