Perseverance In the Face of Uncertainty

Have you ever experienced a situation in which you were presented with a new opportunity, and yet the situations or circumstances you were used to seemed far more comfortable? Have you ever longed to move toward something new in your life, but found yourself resistant because of all of the unknowns?

Perhaps I’m being a bit rhetorical in asking these questions, as I cannot imagine being alive and not experiencing such things. Life is constantly bringing us new opportunities, choices, experiences and challenges. These are the ingredients for the recipe of an evolving and developing soul.

I spent the past week at a workshop exploring the mysteries of the Black Madonna.

We contemplated the question, “What is blackness?”

I realized that I have become rather friendly with blackness or darkness over the years. But it wasn’t always like that.

I used to be such a planner. I wanted to know how everything was going to work out, and exactly how and when it would do so. Some part of me wanted to lay out the details of my life in advance so that I didn’t have to ever wonder or worry about what to do. Of course this wasn’t my conscious intention. Consciously, I think I just thought that I could maintain control of my life if I planned and prepared enough.

Of course, as the great John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

It took me a long time to really embrace this. Letting go of the reins of our fast moving lives is one of the biggest struggles my coaching clients have as well. We live in a culture that wants to know. We need to know how things work, who said what, if it’s provable, when things will occur, etc.

Our scientific, materialistic, time-enslaved daily experience says that empowerment comes from a capacity to predict and control. If we can just know the likelihood of rain, we can plan the party. If we can know how long something will take, we can plan the next activity. If we can become good at predicting the stock market behavior, we can become wealthy. If we can find a secure job with retirement benefits, we won’t have to worry about the future.

Interestingly, the unexpected seems to constantly show us that there is more to life than prediction and control.

That thunderstorm rolls in, even when it wasn’t forecast. The company has a manufacturing recall, and the stock plunges. That thing we thought would take thirty minutes ends up taking the entire afternoon.

Yet on we persevere, in our efforts to figure it all out, planning and attempting to stay ahead of the unexpected, only to be let down again and again.

What if we turned our attention to the unknown? What if our capacity to be in the unknown, and persevere in accepting where we are, regardless of what may or may not happen in the future, could bring us to a stronger sense of predictability? The kind of predictability I’m speaking of is not one that has measurable outcomes. I’m speaking of intuition and the predictability it can offer when honed and polished.

Intuition, i.e. a connection to Source and our true selves, is the predictability and understanding our souls actually long for.

Have you ever looked back on a situation in which you could clearly see that you knew all along what the outcome would be, but in your effort to live the story you created for yourself, to have the outcome you envisioned or wanted or needed, you ignored that knowing only to persevere in your plans and efforts and end up unfulfilled?

What if rather than trying to make something happen, you allow something to happen?

What would that look like? Does this mean that there is no planning or figuring things out?

As with everything in life, so much of this is about a healthy balance. There is nothing wrong with planning or exploring options, solutions, etc.

Yet if we find ourselves in a space of needing to know quickly, feeling impatient, or pressured by a sense of urgency, these may be red flags worthy of looking at.

What is causing the sense of urgency? Is there fear behind it. What is at stake? What if you never figure out what you are trying to plan or answer? Would that be ok?

Rather than persevering to know, what if we persevered to be with the unknown?

What if we could learn to love the darkness? After all, out of darkness, life emerges. We were all born out of the dark womb of our mothers. The seed of the tree roots itself in and sprouts from the darkness of the earth. We need the dark to rest and rejuvenate through sleep in order to be functional in the light of the day. If we never knew the darkness, how could we know the light when it shines?

I invite you to be with the unknown. I challenge you to see the opportunities and potential before you as they reveal themselves to you, and to persevere to stay in the space of darkness even when things are not immediately revealed.

In the darkness lies the power of creation, the source of life, the vastness of existence.

When we embrace the darkness, which includes the lack of understanding around why someone behaves the way they do, why something happens the way it does, how something could possibly work out when there seem to be no solutions available, or when that thing we’ve been wishing for for so long will finally come to fruition, we make friends with the unknown. We learn to love the uncertainty and the potential that lives in that space.

We come to have deeper compassion for ourselves and others, and we cultivate a greater sense of trust in our selves and in life.

As we reliably persevere to make peace with what is unknown, we find ourselves more grateful for what is know, and begin to allow the creative, birthing process to unfold organically.

We cannot force open the bud to see the flower. Take a look at the natural world. Nature accepts what is. It doesn’t fret over the unexpected things that come. It works with it, adapts and perseveres.

Perhaps in embracing the darkness, we might also cultivate a relationship with the being at the center of it, the force of creation, the wisdom of life.

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