Way back in the early part of Genesis (chapter twelveish) God tells Avram to "Lech L'cha" - typically translated as "go forth," but more accurately spun as "go towards yourself." It is the kind of travel that Rabbi Norman Hirsch referred to as a "radical leaving":
Once or twice in a lifetime
A man or woman may choose
A radical leaving, having heard
Lech lecha — Go forth.
God disturbs us toward our destiny
By hard events
And by freedom's now urgent voice
Which explode and confirm who we are.
We don't like leaving,
But God loves becoming.
Yes. Right?! Yes! I love the idea of a disturbing force (the irritating grain of sand that ultimately turns into a pearl) as an agent for change and opportunity for growth. But sometimes, that irritating force just irritates, and we can't seem to extract it; we simply can't shake it. It takes an act of Trust to take a leaving and to make it truly radical, and there comes a moment where we simply have to jump. To take the step into the great unknown - away from the structures that we believe to be sustaining, normative and "good" - is to have a whole lot of Trust in the outcome. To engage Trust is to excise fear; but to excise fear entirely is to remove a part of oneself - and besides, fear ultimately serves a purpose. In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert urges the reader to write a letter to Fear telling it that you understand its purpose (to keep you alive), and letting it know that you appreciate the work it does (namely, keeping you alive), but that you don't think it should be in the driver's seat, because sometimes it misses really great opportunities and holds you back from exploring what lies on either side of the narrow, one lane highway that it's keeping you on.
In a conversation with the Judeo-Shamanic Reb Gershon he asked the following: "Why do you think the Jewish people love the fruit of the vine so much that we use it to bless and welcome the Sabbath? Because," he replied to his own question, "it is a plant that grows up the wall - taking that which would impede it and using it for its own growth." When fear is no longer in the driver's seat, we can be smart, savvy, cunning, even - like the vine that crawls upward toward the sun simply because that is what it is supposed to do, instead of cowering in fear at the base of the wall. For the plant, it takes only instinct, because it knows no fear (although apparently plant life can feel negative energy - check out the film, "What the Bleep Do We Know" if you haven't yet - it'll blow your mind). The plant doesn't even need trust, per se, it just grows toward the sun... like you do when you're a plant. We, on the other hand, have a more complicated relationship with Trust. In our culture of rational-thought-as-king we have learned to trust only that which we can see, or that about which we can reason. It narrows the focus, and creates an overinflated sense of self, of power, of ego.
The Mussar tradition understands Trust, or Bitachon, as one of the core character traits that a person must have in proper measure in order to lead a well-balanced life. In Modern Hebrew, bitachon means "security." When I lived in Israel, there was usually a "bitachon" fee tagged on to the bill at dinner - a few extra shekels to pay for the security guard stationed at the entrance to the restaurant or cafe. Bitachon, in that context, implies a real life-or-death kind of safety to one's physical being. So when I am engaging in bitachon, I trust that despite challenges and unforeseen twists in the road, everything will work out for the best. I trust that my life will have meaning because I live it in alignment with my values, my dreams and my hopes. In this Freaking Lech Lecha moment, Trust is what it takes to step from the safety and comfort of known, the present, into what I hope will be the safety and comfort of the unknown future. On July 1st I will say farewell to the people and places that have become Home for these past three years. I will lay down my intentions as a path before me, and trust that the "road will rise up to meet me," because to do otherwise would be to let fear do the driving - and that's just not how I plan to do this Radical Leaving Thing.