Walking the thin line between uncertainty and planning is a killer. For those aggressive Type A personalities out there, like myself, you just want to KNOW, dammit, so you can confidently head in a specific direction.
Places of uncertainty stretch us, like Gumby (for those of you too young for this reference, Gumby was a green 80s figure pliable enough to bend into various poses). It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It can really, really blow, because it asks us to live in the now; to give our undivided attention to this moment.
Uncertainty reminds us that we are not in control of everything. It invites us to trust: in timing, in goodness, in an invisible safety net that we hope is there even if we can’t prove it.
On the plus side, not knowing what the outcome will be sharpens our senses. It’s like going to the optometrist and marvelling at how crisp those letters can be with the right prescription. We suddenly notice what we’ve long taken for granted, because something has shifted in us and we know that nothing in this life stays the same forever. We change, and so do the people around us. Circumstances shift, children grow up, the snow comes to end the autumn.
Once again, this comes down to surrender. As the brilliant Cheryl Strayed writes, “Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” When we choose to give up our right to know what will happen, we turn our soul loose on this present moment and space, believing that we are enough for whatever challenges and triumphs are coming.
We can’t see them, and we must come to terms with that. We all have limits. Twenty-four hour days, three-hundred and sixty-five day years, one mortal body we cannot exchange or upgrade, an enormous world that we can only make our home in one minuscule part of.
But our spirit is limitless. It can soar, dream, expand, transform. We have external limits, but no internal ones – except for what we impose on ourselves. Every so often we discover a fresh perspective, renewed gratitude, a surge of optimism. We stretch. We feel pulled by what we cannot anticipate, manipulate, or control. But when we get through that, we are different.
The key is not to break faith with the process. To believe that something wonderful might be around the corner, slightly beyond what we can see, instead of fearing a dark and scary experience. Staying anchored to the now helps us believe in a better future, because we are fully alive. Equally surrendering our fierce grip on the past and the future offers us peace for today. And that equips us for whatever is coming.