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Trustbuilding 2023💪 - An interim conclusion

My first 14 weeks of (almost) trust-body building on the beautiful island of Madeira.


My question to 2023 was and is: What else can trust do? I mean: Trust is big, somehow, everyone talks about it, wishes for more of it - but what really happens if you, if I practice it consistently for a year? Systematically and consistently - more about this in a moment - I let myself be guided above all by my conviction:

"Mistrust happens in relationship - so does trust."

Because this "First get along with yourself before you try it with others, I think is quite outdated, often even wrong. "Worse" still: wounds that were created primarily in our earliest relationships, that is, predominantly with our primary and earliest caretakers, you simply cannot heal with yourself alone and rationally, no matter how many advantages it might have. On the contrary, this really stubborn dogma can lead to increasing loneliness and to the consolidation of an already omnipresent conviction of simply not being able to relate.

I myself have so many years of self-awareness and psychological training behind me. And it was mainly there that I was referred back to myself again and again when I encountered difficulties in my relationships. However, I had little success with this, at least not in the long term and in a sustainable way. This, in turn, didn't exactly boost my self-confidence - after all, something obviously seemed wrong with me, and the vicious cycle of avoidance and frustration began to spin faster.


Does this sound familiar?


Anyway, in the last few years I dedicated myself to the approach of bringing hurts that arose in relationships back into relationships - very, very carefully and not alone. "My" success since then has been much greater and more lasting - the path much more lively, more connecting and often much more painful.

Accordingly, logically, the impulse to write about it now, of all times, comes from my beloved and thus also from my greatest trust-sparring partner, in the middle of my most intimate relationship.

When I asked myself frustratedly these days how I should best communicate my training offers, she replied quite dryly: "Just write about how your own medicine affects you!" Brilliant and in my own world, which often feels so complex, almost too simple to be true. But only almost😌


First of all a few stages of my daily trust training


I make my first trust decision every morning, usually between 5 and 6 am. It is the first moment of the day when I activate my trust or mistrust - in myself, and from there this decision has an effect on the rest of the day.

Because if I get up right at the time I set my mind to, what we call "self-efficacy conviction" rises, and that is very associated with self-confidence. Biochemically, my body rewards me almost directly with oodles of adrenaline, dopamine, and a few more cavity-free sweets.

If I snooze, possibly several times - and this happens to me not exactly rarely - this could lead to a lot of mistrust, especially towards myself. After all, it was me myself who chose this date to get up.

I can only get out of this act with a lot of compassion towards my own body - after all, it obviously needed the extra sleep. Forbearance with others, and especially with myself, is advanced training for me at times!

I'll be happy to go into more detail about my actual morning routine, which includes meditation, very good coffee, and a few other things, another time.

Trust check-in in the morning


In any case, the actual and daily trust routine then starts at 9:00 in our workshop-space here at home. I lead the group of different sizes, here and often online, back into our bodies with our consciousness. May sound simple, sometimes it is, but in any case crucial for the trust-creating form of communication that we practice afterwards.


"How am I really feeling right now?", sounds so simple again, but can we feel it at all?

And if so, "Do we then dare to communicate this to ourselves and others?"

And if so, "Can we do this in a way that creates trust, and closeness instead of mistrust and pain?"

And, as if that weren't enough, "Can we even do this just when things get particularly tricky and painful?"


If that sounds easy to you - congratulations!!!

I often felt, especially in the last 3 months, like someone climbing around in the Himalayas and suddenly realizing that he only has swimming trunks on.


For sure I was freezing in just swimming trunks even on the way there, but it wasn't until after all the training here that I began to understand that all this contracting and tightening of muscles and body parts could mean that I was quite cold. I had already gotten so used to being cold that I didn't even remember how incredibly comfortable and cozy it could be. Accordingly, before I practiced so intensively to really consciously perceive the processes in my body, it would never have occurred to me to just put on a little more. How could it?


Mistrust and violence


This morning, after 14 weeks of daily trust training, I wake up to the music of my coffee grinder. Immediately I know: "Those were the last beans of my favorite coffee" And this one is almost the only one I claim here all for myself. Everyone here in our community knows that very well, too - at least the package with the special roast is now empty. This coffee is part of my sacred morning routine. The fact that they so consciously accept its crash shows me that they totally love the island on which we live together, that they totally appreciate my home - but that I, and my needs, are clearly less important to them. And then also this secrecy in the earliest morning. I am disappointed and sad.

Of course I will try to stay friendly - I still care a lot about a good atmosphere here and art last we are all human and make mistakes. However, I obviously have to communicate my limits much more clearly and, of course, defend them in case of doubt.


All these inner voices can be heard really loudly inside me and also only under one single condition as voices at all, and not as fact: I feel my breath getting faster at the same moment, my hands getting wetter, I perceive sounds like cars suddenly much louder. I would not have noticed this in the past - but now happens more and more often a:

"Oops! Someone seems to be properly triggered!"

And it's not the others - because they're drinking far too good coffee right now....


That I am triggered does not tell me my mind, because this is simply switched off in the triggered state - and exactly this is already almost the whole crux!


Because our ability to act rationally and foresighted switches then on stand by, in the total energy saving mode and to recognize this, to accept this and above all to act accordingly, or rather not to act, is one of the large magic however also rather heavy keys. We need a space where we can make real decisions, e.g. whether to distrust those from my community or to distrust Mistrust itself....


All this time here in Madeira has also resulted in perhaps one of my most uncomfortable realizations: There is still so much fear, mistrust and pain stuck in my body. From all the violence I experienced in my early years of life, I have long since developed defense strategies that others now experience as violent and against which they defend themselves, and the next cycle turns its lonely rounds....

"Alone we're f*cked - together we can do it".

Of course, all these insights are wonderful in reality and I am very grateful to be able to have such insights at all! But they do not make me really happy yet - my wish is not to have good insights but to live good and secure relationships. And for that I need others around me who follow similar desires and these others need me too!

"Trauma happens when we're alone with too much. Healing happens when we are together with just enough".

These last two quotes are teachings from my wonderful mentor in truly modern trauma work, Buster Ratvik.

According to this, healing has two important aspects: It only happens with others, and it happens with just enough challenge (rather than too much of it).


Again, it may sound almost too simple to be true, but it is mainly the morning routines and the workshops I give online and here in Madeira on these topics that make the difference for me. In these, I create for others the calm, and the courage to step vulnerably into the center of mindfulness, and impart the tools it takes to (re)build trust from there. And while there I am a support to others, they give me back support in my life. I also speak out there, very vulnerably, for example how much I had already judged them for a little coffee and how much shame, guilt and frustration I feel about it. And this as the leader of this group...


Dual Awareness - The Greatest "Gift of Blindness"

That I consider blindness to be one of my greatest gifts is no longer a secret to those who know me. But blindness unites with trust most intimately where the two different levels of awareness also come closest. One level is the procedural, implicit and above all unconscious level: "How could she, this is totally unfair, I must defend myself immediately and show her the limits in all clarity!" But the other is the declarative and observational level, where I notice the faster breathing, my jaw tightening and my gaze scanning the room in a hurry. Through this, under very good circumstances, I also have the chance to pause, and if I even manage to do this in difficult moments before opening my mouth to speak, this can create quite a bit of confidence - in others as well as in myself.


The key word here is double consciousness: On the one hand, I feel totally activated, convinced that I have an opponent to strike down, or run away from. But at the same time, I am aware of the signs that indicate fear and that my autopilot has just taken over. This means that I am not the autopilot itself - this instance in me that wants to protect me from the iceberg in which it sees only this - the bang is then almost audible. Who ever tried not to think of a pink elephant, knows what I mean....

Anyway, this dual consciousness is a big topic for itself, and the guarantor for me as a blind person to remain an enriching part of this, sometimes quite exhausting feeling world. Because in order to move safely, even enjoyably and inspiredly in it, I also very often imagine this outer world inwardly - even literally at every turn.

Because the way to my baker here around the corner includes some steps down - to consider these also blindly keeps me mentally fit and physically quite healthy.😌


For me, being blind in its best version means throwing overboard all the self-evident facts and automatisms that came with sight in order to move in my reality again. I also call this the switch into the life mode - into the real here and now - to where only change is possible. Many people around me often perceive a very high presence in me - I guess that this arises in exactly this space.



BTW: In the morning session in question, it came out that at the very beginning, when I raved about my coffee beans, I also smiled and proudly mentioned that this was my special coffee, bright and excellently roasted. They took this as a proud and heartfelt invitation - and it makes total sense, put that way. Hard to believe how hard it still is for me today to communicate my boundaries peacefully and confidently, for my own love and not against others. Probably in this case because it is so important to me to be a warm and generous host at the same time. Anyway, this is settled, I am sure of my morning coffee, and I was able to turn off the autopilot just in time before it would have initiated the next crash landing.

Well - this is a "short" interim report from the first quarter of the year - To be continued...

If you feel like becoming part of this trust experiment 2023, I now have three warm invitations for you:


  1. From my point of view, the most exciting, and perhaps also the bravest entry into this trust journey with you, me and others is the Peter Pan Experiment 2023. It starts as a short online workshop, already on May 3th, and afterwards, if it brought you joy, it could even carry you into the next year. Here you can get more information: https://www.villa-nueva.com/peter-pan-academy

  2. You can also participate (first) in a Blind Forum - Hybrid Reality Event - for the training effect, every Tuesday morning and also online, or if you wish offline on site. By the way, this workshop is included in the Peter Pan Experiment. Here you can get more information about this workshop: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blind-forum-hybrid-reality-trust-in-connection-tickets-577018306287

  3. And if you think this is totally good, but would rather have confidence one to one (for now), you can check out my Blindspot Coaching. I am particularly proud of this format as well. It's only 20 minutes in a pure voice format: a concrete topic, a short deepening and at the end a concrete tool with which you can activate your trust at this point. You can find more about this coaching here: https://calendly.com/franciscovillanueva/speed-trust-coaching-session-20-minutes-clone

Feel free to let me know in DMs or in the comments how these experiences and perspectives land with you - maybe also what you think about trust. In any case I hope you enjoy this wonderful spring - warmly from Madeira, Francisco

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