The Dance of Trust

Doreen Johnson (Photo by Megan Dobratz)

For more than 40 years, I locked away sexual trauma I experienced as a child. A therapist suggested that I take anti-depressant medication. I didn’t trust that advice.

In a prayer for guidance, it occurred to me that I had always wanted to learn ballroom dance. On a whim, I called a dance studio. During an interview with an instructor, I was asked about my intentions. I replied, “I want to learn how to follow with implicit trust.”

Once a week for nine months, I danced with the instructor. My depression lifted as I grew to love the beauty of dancing the waltz, fox trot, rumba, and swing. Then in one moment, while dancing, I realized I trusted him implicitly. About 30 seconds later, the instructor stopped dancing with me and asked what had happened. He said that my dancing had just shifted from technically correct to gracefully fluid.

In another transformational moment, I discovered that I was convinced that “men never come through for me.” I decided to look beyond the triggers of traumatic experiences I have had. 

A couple of days later, I walked into my manager’s office to discuss a challenging topic. We disagreed about the way to approach it. I assumed he would not come through for me. I left angrily. He came to my office a few minutes later and said he was there to develop a solution that would meet both of our concerns. His gentle approach helped me to see him as an individual unrelated to my underlying belief about men. It helped me listen in the present moment, rather than reactively lash out based on all of the past transgressions I had experienced.

Since these times of change, I have learned to move from the distrust that occurs when I project what I think I know about someone. Being more curious and learning about new perspectives reflects my commitment to being a vulnerable, loving, and compassionate sacred woman. 

If I get emotionally triggered, I follow the advice of my holistic practitioner who once suggested that I embrace the sensations in my body as if they were passing through like a storm, and then promptly return my focus to loving intention. As I continue to practice moving through triggers, the storms are less frequent and my loving intention gains strength. 

I choose to be in a moment-by.moment celebration of life, consciously choosing the next step of my journey, and celebrating my special way of shining forth as a beautiful and powerful woman. I believe that we can break the chains of trauma by nourishing ourselves and each other. 

When I feel burdened and don’t know what to do or where to turn, some of the blessings I give myself: 
• When I feel silenced, I have the courage to speak honestly about what is in my heart. 
• When I feel afraid, I ask myself what is needed to feel more loving and compassionate. 
• When I feel isolated, I reconnect to the loving relationship I have with the Universe. 

The after-effects of trauma are not a life sentence. 

Details: TheAwareWay.com 

“A Thousand Names for Joy,” by Byron Katie

“Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn

“Unbreakable Spirit” by Lisa Nichols

“Trust Life” by Louise Hay

“Trust” by Iyanla Vanzant 

Doreen Johnson is the author of “Dream Me Awake.” She has used her personal experiences to become a trained life coach.

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