Difficult truths: I cannot extract pain from a loved one; I can't ensure people like and understand me; I can't make people forgive or be happy or see beauty. I've spent substantial energy trying to change externals--it's a well-grooved habit. But I realize the fruitlessness of that particular journey. When I'm mindful, I accept not knowing.
Will my friend's cancer return? Will my mom surface from her depression? Will Newtown heal? Will my students learn? Will I find a meaningful job after leaving Lawrence? I don't know.
Not knowing is a place that's difficult to inhabit. We humans want ground; we want the known. It makes us feel we have control over this precious life we hold for only a short time. But recently I've sat with the unknown. In fact, I've welcomed it. Instead of filling my December with planning my next career path, I left space. Next September, I will not be employed. My ego emphatically wants me to look ahead, but I want to wait. I want to not know. And interestingly, when I don't know, many juicy things happen: creative ideas pop, authentic intentions emerge, new perspectives appear, and I truly consider options--all while still not knowing.
Does this process terrify me at times? Yes. But more importantly, the not knowing opens my mind and heart--both for myself and others. Not knowing allows space; space for me to better understand the rich layers of life in us all.