Trust kept knocking…

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I set out to write about trust and ended up with a post on hope. That was a week ago.

These thoughts crossed my mind as I attempted to begin. Do you need trust to hope? Can hope be sustained without trust? And this line of enquiry got me to the hope post.

Hope is spiritual. It is an innate sense which has propelled human behaviour and societal changes. It is the “there must be something better”, the “we can improve on this” and ultimately “there is a tomorrow” to which humankind anticipates.

But it seems trust is not about to leave until I deal with it. So here it is.

 

Trust is the glue of life. … It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.   ~ Stephen Covey

Trust comes from the human experience of being with each other. Trust is relational. We are not born with an innate sense of trust. Trust is cultivated over a series of words and actions between people – parents and children, sibling to sibling, romantic partners, friends and colleagues… etc.

Because it is relational, trust is perhaps harder to access and maintain. We are working with someone else’ expression of trust, someone who carries with him or her a different worldview or lifestyle from ours. To understand this of each other and to create a trust relationship is tough indeed.

We often look to another’s words and actions as guidance to our sense of trust. The lawyer in me puts it this way. What has he done to prove I can trust him? What did she say which proved she cannot be trusted? And how much of this “feeling” can I trust of myself?

The reality is we will never know for certain. What holds a relationship of trust is the set of “norms and rules” that you and I have created around this relationship. It is the authenticity of us with each other that builds trust. Consider your relationships – the sibling you would trust to have your back no matter what but not when it comes to choosing your wedding dress; the friend whom you will call upon in times of material need but not for emotional support. It is circumstantial. An inherent element of reliability is required for any relationship of trust.

Let’s not however jump to judgment. To cultivate trust requires time. It requires patience, and the desire and the curiosity to explore what makes another tick. And if their tick matches our tock, then we are heading in the same direction.

 

“What we know matters but who we are matters more.”   ~ Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

It is worthwhile asking – how often do we examine our own words and behaviours, to assess if we are worthy of another’s trust? If authenticity in relating is required, how authentic, genuine, real have we been?

I have written about my friendships and the notion that every friend knows something about me, but not every friend knows everything about me. A thought – if every friend gets together, will they collectively know all there is to know of me? 🙂  I digress.

Being authentic does not mean wearing our heart on our sleeve or baring our soul to all asunder at all times. We get to choose when, how much and how soon. It means when we choose to do, we do so with truth and integrity. We are not faking it for reciprocity or to achieve an end.

To be trustworthy is to be real. To be open, vulnerable on our road to connect with another. Sometimes, it may backfire. Disappointment and betrayal are possible. Yet at least one of us has to be bold, to dare to risk the pain… one of us has to have the strength of character to trust one more time…again and again.

When our real-ness through our values in action meets another in their real-ness, we see the beginning of a trust relationship.

 

“Don’t wait for them to prove themselves to you. Trust them.”   ~ Karl Eikenberry

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

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The box of a past

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I am humbled, again.

There are many joys in my work as a psychotherapist yet few would beat this.

It is a privilege each time a client enters the therapy room and engages with me in the therapy process. I am entrusted with one’s deepest feelings, darkest moments, fearful thoughts and liberating actions; in one’s most honest voice. It takes boldness to step into the therapy process and such courage to persist. I have encountered my light and my shadow through therapy, and I know while I have learnt much about myself and my relationships, the journey of self-discovery is confronting and at times perilous.

Yet today, a young woman gave me a gift so precious that I had to keep my tears in check. A young woman who has gone through fire gathered her strength to confront her past, contained within a box she had long avoided. She had offered to bring this box into our space and for the first time after many years, share its contents with me.

Once again, I am grateful for this calling, for the opportunity to create a holding space, for the trust brought into our therapeutic relationship.

All of us need a safe place we can go to confront our demons, and I am honored that I am that space for her.

And in that moment as she makes her suggestion, I know I am where I belong.

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Words on fear and doubt

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Some of you may know this of me, that I find comfort and inspiration in words.

So here are some words I have gathered around me this past weeks on my little trip of introspection and reflection.

I hope these words take you on a little side-trip to new territory, or re-visit familiar places of comfort and joy.

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.  ~ Henri Poincare

How often have we been told to not doubt? This I believe, that to be open to possibilities, to be adaptable and responsive to our world require a healthy dose of doubt. It is the tiny cracks appearing on the polished facade of certainty and perfection – it adds character and invites closer attention. Don’t you think?

There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.  ~ Alfred Tennyson

And to moving on in spite of doubt, or maybe because of it, suggests to me greater belief and faith in our selves, our relationships, our humanity. We don’t need guarantees of safety to venture out into the world. There is no absolute solution, no certainty –  only faith and perspectives.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.  ~ Helen Keller

Our fear of what could go wrong, our doubt of what could go right… feel somewhat dangerous; they threaten our sense of self, our identity in the world. Yet it is only dangerous and threatening if we strive to hold onto what is, or to the ‘greater what could be’. Life is fluid; and if we approach with a ‘come what may’ attitude and a little confidence that we are enough to meet the future, all is well. Perspective again.

To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.  ~ David Whyte

There is strength in our fear and doubt, to be with our vulnerabilities requires more than avoiding or confronting. At times, avoiding or confronting is what’s needed to cope and to survive. The calling remains, that we acknowledge and be with our vulnerabilities, our imperfections… in them, we become strength, courage, love, grace and gratitude.

And in the end, to fully know ourselves is impossible. We fear and doubt, and if we have courage to seek, we encounter the truth of each moment. And as we know, that which we know changes; our very knowing shifts us into constant becoming.

What I have learnt and continue to practice is, to stand in the midst of the ever-changing landscape on the firm ground of this moment, being present here and doing what is ‘right’ now. Whatever or whoever visits, I will open the door with curiosity. Whatever happens, happens.

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

Bravo…

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A neo-soul song with attitude… for the women and men who embrace change, who rise up and who celebrate being unique.

And for those who find it difficult to get what we’re about  🙂 .

~ FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Direction

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The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.  Ralph Marston

 

I know I haven’t said much, if fact anything at all, about you, here. Yet you have been with me for many years; your inception brought on such excitement and some trepidation, a meeting of interest and desire.

I am not certain why it was that you have not been mentioned. Was I fearful? Was I doubtful? Perhaps you were such a part of my life, I ceased to notice.

I chose you after many years of fantasizing, pondering, considering and evaluating. I chose you knowing you are what I wanted and what it meant to love you. I chose you because you make me a better person, more aware … authentic. I chose you to be with me for the rest of my journey.

True that I have been patient, biding my time while I increase my knowledge and hone my skills. It is accurate to say that you and I have been percolating as I wait for the sweet aroma to permeate my life. And your scent gradually filled my life so you became the air that I breathe. You are a permanence, a home.

It is time to step into our space. It is time to acknowledge your presence. It is time to seize the opportunities you bring. It is time to be at ease and at one with you.

It is time to embrace you and me.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Keep your eyes open

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A little behind… call it a throwback if you wish. 🙂 I’ll confess though that I recently discovered this song, ‘Keep your eyes open’ released in early 2012.

What caught my attention is this part of the lyric:

Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You’ll never make it to the great unknown till you
Keep your eyes open, my love
So show me your fire, show me your heart
You know I’ll never let you fall apart if you
Keep your eyes open, my love

And as someone who has journeyed and still journeying, this certainly rings a bell. Don’t we all long for the comfort of familiarity, and the security of certainty? Yet our heart and soul beckon us to realise our passions, our dreams, our loves.

Sometimes we can cast aside this yearning as unrealistic and just a whim. But eventually, we all have to let go, leave the home of sameness, and discover if we have the courage borne of love.

And the reality is, we all have the courage and love needed within us to do what is for us. For some of us, we will also have the unwavering support of those who love us; always willing to catch us should we fall. And in this promise, we soar higher. For those who must take this journey solo, there round the bend is the reason for your being.

So trust and let go. And when we find this courage and love, then we will return to a changed home, a home that welcomes all of who we are. 

Enjoy the video!

 

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Going away to come home

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This feels different, and it feels right.

 

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

It wasn’t until I was in my 22nd year that I first travelled solo. Despite having lived away from home for many years by then, I was reserved, conservative and with only one goal in mind – to ensure that I maintained the scholarship I received to study law in Australia. I was reminded not to gallivant around having fun and being distracted.

You see, I was one of the blessed ones to have had the opportunity to visit many places – locally and abroad – despite growing up in a lower middle income family. My parents decided they were to expose their children to the world beyond theirs, so my brother and I could be inspired. We were taken on short and long trips, intrepid and luxurious holidays. They were always rewards for hard work and effort, probably for the parents as well as the children. This I am sure instilled in me the desire to experience the world beyond mine, to be curious of how others live. Even now.

Something however screamed within me at 22 to be brave, to step out of the stereotypical life of the Asian student (yes, you got the image in your mind, don’t you? 🙂 and the answer is ‘yes’). So I plucked up my courage and told my family I would not be returning home that summer and that I would be spending my time backpacking round Australia. And that I did. At its conclusion, I had grown emotionally and psychologically, certainly more streetwise, less naïve and more self-assured about many aspects of me.

The crux however was that I had travelled to seek another life, to attempt to experience it even if for a little while. And in the short time, I had found ‘another’ soul within me, from which I still hear its call now and then. It was escapism.

 

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

It wasn’t till some 20 years later that I took the opportunity to travel solo again. I was impatient and tired of waiting, for what I knew not then except that I was not waiting any longer. In a bid to reclaim, perhaps to prove to myself I was still brave (despite all the things I had done in the intervening years) I took myself to France, picked up a car and drove for nearly a month. Not nearly long enough but enough for me to find my wings again. To learn one can always start again.

The motivation for the sojourn then was still escapism, still seeking another life, another soul. I made a vow then to do this on regular intervals, to remind myself should I forget that I am indeed brave.

 

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” – Pico Iyer

So on that vow, I am now in the South of USA. Being brave. It is different though, this time it feels right. I had seized opportunities and said ‘yes’ on many occasions to be here.

Most importantly I did not come in order to escape. Quite the contrary, I am here because it felt like an arrival to my future. I do not yet know what will become of the work I am doing, the places and people I will meet. I do know I am meeting them all from a place assured that no matter what, it is unfolding as it should because I am privileged to be able to indulge in my passions. So I will greet the outcomes, the consequences with gratitude and grace.

 

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Dare I suggest the cycle is complete…? That in my wanderings I am finally home? For some reason, I suspect life is not so simple or so easy. I only know that I am more myself than I ever was when I began this journey. I also know there is no better self-discovery than the one I make when I am a solo traveller.  It is enough. I am prepared for and attentive to the discovery and lessons I will take away with me.

 

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

So, I exhort you to go out and explore.  Step beyond the comfort zone. You may not know what you will find, but then that’s at least half the fun! 🙂

 

– FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

The door will open…

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When one door closes, another opens… Or another five or ten open…but only when that one door closes.

Sometimes we don’t know what that one door is.

Sometimes we do know but do nothing about it. We do nothing about it because we need the promise of another door opening first.

Sometimes we see so many things in the way of closing that door, it is easier not to. Sometimes we are too tired to even try.

But this I know:

If you close that door with love and a positive attitude, you won’t need proof of the doors opening and those obstacles…well, they are just dust under your feet as you head out and quietly close that door behind you.

Love your self enough to no longer be bound by the expectations of others, to reject the hurtful moments when you had to deny yourself, to have to resign yourself to the ‘inevitable’; love your self enough to know you are worthy of all that your soul desires.

And the positive attitude…?

  • Be open to possibilities… those that even you, intelligent as you are, have never contemplated or would have even considered.
  • Be curious, say ‘yes’ to opportunities, to those things you’ve always wanted to but didn’t think you could.
  • Do these things for the love of them with joy of presence.
  • Be accepting of the not-known. The doors that are opening will appear when the moment is right, when you have said ‘yes’ enough times to what you love.

~ FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.