I heard somewhere that trust is our relationship with the unknown.
How trusting we are determines our relationship with what is unknown. Not just the future, but the unknowable, intangible, invisible web of benevolent beauty and magic that holds life together. The more tension we hold around our hearts, the more grief and fear we store in the fascia of our bodies, the less trust we have in the unknown. In fact, we may even project what is yet to be metabolized into the unknown.
Our current tension gives us a lot of information about what wants to become known to us through healing. If we don’t make space and allow for this kind of curiosity, we risk playing out over and over again the exact tension lines we wish to be free from. We carry forward the inherent split that comes from trauma. Our minds react to these deeply embedded tension lines, trying to solve the problem of pain and grief, but it is not something we can analyze our way through.
As I walk in nature, I can feel where I am locked up in my body. Where I am in trauma rather than relaxed in the openness and joy of my true being.
When I pay attention to the dance around the edges of my heart and the tension I feel—the thoughts I have and the deep longing to fully allow in the mystery of the unknown surrounding me—my heart breaks open and deep grief releases. I feel peaceful. More relaxed. More present.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote about ancient Hungarian warriors; they would ride with their shields pointed toward themselves, rather than facing out and ready for battle. She wrote:
“Old Hungarian warriors turned their shields backward on their shoulders and sang the old songs to show they would strive to live in peace, even if others were not peaceful. They didn’t put down their shields; they would just not carry them as their first statement, out front, for every situation, using the shield and the sword only as/if truly needed.
In other words, they took up discernment, differentiation of one thing from another, weighing all justly without wringing themselves to shreds day and night, by hypervigilance. There is a time for war. But rest and effective strategies well thought out, carried with love and consciousness, are far more useful than outrage.”
I’ve been meditating on this; what it is to feel held by life. To cultivate a trust in the unknown that marries my own discernment with a friendly connection to life that allows a particular kind of deep safety. Safety that is seated in the root of our being that supports this level of discernment and open-hearted warriorship, rather than being prepared for battle at every turn.
Nothing is waiting in the woods to get us—nor around every street corner or in the quiet of the night. Nor within our negative thoughts, which only carry the messages of a pain we haven’t been able to resolve. If we think we have to climb to the mythical top to be successful, we can never rest our weary bones for the worry of someone walking over us.
I am so aware, being somewhere now with more trees than people, how much the concrete urban jungle feeds this lack of trust in the unknown: a false survival of the fittest that is rooted in power over others, in defensiveness, and distinct experiences of scarcity because we are not rooted in any kind of innate safety within our human bodies.
The more I open in my longing to feel that deep trust and safety that can only arise in my own nervous system, that kind of trust that allows me to show up as a warrior like my ancestors did—with open-hearted discernment—there continues to be a deep well of healing grief: releasing memories and experiences and lies I have been told about myself, how life works, and the nature of what it is to be alive.
This, to me, is a profound path of healing deeper layers of complex trauma that opens our heart and heals us in a way endless mental exploration cannot do. We can dream awake with our bodies. Learn what it is to be held in our grief. To unwind the fear in the nervous system in order to gain discernment about our fear of death, our fear of living, and cultivate a constant practice of developing a loving relationship with the unknown.
This can take us deeper into the mystery of, not only of what is dying within us and all around us, but what wants to be birthed out of this new relationship with the unknown that is benevolent, beautiful, true, loving, and available to heal us.
More love, not less.