Trust As Medicine

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” Goethe

Learning to trust yourself is perhaps the greatest evolutionary leap you can take. It is a powerful and revolutionary act to decide to have faith in yourself. But… Maybe you know almost nothing about what it means to trust yourself, having never considered what it would take or feel like. Maybe trust was broken with you when you were young, and so you never established that level of faith within yourself. Maybe you are so busy, frazzled, and screen addicted that you do not know where or how to begin. Or if you even have the strength to begin. Perhaps it feels easier to let someone else be in charge of your life.

If we are to be the authors of our own lives, we must develop a faith in ourselves that is bigger than what is outside of us. Trusting our inner capacities comes from within and takes time to cultivate and develop. Maybe you think it is not enough to trust yourself.  After all, you’re no expert. Who are you to decide the rules? Or how things should go. Who you are is the only one who will ever know what it is that you need to do to live your life. The scary and overwhelming truth is you are already deciding. Each and every day we decide what to trust; either what is inside or outside of us.

We must remember that we are the ones who know what we need. We must learn that we can listen to, and trust, that small, quiet voice within. We must learn to lean into the uneasy, nagging feelings that tells us that something is off. This is so much easier said than done. We are inundated with external information about how to live from sources ranging from the benign to the opportunistic. This can leave us feeling as though others know better than we do. Most of us have had no training in this regard, furthering that feeling that it is natural or at least easier to follow another person’s rules, ideas or influence. And yet, if we are to serve as the guardian of our own lives, we must turn towards ourselves and develop a deep capacity for trusting what comes from within. The stakes are high. We are talking about the only life we have.

This is an important place to pause and to point out that as a culture we tend to be very, very hard on ourselves while expecting things to be quick and easy. There is nothing quick, easy or guaranteed about this process. Your way will take time and be unique to you. And while we must allow for this to take the time it needs, we must also simultaneously hold that the clock is ticking. Nobody else knows what you should do about your life, but you do. You do. Your only task in this regard is to find ways to access that knowing while allowing for the missteps, mistakes and miscalculations.

Daily, we have gut feelings about what is happening all around us. The next time you have one of these sensations, pause and take note of it. What does it feel like? Where is it located? Maybe even say something out loud to yourself about it. Then, notice the way the rational mind will try and turn it into something else. Be aware of both sides. Then, make a choice and see what happens.



Where Is The Space?


In our day to day, where is the space? The discerning pause. The intentional choice to not fill up every nook and cranny of our lives. The experience of spaciousness is often sorely lacking in our day to day. Too often it remains non-existent in our schedules. It is MIA in the way we listen to both ourselves and to one another. We do not have space for our own emotions and needs or for the differences that arise between us. We leave no room for coincidences or synchronicities; closing out the chance for the long arm of the Universe to work its magic in our lives.

It is only from a place of spaciousness that can we notice the temporary as it rises and falls, always giving way to something else in our minds. When our minds can become as vast as the sky, the annoyances and problems become like leaves blowing in the wind against the back-drop of that very same sky.

In the meantime, we are filled to overflowing. And we are choking on the effluence.

The spaciousness is found in the gap between breaths.

It is in the conscious pause as you step through your door after a long day at work.

It is found in the self-control required to turn your phone off and to quit the obsessive and time-consuming checking.

It is in the early arrival for your next commitment that affords you the opportunity to just sit for a few moments.

It is in the regular use of the word, “No.”

It is in the taking of a long, slow deep breath before a response.

It is in the setting aside, each and every day, a time to check in with yourself.

And it is in the recognition that who you are is far vaster than any to-do list or external expectation of how you should spend your limited time here.

Beliefs And The Body


More and more our culture is recognizing the undeniable and indivisible role that the mind has in the health of our bodies. In terms of bodily truth, this union is irrefutable. And while many of us can make this connection intellectually, it is quite another thing to know how to work with this directly. Our thoughts and beliefs are as familiar and often unnoticed to us as the air we breathe. Much of what occurs with our belief systems operates beneath the surface. Because many of our beliefs are below conscious awareness, we cannot access them directly. It is like with the wind. We cannot see the wind. But we can see the wind through the movement of the trees. Here is where the body comes in. The body, like the trees, reflects the winds of our mind.

So, how could we access what is beneath the surface of our mind in the service of greater health? Carve out 15 minutes to be alone with yourself. Bring paper and pen. Sit quietly and breathe. Nothing else. Let your body be as soft as you can allow it to be. When you feel settled, visualize a health issue that you feel stuck around. Let yourself experience the symptoms, frustrations and fears. Ask yourself, “What do I believe it means to have this imbalance/illness in my body?” Then, begin to write without pause or interruption for 5 minutes. Do not pick the pen up, censor yourself or worry about grammar or punctuation. Just write and write and write. When the 5 minutes are up, read what you have written. Take it in.

Then, and here is the challenging and often hard to see part, ask yourself one of the following questions; “What do I get out of being unwell?” “What benefits do I derive from this?” “What protection does this afford me?” “What does this keep me from having to know about myself?” “What does this keep me from having to take responsibility for?” Repeat the 5 minute write and reflection.

You cannot con the body. Ever. You cannot talk it out of anything if you are being disingenuous or if there is still something left unattended to. It is important to remember that the body always has perfectly good reasons for doing what it does. This is not a punishment, but instead a communication and an opportunity to grow and heal in the most authentic of ways. Perhaps you have been believing what you believe for a very long time. Could you offer yourself the time, patience and commitment needed to bring body and mind into alignment?


*The 5 minute write idea comes from Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg



Last week my husband was away for a couple of nights presenting me with a rare opportunity to have the room to myself. How did I use it? Binge watching half a season of Downton Abbey. It seemed like such a “treat” at the time. A chance to curl up in bed with a story I enjoy. Only. Several hours past my usual bedtime I was still saying to myself, “Just one more.”

The whole non-treat aspect began earlier than I would like to admit when I stole away like a thief in the night, ear buds tucked in my sleeve pre-meditatively, so that my son would not know what I was doing. This so flies in the face of what I stand for and what I expect from him. This one action alone tells me everything I need to know about the long arm of technology. It leaves me dazed, pondering; “What is it that is so powerful that I would go against my body’s needs?”  “What is it that is so much bigger than my values and what I stand for?”

And that night, even though I was tired, I was too wired to fall asleep. It was another hour before I was able to turn off the theme song to Downton Abbey that kept looping insidiously through my mind over and over and over again. Once asleep, I was treated to a night of disturbing dreams and images. The next morning I was bleary-eyed and stiff. And even though the air was sweet and the day magnificent, I barely slogged my way through a run that I typically so look forward to. Later that day going to teach one of my favorite topics (ironically enough entitled Technology and Its Impact On Our Health And Well-Being), I was unable to focus on my notes for class. Nothing seemed to stick, and my usually creative zeal was MIA. I crawled through the day; my passion and vitality hijacked the night before by images on a screen.

What could almost be laughable is that we are talking about a PBS series. I mean, really. This seems pretty low on the power continuum of gaming, shopping, social networking and porn. But the compulsion was there nontheless. There is no denying that. And so I ask you, how in the name of all that is good in our lives are we and our children going to stand up to the really seductive and addictive stuff?

P.S. If there was ever any thought in my little rat brain of how great it would be to have Netflex, it is gone. I don’t think I would be able to live with myself and the dull and meaningless life that would ensue. I do not think I could bear theme songs and characters on a screen hijacking my very existence.