Simply…Empowered!: Trust is the Seat of the Soul

Grasses Silhouetted Against a Setting SunNot long ago, I did a weeklong workshop for women at a beautiful retreat in upstate New York. The surroundings were serene; the warm summer weather was perfect; and the food was all organic, unprocessed, and vegetarian. There were no telephones, televisions, radios, or computers. We all stayed in rustic cottages surrounded by 195 acres of rolling hills, plush gardens, and peaceful woodlands. Although the surroundings and lack of trappings were atypical for most of us, the women had traveled from all over North America to attend this powerful week of health and healing with me. And I was nervous and excited to be giving it.

As we sat gathered together on the first day, I looked around the room and saw women of all ages, races, and religions. I saw blondes, redheads, and brunettes . . . short and tall . . . thin and obese. There were quiet women, nervous women, outgoing women, and gentle women. There were professionals, stay-at-home moms, models, and corporate types. There were breathtakingly beautiful women and a few unsure, closed-off, angry ones. But what I saw (and felt) most were lonely women. It wasn’t because they lived alone or were personally “inept” in any way—rather, what I saw were women who seemed to feel so alone no matter how many people were around them. I instinctively knew that in their minds and hearts, many were too afraid to let anyone in.

One of the most simple, yet powerful, exercises that I did with these ladies during the week was to ask them to draw a picture of themselves in the rain. That was it—I gave them no other directions than that. The next day as we sat down in our circle, each person took a turn sharing her drawing and describing it.

The first woman drew a picture of herself dancing in the rain, smiling and free. But then directly next to it, there was a second picture where she was bent over, hands over her head, face tucked into her chest, running from the rain. As she began to explain it, she unexpectedly burst into tears. “This is how I want to be,” she cried, as she pointed to the first fearless woman. “But I immediately realized that I’d never dance free in the rain. I’d hide and run, cover up, afraid to just be. . . .

We continued on. The next woman had drawn herself in color, wearing a bright red raincoat. Her hair was styled perfectly, even though it was raining quite hard in her picture. She had no umbrella, no galoshes, and no rain hat on.

But something struck me: She’d drawn herself from behind. She had no face—just a red raincoat and perfect blonde hair. Her back was turned to the world . . . and on herself.

Around the circle we went. Most had drawn pictures of themselves under huge umbrellas, wearing rain boots, raincoats, and hats. Some drew lightning flashing across the sky. Others penciled in dark clouds and very heavy rain falling around them. A few put rainbows and flowers on their picture; and one woman drew herself running along a tree-lined path with a friend. And then we got to an absolutely beautiful woman—on the inside and out—who was a naturopathic doctor and psychologist. As she held up her picture, everyone smiled. There she was, dancing with her arms lifted to the sky, engulfed in heart-shaped raindrops. “I am love. I know the Universe is filled with love, and I am open to receiving it,” she eloquently shared.

Most were beginning to “get” what this exercise represented . . . and then we got to the quietest (and largest) woman in the room. She’d been struggling during the week, didn’t open up much during any of the group-sharing sessions, and would always disappear just as we were getting started with our workout each day. She’d tried every diet known to man and had even had gastric bypass surgery. She was on special herbs and receiving acupuncture . . . and she was tired, fed up, frustrated, closed down, discontent, and absolutely disheartened. She was at least 350 pounds, and had talked with me privately about how she didn’t want anyone to tell her what to do—not here or anywhere else in her life. I think that she really thought this was going to be one more stupid “fat camp” and that at the end of the week she could at least say to herself (or maybe to her family): “I’ve tried everything. It’s not my fault.”

As she proudly showed her picture off that morning, lightbulbs went off over everyone’s heads. There she was, a tiny stick figure hiding inside a huge brick house, with torrential rain pouring down and fierce lightning crackling around her home. You could barely even see her through the window. She smiled as she proudly declared how smart she felt to have drawn herself this way—how protected she was, and how nothing could hurt her. No rain was ever going to get her wet!

The Seat of the Soul

When trust in the world or other people is missing, we stop abiding by our higher self—our powerful inner voice. We stop being honest, and we give away our power. This is not a consciously deceitful act, but an individual who lacks trust stops trusting in herself. She disconnects, unknowingly letting her fear take over, as she begins resisting the flow of life. Unaware, she dims her own light. And no matter how openly she may smile or how much fun she might appear to be, she never feels truly secure, content, and at ease.

The trust I’m talking about is the childlike sense that’s derived from an inherent feeling of safety. If a person doubts the world—doubts love, safety, comfort, security, and abundance—then she’ll ultimately doubt herself and will end up sabotaging everything from relationships and jobs to her health and well-being. Afraid to trust in the Universe, she’ll need to stay in control of everything, and when she feels as if she’s losing control, anxiety, insecurity, worry, anger, self-righteousness, defensiveness, fear, indifference, aloofness, aggression, denial, and even distraction will takes over.

Distraction is one of the sneakiest saboteurs of the ego because most often we don’t even know that we’re distracted. Since the ego relies on crisis and will actually search out problems just to make it feel important when it can solve them. We stay so busy being busy that we’re just too busy to notice! So we often forget that the higher self is detached from outcome and expectation, and that living with simplicity and passion should feel effortless.

As Keith Sherwood, author of Chakra Therapy, explains:

A person who lacks trust will be prevented from achieving his personal goal of wholeness and unconditional joy. Moreover, a person who lacks trust must continuously block the feelings of emptiness and despair imprisoned within him from rising to the surface. . . . Self indulgence is the alternative chosen . . . it takes the form of all sorts of addictive behavior, from overeating to excessive worrying, self-importance, arrogance to depression, alcoholism and even drug addiction and suicide. You indulge yourself when you are not being yourself. . . .

Most of us aren’t aware of how deep our inability to trust directs our lives, or even that we are distrustful. Because of this deep fear, we suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence and self-respect, and we have a difficult time committing to others. It’s too hard to put our faith in someone else when we don’t even trust ourselves. We often find ourselves overly sensitive, wondering why people are so dishonest, and we feel confused about what our passion is. We test friends and lovers, pushing them away and seeing if they’ll come back for more. The control gives us temporary power, but it inevitably ends up robbing us of our own light. Soon we find that we’ve stopped listening to our “gut-instincts” and instead numbed it with whatever learned coping mechanism we’ve adopted (often eating or drinking). And this is the perfect breeding ground for the ego.

Trust is the seat of the soul and the essence of empowerment, self-love, even beauty. Trust is letting go and letting God. And ironically enough, it’s often our resistance that keeps us from releasing it. “No, I don’t have any trust problems—I’m just being careful and wise,” we insist, as we hold on tighter, claiming that we have no control issues!

***

Getting back to the women who’d embarked on this retreat with me in New York, the experience was quite remarkable for them. Bless their souls, they thought that they’d signed up for a “boot camp” to get them into great physical shape. Happily, though, they each left realizing that weight is only a manifestation of something so much deeper. And although most of them departed at least five pounds lighter, what I mainly noticed was that they suddenly had a bounce in their step and a twinkle in their eyes.

That picture in the rain represents our sense of personal power in the world and our ability to trust in ourselves—to live fearlessly and know that we, alone, are enough, without our masks. The rain and sky symbolize how we perceive our life challenges; and umbrellas, hats, and boots (or a lack thereof) are our need to protect ourselves from the world. Everything from what we’re wearing to how big or small we appear on the page to if we’re turning our back on ourselves or raising our hands to the sky can be clues to how much trust and personal power we feel. But trust and power, just like a muscle, can always be built back up.

No matter what you’ve gone through in your life—and no matter how painful it was—you can make the choice to align your personality with your soul and become. You can surrender and let the Universe shower its love upon you! It begins by taming fear, for once you begin to silence the sound of your ego, you’ll begin to hear your true voice . . . that of your higher self. It’s then that you must believe and truly trust in yourself, for when you do, you’ll be able to start opening up and letting others see you for who you really are. By speaking your truth, you’ll begin to set yourself free. This takes courage. By this, I don’t mean the heroism that we see in a crisis—it’s the courage to give nobility to your life, to choose to be yourself above what other people want you to be, and to take the path that’s right for you . . . the path of least resistance! Let down your walls and embrace the world, which is filled with so many wonderful and amazing people who only want to love and trust, too. Always remember that your outer world is just a reflection of your inner world—it will only change when you change.

Our woman “hiding in the house” stood up on the last day and told us, “I feel like I’ve spent my life searching for the answers as to why I was the fat one. Why had this happened to me? Who was going to fix me? And when was it going to happen? And then I realized over this past week that maybe it’s the searching that has stopped me from finding. That maybe, just like in The Wizard of Oz, I’m Dorothy and I’ve always had the power . . . I just never knew it until now.”

I smiled wide because she’d gotten it! And as we began to cheer for her, the rain started to pour down outside. (Believe it or not!)

After we said our good-byes, many of the women unconsciously popped open their umbrellas on their way out the door. But as I looked out the window and saw them making their way down the long dirt path toward their cars, I watched in amazement as most of the umbrellas came down, one by one. These honest, beautiful, fearless women were walking tall, strong, and carefree . . . singing in the rain. They realized that they have all the power they’ll ever need, nestled deep within.

 All you have to do is believe it—the rest will take care of itself! It’s so much simpler than you realize.

 Searching is often the devious distraction from ever attaining.

You have all the answers within you . . . know it!

(Excerpted from “Transcendent Beauty”)

Crystal Andrus About Crystal Andrus

Crystal Andrus is a bestselling author, international speaker, women’s advocate, host of “The Crystal Andrus Show” on CBS Radio, Founder of “The S.W.A.T. Institute (Simply Woman Accredited Trainer)”—the world’s #1 online Personal Empowerment Certification Coaching School, exclusively for women, and Founder of the Simply…Woman online magazine – www.simplywoman.com .
She can be reached at www.CrystalAndrus.com and at
www.SwatInstitute.com
.