DonOne of the biggest obstacles for me after the losses of my childhood was to learn how to trust again. When you have been hurt by loss, betrayal, sudden tragedy or any other trauma it is hard to believe in life’s goodness again.

For years, I protected my heart in an effort to ward off unexpected tragedy. I was guarded, at all times. I would feel my friends and family trying to bond with me, and grew frustrated with myself for holding back and stopping our connection.

Finally, I realized I was missing out on life because I wasn’t all in. I had one foot in and one foot out of the most precious moments of my life, with the people I loved most. When I realized this understanding about myself, it made me so sad. I was never in the moment because I was always trying to predict what might happen in the future. When would something happen again that would make me feel as frightened as I had been all those years ago?

All it took for me to let my guard down was this truth. I began to set a different intention. I gave myself permission to experience everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. When I said yes to the whole, beautiful, complicated picture, life started to feel rich and abundant and my pace slowed down. Instead of skipping ahead of the present moment by imagining a dangerous future, I could be still with what was in front of me now, even the fragile experiences. With practice, I got strong enough to say to my life, “Bring it on… All of it!” Now with this new strength and intention, I will always be able to look back on my life and say I was there for it all.

It’s occurred to me that I would rather trust in my ability to deal with adversity in the present than to spend the rest of my life trying to outrun it.