As many of you know, I like to set a theme word each year– an overarching essence or frequency that I can tune into. I find it extremely helpful to reach for this mantra or touchstone whenever I need guidance moving forward or if I’m feeling lost or confused.
Prior to 2015, my 30-odd years on the planet had been dominated by Control— me feeling this pervasive, gnawing need to bend time, manipulate circumstances, and essentially strain, twist, defy, program, plan, push, and shape my existence (right down to the microfiber!) through sheer willpower and clever strategizing.
By the time 2015 rolled around, I was pretty exhausted. Sure, I had achieved a great many things and was living a wonderful life on most counts, but I highly doubted my capacity to sustain the sheer force that was required to will my life forward for much longer. I had no idea whether I could trust, how I could trust, or even what I would be called upon to trust, but it was obvious to me that I needed to trust– something, someone, myself, anything*.
So in spite of my nervousness, I declared 2015 as The Year of Trust and waited (albeit cautiously and with my breath held for what felt like eternity) to see what would happen.
Well. The first few months of the year felt like sheer comedy, and I was an unwitting stooge. Daily– sometimes second by second– I would catch myself straining with something or other in my life: my body, my diet, my business (or lack thereof), my thoughts, my habits, my fears, or my husband. Heh. I’d notice how hard I was trying or how much effort I was expending into trying to change something on a very regular basis (and by ‘regular basis’, I mean ‘almost constantly’).
I was always trying to speed something up or slow something down.
Very rarely would I allow myself to be present. In the now. I was always afraid that my life (and probably the whole universe) would rip apart at the seams and utterly collapse if I wasn’t personally in charge of everything. And then in a comical flash of insight I’d remember, ‘Oh right! TRUST. I can trust this. Relax. Trust, not control. OK. I’ve got this. I can do this. Trust!’
(… only to find myself three seconds later wound up tighter than a top and believing with every ounce of my brainpower that it was my responsibility to fix and control EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Oh dear.)
My word for 2014 had been ‘Ease’, and that year had ended with an astonishing, catastrophic, hilarious lack of ease. So by March of 2015, I predicted that I was going to bomb the Year of Trust as well. I was going to crash and burn with Trust so hard– I felt certain of it! I was remarkably inept at going with the flow or letting things unfold as they would.
In late March, while I was still trying to control everything and finding it a mighty challenge to trust, I debated never setting a theme word again, especially if all these saccharine, Disney-sanctioned words served to do was to make me feel like a colossal failure. In retrospect, I refer to this period as my ‘Trust: Boo, Hiss!’ phase. But with the benefit of hindsight as well, I can also see how I kept myself open and receptive to trust. Even though my life, if anything, seemed to be a gigantic parody of trusting at that point, I plodded forward and carried on, all the while intending, “I am willing to trust. I am willing to trust.”
And wouldn’t you know it? By April… something finally shifted.
For the first time in… forever… I experienced my energy lifting– dissipating quietly like fog in the warm, afternoon sunshine. This was a noticeable lightness. A tangible sense of open space. I suddenly noticed myself trusting, too (of all the crazy things to do!) It surprised and delighted me every time this happened– me noticing myself trusting! Go, me! I became open, willing, and able to let the world unfold… or not… as it would. At its own pace. In its own way. Huh!
So what happened, exactly? How did I flip from ‘anal control freak’ to ‘easy-rolling woman, filled with implicit trust’ almost overnight?
Honestly, this feels like a case of ‘practice makes perfect’, minus (of course) the loaded implication that I was suddenly a beacon of unwavering, perfect trust. Ha. It was the practice part that mattered the most!
No matter how many times I failed (which was a lot), and no matter how many times I chose ‘micromanage it all!’ over ‘trust that everything will work out’ (which was also a lot), again and again, I simply trusted I could trust.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t– and still don’t– know precisely how to trust. It’s not exactly something you can break down into discrete, easily implemented steps and publish a handy How To guide for. But! I do know this:
The very moment that I stopped ‘monitoring’ how well I was trusting– you know, when I stopped measuring, evaluating, and otherwise trying to control how well I was trusting– that was the moment when trusting could happen naturally.
(Note to people who will choose Trust as one of their guiding words in future years: trying to control your trusting process defeats. the. purpose.)
So what unfolded during the rest of 2015, when I was finally able to let Trust do the driving? So many awesome things!
- I stumbled upon my life’s work and my soul purpose, after years of searching in vain for That Thing I would gleefully do for free (but love being paid to do, too!)
- I bought a freaking house! (After spending five freaking months on vacation, too!)
- I magically– overnight, without any struggles or qualms whatsoever– dropped sugar from my diet, after a billion unsuccessful times of trying to take it out before. Boom! Overnight– Sugar! Out! (It’s been close to 9 easy breezy months since this happened, and my previous record without sugar was 3 months… of pain, suffering, and deprivation. As soon as I stopped planning to give sugar up, and as soon as I stopped mapping out a long and tortuous road of Not Eating Sugar ahead of me… it fell out of my diet like an overripe peach from a tree. Done!)
- I let my willingness to trust turn a bad situation involving stolen a credit card number (mine) into a fantastic situation involving free registration fees for a festival I was planning to attend.
- … and many other small and monumental occurrences that never would have happened if I still insisted on being in charge!
More than anything, my Year of Trust taught me to harmonize and synchronize with the waves of the universe as best as possible, rather than to resist the flow or to try and force it to go faster (<– an impossible feat, by the way).
Whereas before, Old Me would have tried to speed up my ‘success’ or to slow down the inevitable endings or declines, 2015 Me learned how to roll with Divine Timing. If I let things go when they were ready to be released– rather than clinging to them just a little bit longer— new, incredible things rushed in right away to replace them. When I relaxed in the low tides instead of trying to force big waves to crest in my business, lo and behold, the waves of opportunity that eventually came my way were way better than anything I could have ‘made happen’ on my own.
I am happy (and totally proud) to report that my Year of Trust was a smashing success!
It totally didn’t start off that way (at all), but I’m so glad that some teeny, tiny part of me trusted (ha) that it would and prevented me from abandoning my quest prematurely. xo
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*Please let it be known that I trust my dear husband, Marty, implicitly and always. This was the case even before the Year of Trust made it official. 😉