For most of my life, my stock in trade has been figuring things out.
If you can figure things out, you don’t need to trust, and most of your worries can be set aside (at least in theory). Why trust when I have a big beautiful flowchart for how everything will unfold.
There is great comfort in this kind of knowing. Everything is ordered, everything is neat. It all fits together and makes sense.
As I’ve played bigger and bigger games, and held a larger and larger impact in the world, this approach became problematic.
The first problem is a function of the fact that the more you’re taking on in your life, the more you have to hold in your head. I’m no longer planning out how to feel okay if a friend isn’t available when I ask them if they want to do something — I’m holding days and days of planning in my head.
That starts to become exhausting. More and more time and energy has to be devoted to living in my head, making sure it all fits together — all so that I can take a breath and rest easy knowing that it will all work out. #BecauseFlowchart
The second problem is that, the more I’m living this way in my intellect, the less I’m living in the now. The less opportunity there is to simply experience life as it is. My life becomes about the plan, rather than about whatever is happening right now.
Like someone on vacation, filming every single thing that happens from behind the screen of their iPad, life becomes confined and contained.
The third problem is that life becomes controlled, predictable, and boring.
There was nothing happening that I hadn’t already conceived of, except for small blips to my planning, which were quickly brought back inside the #FlowchartOfCertainty.
That’s fine if that’s what you’re going for. It’s just not what I wanted my experience of life to be like.
I find that embarking on a spiritual path often means surrendering the safety and comfort of my knowing.
Instead of being able to rest easy because I can see, ahead of time, that there is nothing unaccounted for (and thus, nothing to be afraid of), there’s a different path I can walk.
That path involves trusting in something greater than myself. That can be God, Spirit, the Universe, Chaos Theory, our Divine Design, or whatever else you choose it to be.
Ultimately, however, there is a point along my own spiritual path where knowing, while safe, becomes less interesting. More compelling is the practise of opening up and surrendering to what is.
Down this path, there is not much knowing. Initially this sounds like “I’m okay if what I know turns out to be right, or if it turns out to be wrong. I’m okay with either”. That’s the first step.
The second step for me sounds like “I’m willing to not know”. I relinquish my hold on knowing, and instead, practise trusting that I, and the divine design around us, has got this.
Perhaps I’ll tumble into a circumstance that I don’t yet know how to handle myself in. Perhaps I’ll find myself in a circumstance that, up to this point, I’ve had a lot of fear around. Perhaps things will work out perfectly. Perhaps they’ll be a mess.
Down this path, I make my life an embodied, living practise of the stand that “I am held”.
This isn’t intellectual. It’s a living practise. A committed decision to choose into this way of being.
That choice comes every time I notice my anxiety ramping up trying to solve a problem that hasn’t happened yet. That choice is available every time I’m staring down the barrel of the choice I know is safe, and the choice I really want to make.
That choice is available every time I find the desires of my heart in conflict with the safety of my intellect.
It’s always a choice.
What I find is, behind that choice lies all of the freedom, joy, delight, and richness I crave from life. Maybe you will too.