We only control what we don't trust

This week I read the story of a 95 year old woman who has been nominated for a Grammy and I posted it on Facebook with the  comment never give up. This woman loved music but never planned to be a recording artist yet here she is at the ripe old age of 95. As Yeats said the world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper and to me Angela’s story certainly seems magical.  

When I facilitate the Artist’s Way there is a question in the week 5 tasks that always, always stymies my students. I go over it in depth as I hand out the homework for this week which Julia named Discovering a Sense of Possibility  and let them know that we will be having an active discussion in class the following week specifically around this question.  Knowing from past experience that they will most likely  be stuck  here I describe the way to consider the question that will open something for them and I ask if they have any questions as they leave.  And inevitably  the following week they will come back and have balked at answering the question.  So what is this mysterious query?   

Name five reason’s you don’t believe in a supportive God (the universe, Goddess or whatever you would like to call your experience of a higher power guiding and supporting your life).

In Sedona this question provokes what at the very least can be called a sense of minor outrage. I mean, how dare I question their belief in a supportive God? Of course they believe in a supportive universe!  Don’t I know everything is connected?  Doesn’t Julia understand this? Since I really don’t go over homework in class why would I be so focused on this question of all questions? From their perspective this is a ridiculous question, unnecessary to explore and thus impossible to answer.

Yet, the reason this question is so important to me is that it brings light to something hidden in the darkness of our unconscious mind and in doing so goes directly to the issue of self worth, love and trust. 

Here the key I provide for my students; anywhere in your life that you believe (implicitly feel) something that your heart yearns for is essentially impossible for you, out of your reach for whatever so called ‘pragmatic’ reason is where you don’t at your core believe that the universe has your back.  It might be that you feel you will never find the relationship of your dreams because you are too old or perhaps that it is too foolish to pursue a dream of painting or travel because financially it doesn’t make sense. I mean,  come on by now you have been around the block and learned to be realistic, right?  Even though you may not share this cynicism with anyone it is still there lurking in the darkness.  It doesn’t really matter what form this distrust takes at its core its is a belief  that the voice of your heart is not to be trusted.   

The truth is these answers hold a distinct type of beauty.   They reveal the areas where we have trouble trusting the values of our Soul.  In particular this is where we have often been rejected and thus exile parts of ourselves to the underworld as we have learned to expect disappointment.  These places  are in the shadow and we only see them obliquely.   We have difficulty  actually seeing these areas as  being an expression of our beliefs about ourselves in relationship to the outer world.  So instead we treat them as ‘truth’ that shall not be named. 

The hungers of our heart are indeed the voice of our soul calling to us.  We have just been taught, conditioned, to ignore them. To dismiss them out of hand as something that is ephemeral whilst we live in the real world. And ironically it is often the very things that matter to us the most that we guard our hearts against most fiercely.

In these areas we don’t know how to trust. So instead we attempt to control our fate by holding our dreams at arms length afraid to truly surrender and become intimate with them.  We treat them as something nefarious, something to be eyed with suspicion. What if they hurt us?  Even worse what if they betray us and we end up looking like a fool?  An ironic thought isn’t it that we most often treat our dreams this way?  That we actually approach the voice of our soul with distrust almost anticipating its betrayal.  

As Glennon Doyle says in her seminal work “Untamed”  “We only control what we don’t trust. We can either control ourselves or love ourselves, but we can’t do both. Love is the opposite of control, love demands trust.”

To trust we must let go of our fears, the monsters under the bed.  

We are in Scorpio season right now.     Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I love the sign Scorpio.  It is full of passion, creativity, the wildness of our instinctive nature. But a Scorpion is also a defensive creature who likes to hide in the dark to protect its vulnerability.  Where ever we have Scorpio astrologically within our chart we often anticipate attack because we feel so very vulnerable in that area and often we have been betrayed in the past. As a result we test both ourselves and others   To me one of the core spiritual issues that Scorpio is honing is that of trust.  Often where Scorpio is placed within our charts illuminates where we are relearning this vital capacity because without trust there is no faith.  And without faith there is no vision.

The truth is the only self our Soul would betray is a false self because its interest solely lies in our authenticity.  And I repeat “We can either control ourselves or love ourselves, but we can’t do both.” 

Within this context here is the question to ask yourself:  If I completely trusted myself and my value to the world what would my next step be? 

Which brings me back to Angela Alvarez nominated for Best New Artist at the age of 95 and one of my favorite quotes from Alice in Wonderland:  “Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.'

I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  

We always have support. We always have guidance. We just need to believe. 


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