The start of this week has been tough for me. My heart bruised, I was triggered by my fear of abandonment and the recurring wound that human beings are capricious. We are ultimately fickle, inconsistent at our worst, and deeply loving, caring at our best, contradictory creatures at all times. It reminded me of the constant uncertainty that provides a close companion to life.
Now, more than ever since the last world war, are we feeling this uncertainty powerfully as it seeps into every area of our lives: work, security, home, relationships.
The unknown of what’s ahead and the uncertainty that couples it, has always been with us. We have been able to eschew it through illusions created by controlling our environments and experiences belying a sense of safety and security and believing that things are not going to change, and if change, then only within the realms that we are willing. We have to build a new relationship with the uncertain nature of reality.
As I wrote here we are watching each other go through withdrawal from the emotional addiction to the myth of certainty as we make sense of things that we cannot: the mystery of life that is uncontrollable and beyond our intellectual capacities.
After a few days, I’ve been able to return to my calm and centre. I put it down to the relationship I have cultivated with my inner self over the past 15 years. It means I can be jostled from time to time but I find my way back home quickly. Here is what helps me:
1. Permission to feel, deeply. I took an entire day off to grieve what was, and let go of what might have been. Too often and too quickly do we shun the way we feel because we deem it “silly” or “dramatic” or “doesn’t make sense”. Feeling in itself is part of the process. Every day we grieve smaller or larger losses, that is the nature of life, yet our tendency is to focus entirely on the facade that we can always be happy.
2. Vulnerability as a guardian of integrity as Anne Truitt wrote. I feel great satisfaction from being able to be visible even in my wounds. It connects me to our humanness and sparks a depth of compassion for the beauty and the challenges that we all dance with. It means that I turned to 4 of my girlfriends, 2 of whom wept with me as I shared my plight. It means that I had a conversation I was scared to have. And it means that I am prepared to be someone that people can turn to, to be the kind of woman that people can speak truth to.
3. Willingness to let go. As I wrote previously here, the essential ability to let go requires emotional agility. To be able to hold in our hearts the paradox of life’s beauty which is inseparable from its fragility and to allow it to be exactly as it is. In practical terms the way I practice letting go is by choosing a new narrative of what I consider to be my experience and reality, releasing attachments to how I think things should be, clearing my energetic space with movement and massage, and my physical space with cleaning, cleansing and rearranging, and using my breath to breathe out anything that feels stuck in my body.
4. Remaining anchored. I feel this necessity in life and art to radically simplify, to get back to innocence. The only way I know how to do this is to move through the world slowly enough that life can express itself through me. Life, in my experience, renders itself at a pace half of what the modern western world that I know runs at. I cannot keep up if I want to remain anchored. So I slow down and proceed gently to the natural tempo of my soul.
5. Disconnect from distraction to reconnect to poetic imagination. Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time, more than I would like, online and behind screens. I am grateful for the many gifts that this gives me and also aware of how it creates a sense of separateness from the true nature of life. The one thing that has helped me move through the past few days of sadness was the hopefulness that stems from my imagination of what is possible beyond the framework of my current experience. I want to find myself deeper in that space and have decided to take time away from my phone and screens for two weeks from the solstice to the first week of January to reconnect with the center of my being. I want to feel my own truth in my body and connect to the seat of life that bubbles through me.
6. Avoiding naming things too early. This is a brand new lesson for me and one I am grateful to learn. We name things in order to control them or ourselves in relation to them without allowing them to shape and form in their own way. We name things to give our minds a sense of certainty that we understand and know how to navigate them but in naming them destroy their very essence. I’m not sure what happened here as I am normally so willing and able to allow things to be what they want to be but this time… a gift in the form of this lesson was waiting for me.
I have discovered that the opposite of uncertainty is a sense of belonging to the world in all its unpredictablity. It is knowing that we are part of this uncertainty seeing that we are excellent examples of it. When we stop trying to distance ourselves from uncertainty and recognise that we are included in it a closeness and a meaningful relationship to the unknown develops. Every day we are walking into uncertainty. We can no longer pretend that the change is not happening.