Inspiration Series - Month Two
The Dance of Clarity and Uncertainty
Being uncertain is the first step in gaining clarity.
On this path of living an awake and inspired life, there are few feelings more exhilarating than clarity. Clarity about who you are and what you want, with a sense of being on the “right” path to create it. I realize, of course, that clarity itself isn’t a feeling…but it feels good to be clear, doesn’t it? It feels so good that the opposite state of being – uncertainty – can feel really, really uncomfortable.
Yet uncertainty is an essential aspect of our ongoing evolution. It is an invitation to pause and let things settle, to create space for a new insight, idea or opportunity. Uncertainty reflects the fact that we are growing beyond where we are now, so it is a marker of real progress.
But rather than celebrating our forward progress, most of us get frustrated when we feel uncertain. And the reason we feel badly about our uncertainty is so basic and obvious, it’s easy to skip right over it: we feel badly because we think we should know. We should know who we are. We should know what we want. We should know how to get there. We should at least know the next step to take. We should be clear.
And there it is, the real cause of our uncomfortable feeling: judgment. We judge ourselves for not knowing, this red-hot minute, everything we think we need to know. And if our inner judge is really on a mission to discredit us, all the shoulds become an amorphous blob of judgment that not only damns our present moment – we should know now – it instills fear for our future: What if I can’t figure this out? What if I get it wrong? Our minds swirl with pros and cons and yes and no, and the only options we can see are ones that range from unappealing to downright frightening.
Uncertainty becomes doubt, and doubt freezes us in our tracks. Rather than creating space, we confine ourselves within a prison of second-guessing that disallows anything fresh, kind or helpful.
As you might have guessed, this isn’t particularly effective in creating an awake and inspired life, lived with an open heart. So let’s pause to create that space I’ve been talking about. Take a deep breath, and then another. And another. Let’s remember that uncertainty reflects the fact that we are growing beyond where we are now, and that being uncertain is a natural and essential phase of the growth process.
Here are two personal mantras that you can call on to anchor you into that deeper truth:
- I am as and where I need to be.
- I am growing into a whole new level of insight and fulfillment.
Say these out loud, right now, slowly and mindfully. See if you can feel the comforting truth of them. Take another deep breath. Let this slowed-down, more peaceful moment be enough, just as it is. Don’t try to figure anything out.
Then gently shift your focus to something you are already clear about. It could be something totally unrelated to the circumstance giving rise to the uncertainty, or it could be a particular aspect of the circumstance that you are clear about.
For example, if you don’t like the work you’re doing but you’re frustrated because you don’t know what kind of work you want to do, you might – after taking your deep breaths and repeating the mantras slowly – shift your focus to something unrelated to work that you know you love or know you want – things where there are no “yes, but…” doubts to muddy the water. You could say to yourself, “I love my healthy body” or “I love my cats” (I use that one a lot) or “I’m really good at managing my money.” Choose something that feels solid and real and comforting to think it.
You could also look for areas of clarity that are somehow related to the circumstance giving rise to uncertainty. In this example, you might be able to say truthfully, “I know I deserve to be fulfilled in my work” or “I’m clear that taking some time off for a long weekend is just what I need” or even “I look forward to getting clear about this.” Again, slow this down so you can feel how good it feels to focus on it, and let that be enough for now.
The purpose of shifting your focus toward something you are clear about is to help you get on the “clarity” frequency – not because there is anything wrong with being uncertain, but because uncertainty is an invitation to slow down and invite new insights. Focusing on things you are clear about invites more clarity to emerge. Stay as long as you can on the clarity frequency, then move on to something that absorbs, delights or even distracts you.
Remember, you are as and where you need to be. You are growing into a whole new level of insight and fulfillment. And you are worthy of your own kind regard during times of uncertainty.
- Listen to this month’s meditation several times over the next few weeks. It is actually a visualization to support you in slowing down and gaining perspective during times when you feel uncertain, overwhelmed or confused. It is designed to help you relax and create space for emerging insights to occur.
- Create one or two personal mantras that help you anchor into the deeper truth of your own evolutionary journey. Here are a few examples, in addition to the ones offered in the essay above:
Confusion always precedes clarity.
Clarity will emerge at the perfect time.
Now is the time to slow down and relax.
I’ve navigated through many periods of uncertainty and I can navigate through this one.
Commit them to memory, and call on them when you feel confused, uncertain or overwhelmed.