What To Do When You Don’t Know the Answer


Oh how I hate not knowing.  You know what I mean.  The not knowing what my purpose is, when I will fall in love again, how I’ll create the income I desire, what my next book will be about.  Things like that!

I was always the child who didn’t like surprises.  Somehow being prepared made me feel safe, like life was somehow more in my control.

I was afraid that surprises would be less than what I wanted.

Yet as I look back on my life I realize there were so many things that happened I didn’t “know” were going to happen, I couldn’t foresee, or predict.  There were so many times I lived in the mystery, the unknown, the void.

Like when I was pregnant and had no idea if my baby was a girl or a boy, and that was okay.  I didn’t worry, couldn’t plan, and instead I was peaceful in the not knowing.

Or the time when I took the leap of faith and moved to another state to start a new life not knowing if we would find a job, a home, a community, but up for the adventure.

I think we’ve all experienced those times…Yet

We still resist the mystery.  Why?

Our brains are structured to always be answering a question, looking for meaning, gathering information and then applying it to old stories, old beliefs, old strategies.  All in the attempt to create a sense of safety.  So is it any wonder that when things don’t make sense, when things happen that we didn’t predict or plan for, or we find ourselves in situations in which we simply don’t know what to do…

we become anxious and stressed.

I know I have.  And when things happen that are completely unexpected, like an illness, an accident, a breakup, a job loss, we immediately start asking two questions.  Why? and What now?

And this is where we can get stuck…

Because we can not ever truly understand the un-understandable and without clarification  our brain can not discern our next step.  Life feels out of control, a wasteland of ‘don’t want’s’, a mine field of possible explosions, and a dark hole from which we can not crawl out.  Oh, our mind is reeling with thoughts, ideas, options and judgements. But most of them are not helpful. And many of them are not real!

What do we do when the mystery takes over and our thoughts are not serving us?

I found that that is the perfect time to listen to the song of my heart.  Where, in the deep recesses,  I remember that the best things in my life have always been a surprise.  Like falling in love, looking into my newborn’s eyes, receiving an award or opportunity, following the little miracles that show up as synchronicity to an adventure of a lifetime, or a new found awareness of a more expanded, talented, and empowered me.

I allow myself to simply stay in the present moment with a ‘yes’ on my lips.  Waiting for the creation of my deepest desires to manifest from the mystery.  And when those very little, or sometimes very big opportunities show up I make no judgement, have no expectations. I simply move in that direction with an open heart and notice how it feels in my body.

I listen as my body reveals

Do I feel peace or anxiety? Do I feel excited or scared? Do I want more or less? Do I feel elated or depressed?

The answers to these questions will actually lead me through the mystery, the void, the unknown, so much faster and with more confidence than questions like, why or what now.  My body directs my next step without story; it only uses information available in this very moment.

Yes it takes action to make dreams come true.  To create income, to find love, to live healthy.  But I’ve found that the answer to the how of it all, does not come from my mind.  It comes from my willingness to simply ‘be’ in the moment and feel my way through to the first action, then the next, then the next.

I have lived through some devastating surprises like betrayal of love, ending of a marriage, loss of jobs, death of a loved one.  And although it hurt more than words can say, learning to ‘be’ with the unknown, to listen to my heart, and to give voice to my physical body, has broadened my perspective about life.  And that was the greatest surprise.

I invite you to try it.  To be peaceful with the not knowing.  To trust that the knowing will come when you are ready.  Until then, all you need to do is be, with a willingness to say yes to each moment’s pregnant possibility as it makes itself known through your heart and body.

Till next time…be kind to yourself