The Challenge of Trust

Embodiment Lab | The Challenge of Trust

Trust is being comfortable with the unknown combined with hope, an optimistic perspective.

Trust is a big word

Trust settles into our system as one of the first developmental stages and grows from there. Something outside of ourselves often comes to our mind when we think about trust: Do I trust them? Is that group or situation trustworthy? Trust is connected to a sense of comfort and security.

What a lot of us have experienced around the world over the last number of years has disrupted our concept of trust. What we thought was reliable has shifted or been removed altogether. Where does that leave us? How do we find comfort and a sense of safety in the face of a changing landscape? How can we be sure our feet will fall on solid ground?

Not sure of what will happen next

In this month’s Embodiment Lab, The Challenge of Trust, we found that, well, we can’t: We can’t be absolutely sure of what will happen next.

What we agreed on, though, is that trusting ourselves lays the groundwork for cultivating a sense of alignment and calm in the face of uncertainty. And we prepare the best we can: “I have to have the confidence that what is going to happen next won’t be devastating, that I’ve done my research.” While trusting ourselves may be more straightforward than putting our trust in another person or situation, it still requires a leap of faith. A leap that needs to be baptized with experience.

Becoming Aware of Our Sense of Trust

In the opening centering practice we focused on locating where in our system we could access a sense of trust. It turned out trust didn’t have a single location, but was different for each one of us. Trust had a horizontal dimension for one participant, extending out from the hips. For another it was the back and feeling the ground underfoot. By becoming aware of the opposite feeling — panic — another participant discovered a sense of trust in the throat area:

When I am trusting, my breath is open. I am not tight; I feel healthy and nurtured.

We also realized that the embodied awareness of trust might change, depending on the day, our mood, the environment. “I imagine it’s different in a different moment. If we did the same exercise tomorrow, something totally different might arise.”

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Get the body online

Life Is a Lab

The skill of embodied awareness is ongoing, it continues to develop as we engage again and again. We practice navigating the challenges and becoming aware of the signals that are informing our next step.

The exercise Taking an Embodied Step, was particularly informative about the role experience and faith play in trust. Experience builds trust, particularly from a sensory perspective: “You have the confidence to do the next thing because a part of yourself knows what happens next.” But do we?!? It turns out: there are no guarantees! Even things we consider solid and sure can change instantaneously.

Whenever we take a step we become unbalanced. At a certain point we have no choice but to engage in the inevitable: falling forward and trusting that our foot will hit solid ground. There is a split second of acceleration where we find ourselves in the unknown. With every step we take we practice to trust. Every step we take is a leap of faith!

Accessing Your Inner Trust

In the next exercise, Embodied Trust, we used our imaginations to place ourselves into an experience that we found challenging and that required trusting ourselves. By doing that we honed our skill for accessing our inner trust.

A couple of participants identified breath as a source of trust: “When I’m frozen, anxious, or frightened, it is deep breathing that allows me to move again.” And the other: “Finding my breath helps me become present. And I call up the image of a lake, where no matter what’s going on above — waves, canoes, turbulence, fish jumping — all is stable and calm underneath.” And yet another:

The source of trust is in my back/spine. The opening to trust is in my hands

To get the body online in the face of pressure — to trust ourselves — requires a strong imagination and practice. The more tools and resources we have the better! By coupling the location of our trust with a word, we can use the two together to more immediately access our ability to change react-ability into response-ability. We found both flow and opening to be good words for supporting our ability to take that step into the unknown.

Lacking Trust

We also discussed what to do when there is a lack of trust. For some, we have trust in ourselves, but little beyond that. This is a common phenomenon these days. And quite a conundrum. By tapping into our embodied awareness of trust we can focus on and settle into that place, expand that feeling and be more present.

By knowing what we trust and how we can access that in ourselves, we can return to that again and again in the face of the unknown.

The Practice of Trust

We want to discover how to use our mind+body system to practice trusting ourselves. Once we’ve got that down, we can relate to others from that place. We can use it also to reconnect to ourselves when we might become pulled out of our supportive base and find ourselves uneasy in connection with others.

Mystery, vulnerability, faith, courage: these are all aspects of trust. And they are not straightforward or easy concepts to grasp or engage. As we become familiar with our unique fundamental requirements for trust through embodied awareness, we can better access our ability to navigate trust as we travel today’s shifting landscape.

Thank you all that joined! It was another fantastic lab:)

We’re looking forward to next month’s Lab: Thursday, 19 May 2022.

See you then!

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