In the past three to four years I have found myself looking into the dark recesses of my mind searching for the hidden drivers of my behavior that may help explain some of the challenges I face in my life. What I mean by hidden drivers are events in my life that I have experienced that made a lasting impact, for better or worse. In a program called “Landmark Forum” there was made mention that our lives are shaped by three “significant” events, events that give us our belief surrounding god, love, trust, and connection. There can be many offshoots the primary three, but when we dig I believe we will find there are some foundation events that set us on our path in life for better or worse. Trust for me is a big one as it has a direct relationship to love, connect and god.
If I cannot trust my environment, I cannot connect easily with those in that environment, and if there is no connection there can be no love, and if there is no love, there is no god. (only in the mind of the writer, your experience may be different) Trust comes in so many different levels as in my trust of the drivers in the other lane to stay in their lane, but if I ever were hit in a head on collision my trust may be shaken and driving may never be the same. I trust that my heart will keep beating so I go to asleep trusting I will awake, but if I ever had a heart attack I may be afraid to go to sleep unsure if I will awake so the experience of sleep will always be stressful. You get the picture? So when I explored my mind and challenged some of my experiences, looking for the areas where I struggled, I found lack of trust was at the core of many. Growing up in an alcoholic family with a young mother who was struggling with her own issue of trust, we were often in the care of our older brother. Our father worked away from home to provide for our family so the home environment was stressed to say the least.
My parents then separated and we lived with our mother for several years, and any time both parents were in the house the environment was highly charged and stressful. We became used to the idea that being alone was much preferable to being in the presence of our parents, so when my life becomes stressful I crave solace as it was the better alternative at the time. The paradox is that I also craved connection but the significant events of my life didn’t offer me the gift of trust, the bridge to which all connections are made. Over the years I had ample proof through various life experiences that the world can offer false hope for connection, can offer the sentiment of trust with its own agenda, and the offer of love is conditional. The other heartbreak was that of religion and mans interpretation of God. Most of the atrocities that have occurred throughout history have been done in the name of God, and the segregation that generally came out of the religious sector.
I grew up being fed a distorted version of God, religion and mans role on this earth. Segregation was the key note message from the pulpit and during a time of struggle as a teen I was asked to leave our organization, not being permitted to speak to my friends and had limited contact to my family. This did little to bring me closer to God and only served to enhance my distrust for organized religion. So where to from here? The development of the acronym SAM was first used in my fitness practice where we found that the key to success for our clients was to first develop a strong core to build the rest of the body on. So we also found the same rules applied to our emotional strength. The first letter in SAM stands for (S) stabilize your life by choosing a powerful emotion to center yourself with, I chose love. From here I have to now decide on the actions (the A is SAM) I will take going forward as it relates to “Trust”, looking through the lens of trust. The security that should have been a part of my environment growing up was simply not available from the adults in my life, so I am to assume that it will never be available? When I look from the vantage point of love, I can see that for my children I can offer them sense of security and trust that they are loved and that no matter what life throws at us, they come first. Nothing is so great a feeling when your child sits in your embrace and feels safe knowing that they are your everything.
What about connection? Can we trust the connections we make in friendships and relationships if trust never existed before? To that I had to look deep inside for the answer did not come easy, but through the lens of love I determined (my truth only) that it was the connection and relationship I have with myself was the priority, for if I could not connect with myself, if I did not learn to love myself, I would forever be looking for validation in the eyes of others. Though the world seems full of sorrow, deceit and betrayal, is it also full of love, truth and meaningful connections, it all depends which lens you look at life through. I am diligently trying to use the lens of love, as it will show me that there are beautiful possibilities for all of us.
And as to God, I have come to follow an adage I remember from the bible, “judge a tree by the fruit it bears” and organized religion has done a poor job of representing itself historically. I lost my trust in religion as I had equated religion with spirituality and god, but religion is mans creation in a seeming attempt to bend Gods ideas and will to their own end. However, within every religion, every culture, can be found amazing people living a life that is aligned with the very essence of “spirituality”, devoid of dogma and mans ridged interpretations of what it means to be a “spiritual being”. It is within these amazing people I take solace that in their shining example I will find myself getting closer to God thus regaining my trust that I am on the right path. I believe the act of Trust is a powerful stance that requires vulnerability, love of self, an awareness that if I do not learn to Trust I will never truly live, always holding back the best parts of me. I am beginning to learn to trust myself, because I am beginning to learn to love myself again. Thank you SAM I AM.
C. David Gilks Your Fellow Traveler
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