Cultivating a Life of Trust
Written by Martina Hughes
The last year has been full of big and unexpected events for many of us.
Covid-19 has catalysed massive change in the way many people do business, has reduced our opportunities for socialising and gathering together in person and also severely limited opportunities for travel.
Initially, I felt myself wanting to fight and struggle against the imposed restrictions - wanting to hold onto live events and retreats, wanting to find some magical loophole so that things could go ahead.
But as the shock wore off, reality set in, and then came disappointment as I cancelled a variety of events through March and April 2020. Eventually, all of our live events for 2020 were cancelled.
I felt devastated as our trip to the US in May was cancelled (including our wedding plans for Hawaii). It hurt to let go of these experiences, and to know that there was no option or choice only magnified the pain.
I am sure that many of you have had your own experiences of this, choices being taken away, border restrictions, job losses and lockdowns globally.
My bank account was certainly in a state of shock as I processed refunds for retreats scheduled from March right through to August 2020.
I noticed I was processing the disappointment of my clients and students too, as I held the space and responsibility for cancelling events that they had been looking forward to for months.
Opportunities for their transformation disappearing before their eyes.
Once the events were cancelled though, I discovered a new rhythm and flow of being at home in the days with Rod. Going for early walks, doing my morning practice, participating in online yoga classes, working with clients online, making up silly/fun games to play with the cats and spending quality time with Rod.
Our lives felt more in flow and more aligned.
There was a sense of spaciousness, less pressure and demand on my time, and a whole lot more room to simply be!
In the midst of our Victorian Winter (for those who do not live in Victoria it was really long), Rod said to me, “We could be anywhere in the world right now, do we really want to be living in Victoria?” I paused in that moment as I felt into his question.
The first thing I noticed was yes, he is right. All the scheduled events had been transitioned to online events.
My body relaxed and opened up, there was some excitement in me at the possibilities this might bring.
We actually could live anywhere. Our work was no longer location-dependent! Neither of us had to be in any particular location. Yes, this was exciting, we could live anywhere - within Australia (as international borders were closed).
With some excitement and nervousness, our search began.
New South Wales, particularly the South Coast, had been on our radar for a while, and I was also curious about South Australia, and Rod was entertaining the idea of Queensland. For me, South Australia offered the opportunity to be near the cultural hub that is Adelaide, as well as warm weather, being near the ocean and affordable prices.
We found some stunning houses that we drooled over online in the Victor Harbour area.
Rod discovered that Queensland had some amazingly well priced houses with pools and of course, the brilliant and more consistent sunshine.
Overall, though, I felt nervous. We were in the midst of the Victorian lockdown, we couldn’t travel to see any of these places. We had never been to most of the places that we were looking at. We were relying on what we saw online or what we heard from family and friends.
Would it really be possible to buy a house online without seeing it? Were we ready to sell our house? Our house that was owned outright, no mortgage, to move somewhere that we didn’t even know if we liked.
So much vulnerability and living in the unknown! Covid-19 had already plunged most of us into a significant time of unknown. And here we were taking that even further.
One day Rod was sharing with me about how vulnerable, uncertain and even scared he felt about moving, he’d never lived in another state, and hadn’t travelled much within Australia.
He had lived his whole life in the Surf Coast/Bellarine/Geelong area, all his family and most of his friends live in that area too.
The very next day, I was preparing food, and as Rod walked through the kitchen area, these words spilled out of my mouth, “What if we just put the house on the market, and decide where we are going to live once the house sells? See what is available at the time?”
There was no forethought about this. It was like a lightning bolt of energy inspired the words, and once they were out there, I couldn’t take them back.
I found out later that Rod’s heart skipped a beat, (given his share with me the day before) impressively he responded with “I will contact the real estate agent tomorrow.”
My body was buzzing with aliveness and possibility.
There was a potent feeling in the air, we both committed to trusting a process bigger than ourselves.
We weren’t making a choice of where to move to, we were trusting life to bring us the information we needed at the time we needed it.
Once our house was listed with the agent, I was really nervous. I felt really safe and held in that house. The house was Rod’s dream when he built it (before I met him) but it always felt like somehow he built it for me, and had been waiting for me to turn up in his life!
I definitely had moments of cold feet as we were looking at houses online in SA, Qld and NSW. Big moments of feeling that we wouldn’t find anything as good as our house in Armstrong Creek. And how were we going to make this work, as the lockdown kept being extended and extended?!
We kept on returning to the words that had fallen out of my mouth, “Let’s see what is available when our house sells!”
Somewhere inside, I was secretly hoping that it would be a long time, and that we would have plenty of breathing room for working out where we were going to go.
Surprisingly (to both us and the real estate agent), our house sold within 14 days of going on the market, at very close to the asking price. Which felt like a sure fire sign that our desire to move was in alignment for us.
“But where to live?” - that question suddenly started to weigh on me more heavily, pressing in so strongly with only 6 weeks to our settlement date.
During a webinar for a women’s mastermind program I was participating in, the facilitator offered to me this - “the land will choose you.”
I felt warmth and openness in my body as she spoke those words.
I shared it with Rod afterwards, and we started asking the land that was going to choose us, to let itself be known.
A day or so later, Rod showed me a house in Frederickton, NSW. I began researching Frederickton. I discovered that it’s part of the Macleay Valley Coast area, and its traditional owners are the Dunghutti people.
As I read those two sentences I asked myself “is this the land that is calling us?”. I felt tingling and strong energetic sensations begin in my toes and move right up through my torso, explosions of opening energy through my heart, down my arms and into my fingers, and inexplicable tears and laughter rippling through me – all at the same time.
The response was an overwhelming clear YES in my body.
I wanted to communicate this to Rod immediately, however, through the tears and laughter, all I could manage was to tap his arm like a madwoman.
We had our answer for the land that was calling us, so we focused our search on the Macleay Valley Coast.
Of all the towns in the area, South West Rocks kept on drawing our attention. For Rod, because he thought it sounded weird and for me, because I liked the name.
Rod had been told by a practitioner that you can ask the original owners of an area for permission to move there, to create harmony with the original owners and stronger connection with the land.
So I contacted the Dunghutti elders and spoke to Uncle Bob.
I felt so nervous and vulnerable. Anxiously wondering what would happen to our plans if he said no, when I asked if we could move to the area.
Fortunately, he said repeatedly “you are both formally welcome to Dunghutti land.”
It was such a beautiful and touching conversation – thank you Uncle Bob!
We looked at small farms, residential areas and everything in between.
There was a desire for land, but concern about how we would manage land, with working commitments, and other personal interests and desires.
We did a few Zoom tours of houses that were lovely – one in a very residential area, and another on 30 acres of land.
And still we were torn about what we most wanted, by this stage we were pretty clear that South West Rocks was it, but there was NOTHING available that felt suitable for us.
Our requirements for a house were pretty specific - big enough to both work and live from home without being in each other’s space all the time, space for us to have our own meditation/practice rooms, a couple of spare rooms for family and friends, a large shed for Rod, connection to nature, plenty of natural light and overall something that made both our bodies say YES.
We were well into the process of trusting our bodies’ responses, and nothing we were looking at, felt quite right.
We were considering our options for renting, for staying with friends and family in Victoria, and feeling overall confused by the process.
Our capacity to trust in the process was being put to the test. Big time!
The not knowing is such a potent teacher of trust. Surrendering to this process was as exhilarating as it was uncomfortable.
We were contacted by a real estate agent about a home that had not yet been listed in South West Rocks.
The agent felt it was suitable and the owner was willing to settle inside of 30 days. The house was lovely, the block was large, and it had a beautiful protected Indigenous reserve behind it. That felt like a solution for having access to nature, but not needing to maintain paddocks and fences.
We were interested, however, the house didn’t feel quite right. And neither of our bodies was singing “yes”. We had one week left until our settlement date and moving out of the house. Not only did we need somewhere for 2 adults, but we needed somewhere to go with 2 cats, a large dog and for our 16 plants ranging from small to large.
A friend had very generously offered us temporary accommodation in Sorrento, which would tide us over until just before Christmas. (Thanks Danny!!)
But then what? Homeless at Christmas with 3 pets!! My nerves were getting the better of me. We had committed to trusting the process, but I was feeling that maybe we were taking it too far.
We put a low offer in on the house that wasn’t quite right, letting the universe guide us to whether or not this was the house for us.
After putting in the offer, I started crying, knowing that we were not going to get the house. I felt overwhelmed, confused, frustrated and a desperate desire to take control, rather than staying in trust.
Rod sat with me, creating space for me to be with my feelings, my tears and the discomfort coursing through my body.
We talked about whether we should put in a higher offer, but both came back to the knowing that we needed to keep on trusting.
I went to cook our brunch with a heavy heart and full of uncertainty. I heard Rod’s phone ring, followed by him saying “Okay, okay, we will see you on Zoom in a few minutes.” Rod calls out, “The other real estate agent just rang and she said, I have found your house! I am doing the appraisal now, it’s not listed, jump on Zoom and send me a link.”
I took our brunch into Rod’s study, and started eating.
Feeling a little curious, but also somewhat skeptical given the process to date. Two zoom tours in two days, and both for houses that were not yet listed. Were we on the right track? Or were these red herrings?
The tour started out the front of the house, and we both had an instant recognition. It was the house next door to the one we put the offer in on!
Even more curious now.
As the video tour of the house started, I was feeling reserved and I could feel my energy pulled back in my body.
Not wanting to get excited again, only to feel the bitter disappointment and uncertainty that comes with the vulnerability of having nowhere else to go.
As the agent walked from the front door into the kitchen and living areas, I noticed how beautifully spacious the house was with massive windows overlooking the Indigenous reserve.
My body was starting to sing!
As she walked into the master bedroom with bay windows also looking out onto the reserve and then into the walk in robe and ensuite, I was starting to tear up. Happy tears.
My heart suddenly felt light and expansive.
The house had so many of the features we were hoping for, with the gorgeous reserve at the back, a very large shed for Rod, a beautiful bath, well laid out kitchen and living areas, spaces we could both work from and do our practices, lovely wooden floors, and an overall feeling of YES.
We were both in love!
Within 15 minutes, we had bought a house!!
Neither of us had ever been to South West Rocks, in fact before this began we had never heard of it, and now, we had just bought a house there via Zoom!
This was a whole new experience of vulnerability and trust. A new leaning into the unknown.
We moved out of our house at Armstrong Creek the following week, and went to stay in Sorrento for one month before moving to South West Rocks.
Now we are here!
And we are ecstatic; South West Rocks is a paradise, magical and so beautiful.
I feel spoiled everyday with exquisite connection to nature – the stunning trees behind us, the luxurious beaches nearby, the 3 minute walk to the river.
Kookaburras are our constant companions laughing from the treetops, a turtle has been to visit our backyard, kangaroos dot our neighbourhood and many beautiful birds.
I feel so at home here – it does feel as though the land has called us!
With Love, Martina
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