The first few weeks of 2021 have been wild.
An insurrection, an impeachment and an inauguration.
This week finally offered us a sense of relief and we all collectively exhaled.
Some of us didn’t even realize how long we had been holding our breath.
This year has challenged us in so many ways, shaking our trust to its core.
We’ve had to examine long-held beliefs and question life as we’ve known it.
We are wearing masks, unable to see each other or be fully seen.
Our trust in the government, the economy and our health care system has been rattled. Worried about Covid, it’s hard to trust anyone.
Let’s examine the nature of trust a bit.
If you’ve had a baby or you’ve watched a baby with its mother, you know exactly what trust is, although you might not be able to find the words to accurately express what it looks or feels like. Babies trust that they will be cared for; mothers trust the connection to their child will be unlike any other in their lives.
There’s nothing quite like feeling or even witnessing that unwavering trust.
When we connect with the experience of trust, we want to trust more.
Trust begets trust.
Unfortunately most of formed less than perfect relationships with trust in our early years.
Trust is a triggering word of most of us. Some trust blindly, some of us never trust, but we all struggle in one way or another with trust.
I know for me there was a time I gave someone my complete trust, changed my entire life based on promises that person made and ultimately was betrayed.
When we experience that break in trust, it is often hard or for some it feels impossible to open our hearts to trust again.
And yet, it’s a conundrum because it’s the opening up, the loving again that actually brings us back to ourselves, able to trust again.
The author George Eliot writes:
What loneliness is more lonely than mistrust?”
When you feel those waves of mistrust, don’t you also feel a deep loneliness?
Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher says “he who does not trust will never be trusted.”
Again, the circular nature of trust- how do we become more trusting so as to be more trusted?
We must have trust in order to trust.
How do we do that?
We start with ourselves.
In the words of the great thinking Johan Goethe,
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
Trusting oneself is not about trusting that we will do everything perfectly, make the best decisions, choose the right people or paths. It’s simply about trusting that no matter what life throws us, we will be able to handle it with a little grace, acceptance and as much calm as we can muster.
This is exactly what meditation has taught me- to trust that I will be able to face whatever there is to face by accepting what is and surrendering to the present.
Not easy but it’s really our only path to a happy life.
We need to believe without evidence, particularly challenging for those of us who are lawyers.
The movie Field of Dreams is a great example of allowing in trust.
A corn farmer in Iowa, Ray Kinsella hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield urging him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfields, saying "If you build it, he will come”. Although he wrestles with the decision, he trusts something in himself enough to stake his farm and livelihood on fulfilling his dream and building a baseball field.
We can become more open to trust by connecting to our own still small voice.
Nature is a great teacher in the work of trust.
We trust that the sun will rise in the morning.
We trust that the sun will set in the evening.
And we trust that even when we look up at the sky on a cloudy night, the stars are there, whether we see them or not.
I felt that deep trust begin to bubble up inside me when Amanda Gorman read her poem at the inauguration.
Her words smashed my walls of cynicism and fear and allowed hope and trust to find their way back. The truth was spoken. Living with trust is a choice.
“In this faith we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future, the future has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
Of such a terrifying hour,
But within it we found the power
To author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.” Amanda Gorman
We need to go inside, listen to our own wisdom and be guided.
We need to trust.
We know that night will always yield to day.
“When day comes we step out of the shade.
Aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
The is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Amanda Gorman
Let’s trust ourselves, each other and our communities.
Let’s look up at the sky and feel the presence of the magnificent stars, even when they aren’t visible.
Let’s be brave enough to see the light. And to be the light. With love and light,