What does living in the unknown mean anyway?
News flash, we always live in the unknown, we just think we are in control. I learned this lesson fast when my daughter died. Back then I was a certifiable control freak. I thought everything was in my control and if I worked hard enough, or did the right things the outcome would be according to my plan. Boy that did not work, can you relate?
At the time I worked as a project manager for a large contracting company. Trying to control all aspects of the jobs I managed was like trying to herd cats, or like being the parent of a teenager. As a matter of fact, at the time, I used to compare working on my job site to having a teenager. I never knew what I would find when I got to work, or when I got home. It was the beginning of my lessons about letting go of that which I cannot control.
That lesson deepened when Leah died.
I learned in the blink of an eye that I was never in control.
I just thought I was and, by thinking so, I was living under an illusion that I had the power to influence everything in my sphere of consciousness.
The thought of living in the unknown is scary. Questions arise like: If I do not know anything, how will things get done? Will I just sit on my couch and mindlessly watch TV and eat ice cream? Will I lose touch with everything and everyone?
Here’s what I learned.
Living in the unknown is a matter of faith and trust, and it is a mindful practice.
When Leah died I was at a low point, I really did not know anything. I did not know why she died, why she was in the hospital for five days, why I could not stop her accident from happening. I no longer knew my place in the world, or what I was going to do without her in my life. I did not know how I was going to make it to the next hour let alone live the rest of my life without her physical presence. I decided that since I was already so entrenched in the unknown, why not surrender to it completely because I had nothing more to lose.
As I walked my grief journey, I got really good at living in the unknown. I learned that the more I was willing to not know; the more I was able to just be, to allow grace and blessings to come into my life.
When I stopped trying to choreograph my every movement, I was making space for Divine arrangement to enter my life.
You may have heard of the expression, “Let go and let God”. That is what happened. My diligent practice of my willingness to not know anything continually brought me answers to my prayers that I could never have accomplished by my own sheer will.
I went from a being control freak; wanting to control every single outcome of every single experience I had to trusting that when I have faith, the magic happens. This happened in every aspect of my life, including my job. When I learned to relax my hold on my perception of reality, or what I thought that reality should be, things worked out in ways that I never could have imagined.
I remember one particularly contentious meeting I was facilitating. Several people around the table were ready for a good fight. I went into the meeting with the intention of being completely present to each person who spoke, and not knowing how to fix whatever was going to be spoken in the meeting. I knew exactly what each person’s issues were, and yet I still was willing to not know how to resolve them. The result of that meeting was amazing. There were no fights, no raised voices, no one storming from the room to make a point. I truly do not know what happened, except that my willingness to not know allowed all of the other possibilities to come forward. At the end of the meeting I had several people come up to me and comment about how easily a compromise was reached, and ask me what I did.
Consciously living in the unknown can seem counter intuitive.
I am here to tell you that when I notice that I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, one of the first questions I ask myself is if I am surrendering to the unknown, or trying to affect the outcome of a situation, the answer is always yes.
Here are three ways you can begin to surrender yourself to the unknown.
Be willing to not know.
The next time you are struggling with a problem, be willing to not know the answer. Sit quietly, breath, bring the question to your heart, and be willing to not know the answer.
Do not be attached to the outcome.
You may have tussled with the same problem many times before, and you find your thoughts analyzing the pros and cons back and forth, making you crazy with trying to do the right thing. Let all of that go, let the question rest in your heart, and trust an answer will come.
When you are in the present moment everything you need is in the field. When you allow yourself to be present and not know at the same time, the answer you need will rise to the top for you to see it. When we spend time trying to figure everything out from past experience we miss what is right in front of us in the present moment.
As you can see, living in the unknown serves us in all aspects of our life. There are many nuances of it that are unable to be described. I invite you to try it for yourself to directly experience what is possible when you do not know anything.