How do we respond to the uncertainties of life? What happens when we find ourselves in the middle of a transition and we simply haven’t a clue what lies ahead?
How do we respond to the parts of us that fear this great unknown and the parts of us that feel enlivened by the untapped possibilities?
How do we find a sense of trust and ease with these times in the desert?
It is common to grasp towards something in an attempt to end the uncertainty. This may look like making a rash decision, abruptly leaving a job, moving into a new home that isn’t ideal or even starting a relationship that brings all the same old patterns from the one that just ended.
How do you discern the difference between when you are grasping and when you are effortlessly drawn into action? How many of us have experienced the mystery unfold, and doors open, to presents a path we never could have imagined with our mind and intellectual analysis?
Many of us are adept at making plans in an attempt to alleviate the period of uncertainty. But are these plans in alignment with the flow of our life or simply a distraction from being open to hear what is calling us into the next phase of our deeper longings?
Magical moments born from the darkness
I think of the countless conversations I’ve had with others, and with myself, about the magical moments in life that have come when we find ourselves afraid and feeling left in the dark with no direction.
Sometimes we are in this desert of uncertainty for only moments, other times for hours or even many months.
What is interesting about hindsight is seeing how all the mental gymnastics and worry to find a solution only stirred up more chaos and possibly had no contribution to the clarity that eventually arose.
Just rest, you’ll know when you need to know
I’m not convinced that analyzing and strategizing has to be part of the equation into clarity and yet it plays an important role when necessary.
I have noticed, regardless of my attempt to ‘know’, that when it was time for clarity and action the mirage in the desert became a swelling crystal blue lake and the most obvious movement was to run and dive in head first; and not a minute sooner than when the invitation arose.
Resting in the discomfort. Knowing it will shift but not knowing how.
I remember when I was working in my corporate career in Chicago and I felt like I was dying inside. My soul was parched, my triathlete days were on hold due to an injury and my heart was tender from my recent divorce. I had just bought a new home and my yellow Labrador, Cherokee, and I were creating our new life together.
I felt disoriented and an absence of real nourishment in my life. I was invited by my neighbor to try a hot yoga class. Anything slower than running a 5-minute mile sounded like a waste of time to me, but I was desperate.
That opportunity was the start of a whole new life for me. Not only did the yoga penetrate into my heart and remind me of what love really was it brought be back into my body and connected me to the wisdom that is ever-present in each one of us.
This innate wisdom had been so masked by my constant strategizing and efforting to control my life and pretend that there was no unknown. What an illusion that strategy really was.
Let the dominoes fall and the doors open
I’ve lost count of all the dominoes that fell and the doors that have opened from that day but what remains are the memories of all the times life has picked me up when I couldn’t imagine how I would get through the storm.
It hasn’t happened in my preferred time but it has happened every time. And when I think about what unfolded during the time in the desert I am reminded of the experiences that I would have missed if I had fast-forwarded to where I thought I wanted to be.
Even as I write this I see the faces of friends, lovers, the power of meditation retreats, the discovery of books, teachings, time in nature and the clarity to create this business that I might have missed if I had controlled my life to look a certain way.
An honest inventory-Spreading the seeds
⦿ What is your relationship to letting go and allowing life to show you what is next?
⦿ How do you navigate the time in the desert and discern when action is borne from grasping versus an authentic movement from a deeper knowing?
⦿ What support systems do you have in your life that model trusting without a net or a plan?
⦿ We need to witness each others courage and to share our stories to walk this path together while we walk it alone.
⦿ What do we have in place to remember that this innate intelligence is always present and guiding us even when we are spinning in the fear and efforting to know?