Today’s article is the fourth of a four-part series on the four essential trusts in Iyanla Vanzant’s book, TRUST.
Thursday morning my alarm went off at 6:20am, signaling it was time to get up, get dressed, grab breakfast and drive to Matagorda School. I was substituting for junior high students and wanted to be ready for the day’s events. As you might guess, every day is a new day when you walk into a classroom of pre-teens and teens. Despite receiving carefully crafted lesson plans, you have no idea what life will throw at you. Friends of mine laugh in disbelief as to why I’m willing to take on the challenge of substituting for junior high. The answer is simple- I’ve learned to trust life.
In Iyanla Vanzant’s book, Trust, she explains, “Life is a process that requires living moment by moment, doing all that you can, the best that you can, while trusting that the rewards you receive will be just and plentiful. The only thing you can know for sure is that if you do not fully participate in as much of life as you can, and trust in the process, life will not be easy for you to bear or manage.” When you look at it that way, everything we do follows a process from brushing your teeth in the morning, washing clothes, driving to work, interacting with coworkers, preparing dinner to getting ready for bed at night. Some of the processes come second nature to us like brushing our teeth or washing clothes. We automatically trust in the process of digestion, whether we fully understand it or not; however, when it comes to a big project at work or a major decision in our lives, we think, overthink, and strain to analyze exactly what life will throw at us next.
Vansant uses the analogy of a carrot in relation to human beings. She notes, “a carrot does not know what to do with itself until the chef puts it where he wants it to be. Once the carrot has become an ingredient, its only job is to be a carrot and do what carrots do: add texture, color, and flavor.” Easy, right? Wrong! Things begin to go downhill when we start to question our carrot-ness and look outside ourselves to other carrots for the answer. Unfortunately, misinformation about the dangers and downfalls of being a carrot are revealed, and why it is better to be a clove of garlic or an onion. (Note to self- You’re better off being a carrot; the effects of garlic and onion can leave you breathless!)
Vanzant notes, “It is hard to trust the process you are in if your mind is fixated on how to get out of it. The truth is that who you are and what you have come to do is etched into the fibers of your being. In this unfolding and taking-hold process, your job is to trust that the chef knows what he is doing and that no one else or nothing else can or will misappropriate the chef’s plan or purpose for your participation.”
In the process of trusting life, we will be faced with our inner enemies: the inner judge, the inner critic, the inner naysayer, and the inner worrywart, all generated from the negative ego. Vanzant claims that if you want to trust the process of life, begin working through betrayal issues that hold you captive by avoiding intimate connections and creating distance between you and others. She states, “Leaning in to trust is how you can create and hold healthy boundaries to let others in while still maintaining your safety.”
What’s the alternative, allowing your negative ego to keep you from experiencing the joy of connection and intimacy? The choice is yours. Happy Spring Break!
Previously published in the Bay City Tribune on Sunday, March 12, 2017.