Ep. 193: Lessons in Trust and Interdependence – Crossing the Street in Hanoi

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20 years ago I was in the bustling city of Hanoi in the northern region of Vietnam. Once known for being a bike-only city, it had started to have many more motorbikes by then. I remember trying to cross the street amidst all the scooters, and every time I saw a window of opportunity, another scooter would appear seemingly out of nowhere and I’d take a step back again. This went on for a few minutes when I eventually saw an elder woman well beyond her 70s slowly step into the street with her bag of groceries. 


So I think, “Now’s my chance!” and I followed across alongside the woman. Not exactly my proudest moment, especially since this lovely grandma was on the side of the oncoming traffic 😬 


I noticed that because she moved slowly, the steady stream of scooters had time to weave around us. I realized that if we had moved too fast, we would have risked getting hit or causing an accident since the scooters wouldn’t have enough time to react. 


It seemed like a river wrapping around a stone moving across a stream, the water adapting to its position. 


It was fascinating and, while still a little scary, over time I got the hang of it. 


Fast forward 20 years to my recent trip to Vietnam, and now Hanoi has so many more CARS. Still lots of scooters, but wow – cars? I wondered if my past crossing techniques would apply. 


One day I wanted to go for a run around Hoàn Kiếm Lake… but first I had to get to the lake, and I waited a little too long that morning, so traffic had kicked in pretty well by then.  


At my first intersection, I realized that my faith in my ability to cross the streets in a mass of traffic had wavered. 


I stood on the corner of one particular street for so long, I was getting embarrassed. I was that tourist providing amusement to the locals on their stools sipping tea. 


At some point, I realized I had to surrender to the idea that people would see me – and care to not hit me – and trust that this is how things work here. 


I took a deep breath, stepped into the road just as a swarm of scooters were coming at me, and just like before, as long as I stayed steady and slow and predictable, people easily moved around me. And I made it safely across. 


Once I got to the lake, I paused before my run to think about what transpired in my street crossings. 


I got a bit teary, which surprised me a little. But it made sense: What I had just experienced was a very immediate, palpable sense of interdependence. 


In the US, when it comes to navigating traffic and driving, we are taught to assume we are invisible. Drive defensively. Cross streets assuming no one sees you.  


Here, it was the opposite. You have to assume you would be seen, that people cared and would take care. 


I HAD to come face to face with my issues not trusting that others will take care of me or that they are reliable. And it was very healing to have to surrender in that way. To not just trust, but have it reflected back on me through kind gestures, care, and patience. 


I deeply saw and felt the vulnerability and beauty of how humans can move through chaos together when we come from a place of interdependence. 


But I also realized, with a bit of heartache, that in order for this to work, we also have to be on the same page.  


If just one person was speeding through the streets, lots of people would be hurt, or even die. 


I also felt tender realizing how societies that are deeply influenced by industrialized growth societies are so far from this level of capacity for interdependent interbeing. 


This interdependence isn’t a belief – it’s a FACT. Supported by science. By the entirety of our life experience (when we take the time to examine it). 


So it’s not a matter of “what if everyone could agree to believe this fun, idyllic fairy tale taht we’re all connected.” Interdependence is TRUTH. 


I encourage you to check it out today – ask yourself, “Is there any evidence that we are not interconnected to everything and everyone? What evidence is there that we ARE connected to all things at once?” 


I hope that after some examination, you will arrive at this truth as so many spiritual practitioners and scientists have. Perhaps, you can then ask yourself, “Knowing the truth of this inter-BEING, what would I like to change, magnify, or soften?” 


For me, I want to trust a bit more – and I also want to be someone others can trust and feel safe with.  I want to notice more if someone is slow, needs more time; give people space for erratic moves and nervousness. 


I want to be someone others can trust, and with whom they know they are seen.  


You will learn: 


// What is possible when we embrace interdependence and the fact that we are connected to everything – the beauty and the vulnerability 

// The gifts that taking risks by being vulnerable and trusting others can bring to us (while using discernment, of course!) 

// How we can find healing in interdependence and trust in one another 

// Why so many industrialized growth societies are so far from interdependent interbeing, and how we can offset that 



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