On Not Knowing

2015.  Wow.  Another year of unexpected challenges, blessings, and change.  Everything is great, but nothing is finished or permanent.  This natural uncertainty can cause a lot of anxiety if you let it take control.  Just this morning alone I watched my thoughts land on excitement, gratitude, loving-kindness, judgement, and fear…. and this was all within thirty minutes of rolling out of bed!  But we can learn to make peace with the limbo of life.

 There are many aspects of being in limbo that can be used as tools for your mindfulness practice.

And so we start 2016, again, not knowing.   Not knowing is always a difficult emotional space.  So difficult that we might make major life decisions in haste just so we “know” (or have a false sense of knowing) and a false sense of being back in control.

When I try to deconstruct my discomfort with not knowing I can see its many facets. Breaking down a difficult emotion in this way makes it more manageable.  Within not knowing, for example, lives my old friend impatience.  I am by nature an impatient and impulsive person. I have learned that this is both a blessing and a curse.  Sometimes these traits help me manage uncertainty, other times, not so much.  What are you go-to behaviors when you are sitting with the discomfort of not knowing?

Within not knowing live my old friends impatience and fear.

Breathing, sitting, and watching my ever-changing mind-states, helps me use my impulsive tendencies in ways that will foster well-being, rather than detracting from it.  Then there is the fear facet of not knowing.  “What if nobody hires me?  What if they do hire me and hate it?  What if our kids get hurt?  What if the sea level is rising faster than we think?….. you can see where I’m gong with this.  We’ve all been there.  Mindfulness can help gently put the breaks on the “what if” state of mind and allow us to make decisions based on the facts we have at hand, instead of the fear of unknown.  If we wait to  know all the details to make a move, we will never move.

 Mindfulness can help gently put the breaks on the “what if” state of mind and help us make decisions based on fact not fear.

Sitting with uncomfortable emotions and uncertainty without causing more problems is tough stuff.  Mindfulness practices help us “train up” the muscles we need to be with these uncomfortable states -watching them come and go – without adding more discomfort into our lives.  With mindfulness, we can experience just as many moments of gratitude, peace and hope as we do difficult emotions.

What does anyone know about the future anyway?  fostering patience, sitting with uncomfortable emotions, building trust, resiliency, and acceptance.  These are the real outcomes of mindfulness, not some ever-lasting state of bliss.  I’m so grateful I have my mindfulness practice to help me through this journey.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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