The Best Hug I”ve Ever Had: Experiencing The “Trust Fall”

Trust is a wonderful thing. It gives you more lessons than anything else in the world, some harsh, some not as much. “Trust Fall” sessions are meant to instil in young minds the ability to trust and believe, to hold on to others and make bonds. Here is a personalised account from one of the volunteers, Allison Horton.

The session was called “Trust Fall”, which was a fitting name considering I found myself standing at the edge of stacked tables, hands tied together, with instructions to fall like a log onto a row of my peers’ arms. Trust was a tall order, one I wasn’t sure I could deliver.

I have to hand it to them; Pravah has a way to shove you out of your comfort zone and create the space for some truly fun experiences. I naively thought I could sneak out of doing the Trust Fall, because I was playing the role of participant and team member during the two day “Get Real” workshop, so people presumed I had done this session before. But as the number of those who had completed their Trust Fall session increased, my confidence that I could get out of my turn decreased.

trust fall

After encouraging everyone I could to go before me, I had no option but to go and begin my own climb up the stacked structure. Surprisingly, I was not the shaky-I’m-going-to-pee-my-pants nervous. Instead my nerves decided to manifest themselves through a fearful calm, similar to when I have to rip off a band-aid. I know I’m going to have to bite the bullet and do it, but it doesn’t stop me from dreading the inevitable. So as the mountaineering man-turned facilitator was wrapping my wrists together (this is a safety precaution, so your arms don’t flail and hurt someone on the receiving/catching side, but seemed eerily more like an initial step one undergoes before facing the electric chair) I knew I was going to do it- I was going to fall backwards with a leap of faith and a spoonful of trust.

I can hardly do justice trying to describe the feelings that flowed through me as I finally did let go and trust the fall. The feelings came in stages. First there’s the most nerve-wracking moment when you have to lean back until the point where you are going to fall and you have no control over the result. Then there is that brief moment when you are letting gravity do its thing, nothing is holding you and freedom becomes an action feeling. Finally, there is the volcano eruption of relief as 15 pairs of arms catch you in the best hug possible. Sure, it wasn’t the conventional arms wrapped around you kind of hug, but I have never felt so supported than I did in that moment of being caught after my trust fall.

As I teeter tottered between wanting to cry from happiness that I actually took the plunge and came out alive, and wanting to do it all over again (instant adrenaline addiction perhaps), I finally settled with an audible ‘thank you, thank you’ to everyone who just caught me.

The list is growing each and every day here of things I never imagined I would do— fall backwards from stacked tables, participate in national TV show recordings, march with 40,000 Indians for land reforms, the list could go on and on. That’s my favourite part about travelling out of one’s comfort zone. You never know what you’re in for, but you know the process and challenges you’ll face will be life-changing. Time is flying as I am almost halfway through the fellowship and I look forward to more surprises and challenges to come.

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