Sitting in the middle of unknown territory generates tremendous anxiety for many.
What’s unfamiliar, unseen, not understood, or unknown often sends us running back to what feels comfortable and familiar.
We gravitate toward a sense of safety and security, and that usually includes familiar territory with few unknowns.
Fear of the unknown may be what thwarts our evolutionary process the most.
If we decide to stay with what’s unknown or unfamiliar, the first thing we usually do is try to “figure it out” or “find the answer” or “get clarity.”
We’re seeking something to trust, understand or even feel good about.
Being uncomfortable isn’t always ‘bad.’
What if we could feel good about, or even comfortable with, the unknown?
What if the unknown brought up feelings of curiosity, excitement, wonder, openness or ease?
The good news is that we can practice choosing how we feel. No one and no situation can “make” us feel something.
Choosing to feel acceptance after we’ve just been betrayed is a tall order.
I’m not suggesting that people and situations don’t trigger our feelings, nor am I suggesting that we just ignore our feelings and emotions for the sake of choosing something different.
What I’m saying is that we have a choice when it comes to the emotions we live in.
We don’t have to choose to feel enthusiastic when a sense of despair has just been triggered.
However, we can begin to reframe the situation and find a new story in it.
What if there’s a gift in the so-called ‘bad’ feeling we’re experiencing?
What if being with the unknown can create the rest and surrender we’ve been needing?
The seed comes completely undone in order to set roots and grow into the magnificent plant coded within it.
The lobster is terribly uncomfortable before shedding the shell it’s outgrown in order to grow a new one.
The caterpillar is confined to a chrysalis and turns into a gooey mess before emerging as a whole new being.
Why would human beings be beyond the natural discomforts of life when we are a part of Nature?
Birthing the new doesn’t happen without a certain amount of discomfort, and that discomfort is glorious in its purpose.
Consider with curiosity and wonder the potential that may come from the discomfort of not knowing what’s next.
Seeking answers is not the answer.
When faced with the unknown, and the discomfort that comes with it, we immediately start seeking answers.
We want to trust something…to know something.
Unfortunately, we start learning about things rather than really knowing them.
We look for anyone or anything around us that seems to have answers or to make sense. When we think we’ve found something, we latch onto it.
After all, anything feels better than sitting in that seemingly god-forsaken space of the unknown.
Meanwhile, others are doing the same thing, and they may find something to align with that’s quite different from what we found. They present another idea, another “answer” or another “solution.”
Now we start to question which answer or solution is right.
We do everything we can to defend what we chose to align with. We search for all the ways to prove our position and negate the position of the others, often with a confirmation bias that doesn’t allow us to see from a broader, more neutral perspective.
We cling strongly to our position, desperately not wanting to be in that challenging, uncomfortable, horribly confusing space of the unknown.
Others cling just as strongly to their positions, and now we’re divided and insecure, failing to realize we’re all swimming in the same sea of uncertainty.
We spend so much time trying to find something to cling to, and defend it at all costs, that we forget to ask ourselves what we really want, believe or feel.
There’s only one thing we need in the realm of the unknown.
When my older son was about 12, he came home from his father’s house and said to me, “Mom, I’m feeling so confused. You say one thing is important, and dad says another thing. How am I supposed to know what to do or believe.”
My lower nature could have taken this opportunity to cling to my position, but in a moment of beautiful Grace, I said to him, “What do you believe? What is your heart telling you? Feel inside and see what’s there.”
I sincerely believe that single moment of encouraging my young boy to listen to his own inner wisdom is what helped him to become strong in who he is as a young adult.
We don’t need permission to “not know” and to trust in ourselves, even while the world is constantly trying to get us to take a position or make us feel it’s not ok to trust our own knowing.
But sometimes reassurance helps, so here it is…
It’s ok, and in fact needed, for you to trust yourself, to not know, and to be uncertain!
The only thing we need in the realm of the unknown is to trust in our inner wisdom.
With Inner Wisdom as our compass, we can move through anything, and feel stronger for every experience.
Even while our inner wisdom might not speak very loudly to us, or even speak at all for a time, pausing with patience to listen within, surrender into the unknown, allow for the confusion, ask questions, and be with the discomfort is the only thing that will help us to trust ourselves.
We might need to seek information or guidance, but the ultimate decisions and steps forward on our path through life must come from within ourselves.
There is magic in the unknown.
Magic is a word derived from “magh,” a Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to be able, have power” and the suffix ”ic” meaning “matters relevant to.”
Magic is about matters relevant to our capacity to be “able” or “empowered.”
There is tremendous new ability and empowerment in the butterfly after the unknown of the chrysalis time.
There is beauty and purpose in the blooming plant or tree after the coming undone of the seed while under the surface of the soil.
Magic is often associated with alchemy, a process of transforming what is “basic” to what is shining and pure (gold).
The Soul’s journey is all about exploration, transformation, and discovering our inner gold through the great unknown.
When we resist the unknown, we thwart the development of our Soul.
When we embrace the unknown, we unlock the magic that is available to us every day.
We learn to trust ourselves, and become more comfortable with the uncomfortable, while moving forward rather than becoming complacent.
We become “able” and “empowered” on our path to create the life, work and relationships we long for.
May the unknown guide you to the deepest caverns of your inner wisdom, and bring forth the gems waiting to be mined there.