Seeing with your eyes closed

“You see, you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too–even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.” Mitch Albom.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it”. C. Joybell.

The trust game in drama classes came after an event; and so the trust game always felt an impossibility for me.

The game asks that you fall backwards into the arms of your partner. Every time I began to lean into the fall, I would catch myself before giving over completely.

There was always a sad moment felt inside each time I seized my body and stood straight but the sadder moment was turning around to face my partner. When I looked into the eyes of the person who’s arms were waiting to catch me, in not taking the full weight of my body they had taken the full weight of my bodies meaning. In my not falling, I hadn’t trusted them.

An embrace was all I could manage at these times. I would take them in my arms at this moment and hold them with all the strength of my being. I wanted to tell them how much I loved them and the soul that was ready to catch me, but that trusting was much harder for me to do.

I have been challenged by trust which means I have at times also experienced fear and anxiety. In reflecting on this now and in the past I have come to understand that a lot of people experience the same challenge. How I have found ways to deepen my trust of people, the world and myself hasn’t yet brought me to ‘love it’ (the process) as Joybell states above, but I have now had enough (many!) experiences where I have trusted to know how glorious a feeling it is to let go and see the joy in someones eyes (in life) when you have fallen into their arms and when they have in turn have fallen into yours.

Trust has been written about in great length. In fact, when I began to search for quotes to begin this post I found myself down the rabbit hole one can so often get lost in when on the internet. Quotes about friendship and love. Quotes about fear, about the individual intricacies of trust and about pain – those wounds that get made and stay open which in turn causes us to struggle trusting again.

Many passages I read also involved the words God and faith. Not having a religious connection, trust became even looser, even less malleable as I read and as a result ever harder to control, to stiffen my body, grasp at it and shout out loud ‘Got it!’. But then I realised why those words are so often used. Godliness, whether you’re a believer or not, is something you can’t see. You have to feel it just as Mitch Albom says above. You have to sit a little with the dark as Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen suggest in their beautiful children’s book ‘The Dark’. Trust has no edges. It asks you to fall. It asks you to fly.

It also asks that we remain open and that we love. Ourselves must be included in this statement.

One of the quotes that I read whilst down the rabbit hole suggested that everyone suffers at least one painful betrayal in their life time. The important part we play however is in how we choose to let it impact the rest of our lives (the connections we have and will make in the future).

Gently Boldly is a phrase I have coined in this regard, often for my students who begin their time on a television program filled with so much potential but also so much fear. They are caught somewhere between these two positions and struggle to really trust themselves and what they have to offer. They are seized by a paralysis that almost stops them from doing the very thing that they love.

In gently boldly we acknowledge the fear and that the fear is simply there to tell us things – that this is important to us, that it is hard for us; and so we hold ourselves for a moment, be gentle with ourselves …and then we can move boldly forward.

I have done this with the ocean, having drowned once it is often hard for me to trust it. This fear isn’t necessarily a bad one, again the fear teaching me that some things are challenging, dangerous even; and so I must go gently. I first started in the pool, swimming laps and getting used to the sound of my breath in it’s controlled, flowing inhalations and exhalations. This took time for the moment I heard my breath with the water all I could hear was the gasping sound my breath was making as I struggled to get at it in the ocean.

I then waded when I moved to Queensland. My feet in the ocean first, standing like a parent casting their eyes out at their children who were further in; and then I sat the way this parents children might, all mushy with sand while the waves stroked my body gently.

I was held once too. A thank you I will always have for this person for doing this.

They held my hand and took me out so that I could again move with the waves without my feet needing to hit the ground. Here is where I found my dance. Where I was again able to let go.

It seems as the quote by C. Joybell suggests above, that sometimes trust involves a kind of blind folded training. In this regard I can only think of dance and sex where indeed there is that giving in again, succumbing to rhythms and breath. How wonderful in this respect to think that training to trust more means one might just have to dance and have sex more.

But of course how you let go, how you stand raw and open is personal to you.

Wonder. Meant …that trusting is stripping oneself bare. Exchanging this with the world around you…it is not easy. Do not stiffen your body. Go gently and go boldly. Life will be so much more pleasurable if you do. I hope you learn to enjoy the process.

x Kate


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