How are you feeling during this period of opening, and closing, and still opening, and having to weigh the risks, and figure out how to move forward, how to take care of yourself and take care of others, how to live in this current world, and maybe how to reinvent it?
What are you present to on this August day, having passed the point of Mid-Summer, with the sun still strong, and with the leaves of the Sycamore trees beginning to show a bit of yellow on the edges, hinting at Fall, and the year showing signs of slipping away?
Life moves in waves of unpredictability. And it dances in cycles that we can count on. Yet even that which we can trust, might change its patterns and become something else.
Life takes us in and releases us out. And we don’t quite know when things will happen, and where this journey will take us. It surges and subsides. Life wavers between openness and boundaries, vulnerability and protection, between rising and falling, between growing green, and then yellow, and then brown and dry, and then falling. Life pushes us to rise and forces us to descend. Life ushers us into death. And then life finds more ways to live.
Life also invites us to show up, and empowers us to participate.
We are living in times of uncertainty. 2020-2021 didn’t invent the wheel of the unknown. We are never as secure as we want to think we are. Instability, crisis, and the unsureness of existence are inseparable from the process of existing. But the teachings of doubt and ambiguity sure are palpable nowadays.
Perhaps despite the unravelling of the world, personally, you are grounded in the goods, showered in blessings of fulfillment, with just enough stability, and the kind of choices that make you blush with fortune.
But none of us can stay blind to the looming catastrophe of climate change, to the exhaustion of another covid surge, to the inequality and injustices of society, and to the scary ways in which misinformation spreads, and how facts are no longer the ground we all stand on.
Many of us feel confused about life right now. Up in the air. Neither here nor there. Not sure when or where we’ll land.
And we’re supposed to send children back to school next week?!?! Whaaaaaaat?!?! Staying up late, trying to figure out what to do, not knowing what’s worse – the lack of social life, or the Covid pond they will swim in daily.
How do we set a healthy foundation for their lives, when there’s no base to build on? How do we make plans and take steps in a specific direction when the rug can be pulled from under our feet so easily?
I sit here in front of a pile of decisions that we, as a family, need to make about what’s coming next, and no choice is a good one.
I know I’m not the only one hanging upside down, up in the air right now. But still, so many of us feel alone in a sea of shitty choices, each on our own Space Odyssey, each our own Space Oddity, floating in a most peculiar way.
So if the stars look very different today, and you can no longer hear ground control, what can you do?
This is when we might learn the empowerment in receptivity. Not passive, but pausing. Not inactive, but actively softer. Not turning away, but tuning in.
The thing is, even as we feel like there’s no anchor, there is so much awe and wonder in the dark sky of the unknown.
And even though we all want to feel grounded and connected, while uncertainty is uncomfortable, it is also the gateway to life as a process, to the universe’s ever becomingness, to each of us as a changing, evolving, transmuting entity.
I took the kids to the beach the other day, and marveled at the way no wave ever touches the same place twice. There are so many things we can never predict. Not knowing is not grounding, but it reminds us of the vastness of the cosmos, and the playfulness in chaos.
We are not in control.
But we can be empowered.
When we don’t know we can imagine.
When we’re unsure, we can take a moment.
The unknown invites us into the openness of listening.
Uncertainty allows us to ask more questions.
When we’re uncertain we get to practice patience.
We get to slow down.
We get to come up with ideas, and explore options, and think and feel and live outside the box.
Uncertainty teaches us to reflect.
And if we’re willing to reeeeeeaaaaaly slow down, and be in the discomfort of not rushing, uncertainty can show us new ways.
There’s a spaciousness that awaits for us if we turn our perspective sideways and look uncertainty in the eye, and let her hold us, rock us, whisper her verses of wisdom in our ears, and weave her threads of surprises through our being.
As we lean into the arms of uncertainty, more possibilities will emerge. As we learn to breathe in the spaces of not knowing, we activate our innovative powers.
When the overwhelm takes over, we can breathe more deeply in response, move our bodies slowly, with intentionality, and put our bare feet in soil, to remember that while we are floating in space, there’s still an earth that we are bound to.
Stay in your body, my friend. Slow down your pace. Give yourself space. And on this wild ride of the unknown, please know that you are not alone.