PRACTICING TRUST IN THE PROCESS
👩👧My mom used to help fix or save me in moments of struggle. Often it was when I ran out of money, she would write me a check. Then, one day, when I asked her for help, instead of writing me a check, she told me, “I trust your process.” At first I thought, I don’t want you to trust my process, I want you to write me a check. (Yes, I have an inner Veruca Salt in me.)
💪🏼 After I thought about it, I felt, proud, empowered, and strong. She trusted my process, my creativity, my abilities, and essentially, she was giving me over to myself, and to my higher power. She was not it. I had to be released from my dependence on her as the goddess of my understanding and expand my definition.
🦸🏻♀️I was empowered by this statement and have since used it in many circumstances where I would normally put on my super hero cape and try to rescue someone. Since then, I have had to learn to trust the flow of life. I don't know how or why things are the way they are, but having a deep relationship with LOVING WHAT IS, (thank you Byron Katie) helps us to have a more peaceful life.
⏰ Staying peaceful, practicing faith in real time, and trusting the process of life and yourself are wonderful goals. In our hectic, often chaotic world, the more reminders and touchstones to peace and faith that I can practice, the more I can slow the stress response and be present to the moment, where all is well. Here are some suggestions to help cultivate these qualities:
1. 😮💨 Breath Awareness: Pay attention to your breath regularly. Take deep breaths whenever you feel stressed or anxious, and focus on the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. This simple practice can bring you back to the present moment and promote relaxation.
a. Breath is another way to be in the present and it happens automatically from the genius of our autonomic nervous system. Simply watching the belly rise and fall and marveling at the miracle of breath, and its life-giving activity, can help us access to a helpful perspective and activate gratitude. We can live approximately 40 days without food, four days without water and only four minutes without breath. This is our primary source of life. Taking conscious slow deep breaths helps:
i. Reduce stress
ii. Improves oxygenation
iii. Enhances lung function
iv. Calms the body
v. Improves focus and clarity
vi. Helps with pain management
vii. Improves digestion
2. ➕Positive Affirmations: Use positive affirmations to reinforce your faith and trust in yourself. Repeat affirmations that resonate with you, such as "I trust the journey of my life" or "I believe inmyself and my abilities."
a. Often, negative thoughts are automatically circling around in the brain. I know I have many automatic recordings of fear, judgment and self-criticism that seem to play in a loop like a skipped record. Having a positive reinforcing affirmation to replace it, can help create new grooves of thought that, over time, can more quickly become the new song of the day.
3. 🙏🏽 Gratitude Practice: Cultivate a daily gratitude practice. Reflect on the things you are grateful for in your life, even during challenging times. Gratitude can shift your focus to the positive aspects of life and foster a sense of peace and contentment.
a. No matter how hard life can get, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Often, we hear of not comparing ourselves to others. But, when I am aching, I do compare in a way that I believe helps me feel grateful. I think of the people who have had it harder than me. Not to invalidate my own experience, but to be inspired by how they got through theirs. I could easily write a whole book on my struggles, (and I am) but I could also find millions more stories of people who struggled with more challenge than me. I use that to be grateful for what I DO have and even for my struggles.
Personally, I read stories about the Holocaust. As a Jewish woman, many of my ancestors did not make it out of Poland when the Nazi’s came and rounded them up for the camps. If my grandfather and his brother didn’t listen to themselves and leave the country when they did, I wouldn’t exist. However, all his remaining family members, died in the camps. I am so grateful for the life he gave me, and all the struggles that go with it.
4. 🤲🏼 Letting Go of Control: Understand that there are things beyond your control. Instead of trying to control every outcome, practice surrendering to the flow of life. Embrace uncertainty and trust that everything will unfold as it should.
a. These words of wisdom are the ones I most practice and need to practice each and every day. Of the many mistakes I have made in life, most of them were in reaction to my fear of the moment and my attempt to control it while in fear. Most of my behaviors when fueled by fear, are not clear, are not helpful and are not wise. I am learning to stop, drop and pray or meditate when in fear and helplessness. I practice growing the muscles to hold helplessness so that I can surrender to the flow of life and await the whisper of direction that comes when I am quieter, calmer and in a faith filled place.
5. 💜 Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same understanding and patience you would offer to a friend. Remember that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
a. Oh, this can be such a hard one. I have so much compassion and mercy for the people around me, but when it comes to me, I have often held myself to a higher standard. Along with that came some inner punishment, guilt or shame that lasted too long for my missteps. When I look at myself as though I was my own son, my partner, my sister, my friends… I would never want them to be as hard on themselves as I am on me. I practice letting go sooner, having inner mercy and being as kind to myself as I would wish you would be kind to you.
6. 🌲Stay Present: Avoid dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future. Stay present and focus on what you can do right now to make a positive impact.
a. The present moment is the only place we have any power or influence. The past is behind us, and the future is uncertain, but the present is where we can make decisions, create change, and experience life. While we can learn from the past and plan for the future, the real essence of life lies in embracing and being fully present in the here and now. This moment is where we can experience and shape our reality, make meaningful connections, and grow as individuals.
7. 🌷 Connect with Nature: Spend time in nature to ground yourself and gain perspective. Nature has a way of calming the mind and reminding us of the beauty of life.
a. Being in nature helps to re-integrate our natural cycles and rhythms with the home we call earth. There is a method many people are practicing called ‘grounding,’ also known as ‘earthing.’ It involves direct physical contact with the Earth's surface, such as walking barefoot on the ground or lying on the grass. Research suggests that grounding has various health benefits. The earth’s surface carries an negative electrical charge. (Negative is not bad in this case, it is just the opposite of the positive charge.) When we make direct contact with the Earth’s surface, it is believed that electrons flow into our bodies, resulting in a balancing of positive ions. (Sergeev et al., 2007)
҉ These ions are shown to reduce inflammation, (Chevalier et al., 2011), improve sleep quality, (Ghaly & Teplitz, 2004), reduce stress, (Chevalier et al., 2010), increase antioxidants in the body, (Chevalier et al., 2012), and reduce pain, (Brown et al., 2010; Oschman et al., 2015). After all, we were once sleeping on the ground, under the stars, we woke with the sun and slept with the moon. Our modern day conveniences and luxuries of housing, beds, walls, synthetic carpets and paint and isolation from nature, isn’t natural.
🦋 Nowadays, we have to seek nature, and make a date to spend time in it, as a way to visit our home. I saw this amazing documentary called LOVE THY NATUREand remembered what home truly is. When I watched it, I felt like an orphan who remembered and recognized home.
8. 👫🏻 👭Surround Yourself with Positive Influences: Surround yourself with people who support and uplift you. Positive influences can help reinforce your faith and trust in yourself and the journey of life.
a. 👭 Human connections are essential nourishment for our well-being. Having one good friend is a miracle and a gift. If you are rich enough to have a circle of friends who have your back, cheer you on, and celebrate your successes with genuine happiness, you are wealthy. When you're surrounded by supportive people, it's easier to find the courage to face challenges, knowing they've got your best interests at heart. They uplift your spirits when you feel down, remind you of your strengths, and help you stay grounded when life gets tough.
9. ☺️ Practice Patience: Trusting the process often requires patience. Be patient with yourself and the unfolding of events.
a. 🌱 A sunflower seed underground, lies dormant before it is awakened by the moisture of water and the warmth of the sun, subtly making its way through the soil. Once the internal pressure and impetus to grow begins to encourage the seed to yawn and stretch, the sprout, pushes hard against the seed’s shell. It could feel like pain, if it had words, but without words, it is just nature, expanding and pushing through the next layer of its journey. Then it travels through the dark soil, instinctively pressing on. This could feel like fear, if it had words, but in nature, it is simply the journey.
🌻 There are dark places for us to travel on the road of life. If it is lucky enough to make it out of the soil, it basks in the sun, dirt on its limb. If it had words, maybe it would be tired and weary from travel. But without words, it is just the next step in the evolution of growth, again, it continues to expand. That is all it is driven to do. If it is lucky enough to sprout, grow, and flower, then it blooms alone, even if it is standing aside another, its job is to express itself.
☀️ It grows as tall as it can, smiling in the summer sun, turning its face to get a full tan. Once its season is over, the leaves wilt, the seeds dry, perhaps they fall into the dirt, and some of them may have the opportunity next season, to wake and continue this cycle all over again. We are not here to reach the sun, only to reach for it. Accepting the process in all its stages, helps us to harness the beauty of this whole life, and all it brings. Being present to the process, expands our appreciation of life itself, in all of its seasons.
📈 Remember, developing these qualities trust, is a continuous journey, and it's okay and normal to have ups and downs. Be gentle with yourself and keep practicing. I believe that the practice of mindfulness transports us to the present moment for longer periods of time, so that our ups last longer. Then, as we learn to return to the present more, we can reduce the amount of time we slip into fear and our visitations to the past or the future.
💗 Over time, we can change the ratio of presence and fear on its ear, spending more time in the NOW and less time in our stories and worries. I believe that the journey of returning to peace more quickly as you learn to trust in the process of life, is the game. It’s not about reaching the top of the mountain, it’s about walking more gently and mercifully along the way.