It's Ok to Not Know
It is in our nature to be curious. We naturally want to know why and look for patterns and logic. But sometimes, we need to accept the unknown.
Ever since you were a child, people asked you questions that encouraged you to make judgements and choices. What is your favorite color? What do you want to be when you grow up? Since childhood, we have been making connections between different thoughts and events. As we age, we continue to make more and more choices with the information that we have. But suddenly our world has been thrown into the unknown (cue Elsa).
There is a world-wide shift happening. No one is not affected by this change. Now more than ever the tools of mindfulness can help us navigate this unknown. I am not going to tell you to choose love over fear or tell you that meditating is going to fix everything. I think these things can help us but only if we accept--radically accept what is happening.
To radically accept is to really accept reality as it is.
It is like one of my favorite sayings, "It is what it is." But you can't just say this, you have to really step into the present moment no matter how uncomfortable and radically accept that this is the current reality. Not only accept but surrender into reality. Surrender into this unknown. If you are comfortable doing so, getting into a child's pose and say, "I surrender." If that doesn't work for you, write it down-"I surrender to..." Fill in the blank. We have to surrender into the current reality before we can start to work on feeling better or even finding our new normal.
To make another pop culture reference, it is only when Harry accepts the reality of his death in The Deathly Hallows that he can escape it. This acceptance is what makes Harry a hero. Accepting reality is hard. People spend much of their time escaping reality through their phones, television, reading, drinking, etc. Now reality has shifted and most people have more time at home to reflect. This shift can be dark. It can bring up anxiety, fear, depression or we can accept it. We can lean into it and then we can take our power back through the acceptance. When we really surrender into what is, we give up the struggle. We release the resistance. We can actually relax.
Once we surrender, we can use meditation, yoga, journaling and other mindfulness tools to reflect.
You can ask yourself what are my concerns?
What are my concerns today?
For the next month?
For the long term?
What fears do I have?
You have to ask yourself these questions to really understand how this unknown is affecting you.
To pretend nothing has changed or that everything will go back to how it was before this shift would be not accepting reality. No matter where you were on your spiritual or mental health path before this shift, where you are now has changed. And you know what? That's ok.
It's ok not know what you want to do with the extra time at home.
It's ok to not know what the next step is after losing a job.
It's ok to not know how to teach your kid math. It's ok to not know your next step.
Just accept that you don't know. Lend yourself the grace that you deserve. This world-wide pandemic is traumatic no matter who you are and where you live. Give yourself the love you need and deserve. No one has been through something like this before. We don't have a frame of reference for something exactly like this. Yes, we can look towards history but it was different because the world has changed so much since then.
So we do what is in our control. We accept reality. We treat ourselves kindly. We accept that we don't know all the answers. We accept that we don't know how things will be a month from now. We admit our worries and fears. And then from there, we work on healing. We use our tools of self-care and mindfulness to heal our hearts, bodies, minds and souls. But we can't heal anything without accepting that we are wounded. But once we do we can heal. We can come back stronger. We can be broken-better.