The question the title of this article asks is the same question Ze Frank offers to the viewers of his latest video that combines footage of the artistic skill of Cirque du Soleil performers with a monologue that tackles part of basic human nature.
Frank, the executive vice president of video for Buzzfeed.com, who is perhaps better known for his musings in the Sad Cat Diary, provides this time a line of thought about what it means for two people to trust each other so intimately that their concerns about failure and regret can drop away.
The Soleil dancers he profiles are named Alya Titarenko and Gael Ouisse. Throughout the monologue that sits atop the video, Frank describes what it means to trust, how complete trust can open new doors for the body and mind, and how a break in trust can crumble one’s reality. He begins as follows:
“Alya and Gael have to trust each other. As acrobats in Cirque du Soleil, they sometimes literally put their lives in someone else’s hands. Trust is a confusing thing. It seems so simple, but when you try to pin it down, it can be elusive.”
The video at this point shows Alya and Gael grasping each other’s bodies in ways that allow them to perform acrobatic feats about which the average person may only dream. Alya balances on her neck and shoulder, upside down, on Gael’s knee. Geal grasps Alya’s knee in order to hold his body, flat and fully extended, perpendicular about Alya’s waist with only her left arm supporting him.
The words here do the poses little justice. Frank’s words, however, give the movements a sense of place within the human experience of living. Frank continues beyond his initial statement by describing how he can envision himself sitting in a new place, surrounded by people, judging their moves and intentions. He is uncertain about what can happen, and he waits to be disappointed because that is the only place his uncertainty can take him.
He says that people often think of trust as something one builds. However, within the building of trust, one may need to take it one step further by letting go of worries and uncertainties.
“What it affords us is a luxury,” Frank says. “It allows us to stop thinking, to stop worrying that someone won’t catch us if we fall, to stop constantly scanning for inconsistencies, to stop wondering how other people act when they’re not in our presence. It allows us to relax a part of our minds so we can focus on what’s in front of us. And that’s why it’s such a tragedy when it’s broken.”
Furthermore, he says that trust is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It is built, piece by piece, over time, and it can spread into many forks that encompass the physical, mental, and other aspects of our lives. What this Industry Buzz post suggests is that trust my enter the “other” life aspects through health. How healthy can it be to sit around worrying about what might come next? How health can it be to remain in a perpetual state of heightened awareness that expects bad things to happen? Does the body degrade, both physically and mentally, when even minor stress and fear of failure is an expected part of the day?
Although Frank eventually asks his audience who they trust and how they can grow that trust and, most importantly, hints at the idea of complete trust in one or just a handful of other people, it may be possible for increased trust to extend beyond a small circle of family or friends. One could reach out to strangers, even just in thought, by not expecting disappointment to arise as a normal part of living. Indeed, this may even require that one change his perception of what disappointment is.
When one accepts what happens in life as just something to be reacted to — not something to be judged — maybe his stress level will decrease and his faculties will improve simply as a reaction to letting go of worry. In any case, it may be a good start to answer the question directed within Frank’s video and echoed in this post. One can find out who he trusts, build that trust, and learn from that relationship to extend more of himself to others in order to receive more of life in return.
Image courtesy of Taro Taylor via Flickr