Each month, when I sit down to write this newsletter, I don’t know what it will look like, or what it will be about. And starting this new year isn’t any different. Sometimes, I have a theme dear to my heart at the moment that I would like to share but that’s all I know. Then, I start to look for facts related to the topic if it’s applicable, I read inspiring quotes, and write a sentence or two, maybe a full paragraph. Then, slowly but surely, the inspiration gets in. Over a period of time that can go from an hour to a few days, I come back to the page and write whatever I would like to share about the theme. I write, I write, I write. I write without editing, without judging until I have nothing left to say.
Then, I stop and look at the screen. It’s messy. It looks like nothing. It has no main idea, no substance, it goes in all directions and sometimes I am not even sure what it is really about. But I stay there. I re-read, and re-read again. I scratch a word, look for a better one, rewrite a sentence, move a paragraph … And suddenly, Bam! Some kind of magic happens and everything falls into place. The theme appears clearly, I have a structure and the words flow easily. With time I have learned to trust that process.
I try to put the same trust in my life, in life in general. Believing, trusting that at times, if something happens and requires action, I will know how to figure out the challenges that are presented to me. This process is not passive. I don’t rely passively on life, but I trust that if I am engaged and committed honestly and with humility to live my life, then I’ll get the answers I need. And, most of the time, being engaged and committed means showing up and getting out of the way. To develop the ability to relax and settle into what I am going through, what I am experiencing without fighting and resisting. To put my energy into the very act of letting go of the need to control. It’s not easy.
In a research conducted in 2016, scientists concluded that we are more afraid of uncertainty than we are of physical pain. Our nervous system is wired to look for safety, security and comfort. Letting go of the control we have or think we have over what is going to happen, puts us in a place of insecurity, fear, and mistrust. Over time, after being exposed to a lot of different moments of uncertainty, unsafety, and discomfort, we shield up trying to protect ourselves from the pain of not knowing. But it doesn't work. In fact, the result is the opposite and the fear usually just got bigger and bigger. When we try to tirelessly predict or make everything go our way, according to our preferences and desires, we suffer. Our bodies get tense, our energy scattered and our thoughts messy. And it goes without saying how exhausting it is.
We suffer because we look for security outside ourselves. We believe that we can experience trust only by controlling all external aspects of the situations we are going through. What if instead, this felt sense of trust comes from inside, from our own basic nature?
Trusting our Hearts
We are powerful beings and we don't know it. I sincerely believe and I repeat to anyone who will listen, that we are all fundamentally good beings. Deep in our hearts, we all have this light that is always shining, this solid rock of goodness that shows up for others when needed, this natural wisdom, this unique Essence that makes us compassionate and loving beings.
And even if sometimes we are able to recognize that in others, we tend to forget that it is also true for ourselves. Embracing our Essence is a vulnerable and courageous work. It takes courage to overcome fear. Fear of failure and criticism. Fear of being hurt. Fear of being judged. Fear of rejection. Fear. When excessive Fear is eliminated, Wisdom can flourish. When we allow ourselves to trust and tap into our unique Essence, we can relax and experience a better life. Our nervous system starts to recognize cues of safety and allows us to engage in social connection. We can shed our armor and connect with others with openness. When we trust our Hearts, we live fully.
Embracing our Essence requires us to dive deeply into an intimate and compassionate relationship with ourselves. It requires us to cut from the external noise and listen to our inner voice thus accessing, recognizing, and trusting this fundamental kindness in us.
As my mentor likes to put it: “nothing needs to be done, nothing needs to be fixed‘’, it is about discovering. It is about discovering the light in the darkness. For some, trust comes naturally. For many of us though, we need to let go of the inclination of doubting, blaming, and shaming ourselves and develop this inner capacity of trust. We need to learn ways to bring more self-respect and self-love into our lives.
Can you feel there is a beautiful light within you?
Trusting the Practice
I believe we can’t think our way through trust and safety. We need to deeply feel it in our bodies. Trust is a felt sense that arises through bodily sensations. Qigong offers a golden opportunity to keep us engaged in the present moment and to focus on physical sensations. In doing so, we are safely anchored here and now at any given moment, not ruminating about the past or over-planning for an unknown future.
Most of my new students tell me that at first, they can’t feel—or so little— their Qi, their vital energy circulating in their body. I invite them to commit and move with intention, to stay actively engaged and trust the practice. With those conditions, the same magic as the creative writing process happens. We feel the light. When we practice Qigong, we practice trust. We develop trust.
In the middle of Winter, in dark times, trusting that Spring will be back, helps us to go ahead. The same is true for our lives. When we think it’s impossible for us, when we feel helpless and hopeless, practicing trust can help us to move forward. It doesn’t mean the outcome will unfold in accordance with our preferences and desires (or it might!) but we will feel appeased and able to go forward with peacefulness.