The Art of Not Knowing

Photo by  Austin Chan  on  Unsplash

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I feel raw.

In June, I leave for three weeks. I'll be in training, refining my skills in the healing and regression modality that I use with clients to change the patterns in their life so they can be more fully alive.  It’s deep work. It is therapeutic and healing and accesses depths that talk therapy can't always get to. It brings relief from trauma and drives inspiration.  It means that real change happens for my clients.

So what does three weeks of training look like?  

It means that I'm going to be opened up.

I can't help my clients if I haven't been on the front lines.

It will require vulnerability and rigor. It may be volcanic or a gentle blooming. I know that I will be different on the other side of it. I know I will be able to bring more to my clients. Those are truths.

And, I have no idea what is really going to happen. Sitting with the not knowing is both an art and a challenge.

Knowing answers feels good.  There’s an inherent confidence and ease that comes when we have the answers.  It’s rewarding. It’s the key to good grades, to promotions, to leadership positions and credibility with friends and peers.  When we know the answers, the world is set and we know our place in it and that feels good.

Which is why not knowing can be hard.  Some questions require time and examination. They could upend our positioning of our place in the world.  It requires a surrender, when all we want to do is control. Holding the not knowing requires an uncomfortable grace.

“Do I stay in this job or look for another?”

“What is my purpose in life?”

“Do I send my child to kindergarten early or hold them back?”

“Which direction is the right way?”

“Do I take the short term fix or play the long game?”

When I have to hold a question, like "what is going to change for me during this training" some part of me desperately wants an answer, and right the f*&k now.  Someone please give me direction, give me an answer, because not knowing is SO uncomfortable. There is fear in not knowing and the ‘what if’s’ creep in.  
Fear makes us push for an answer. We want to assert our place in the world and demand the confidence and ease to replace the fear. We will sometimes take or create a decision, just to move forward, even if it isn't the right decision.

Here is what I am learning.  There are truths to live by. There is timing.  There is the art of not knowing, which is really the art of the letting go of the outcome.  

When I hold to truth (I will feel different in three weeks) and I let go of the outcome (better, worse, stronger, weirder), something eases up.  There is no wrong answer if I hold to truth. And in fact, if I let go of the outcome, there is simplicity.  
I don't feel compelled to...

Construct my life around a potential outcome,

Protect myself from an outcome,

Attach myself to a decision as better or worse,

Adhere to a not-yet-happened outcome,

Or even organize around

An answer that has not yet come.

I can stay in the face of not knowing anything but a desire for truth and from there, any outcome will be ok. 

and the truth will set you free.

With all the love of not knowing,


Vuja De

I recently discovered Vuja De.  It is my new favorite expression and not just because I like the way it rolls off my tongue.  I returned from three weeks of meditation and when people ask about my trip, I often struggle to explain how life altering it feels.  Nothing tangible has changed, and yet, everything is brighter and more vibrant and infinitely altered.  I was listening to a lecture by Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton, on the concept of original ideas when he threw out this term "vuja de."  I literally stopped the car, fumbled with my phone and replayed it three times.  Vuja De is the reverse of deja vu.  It goes like this. 

Suppose you're in a situation that is very familiar-perhaps you're driving to work or doing something else that you've done a hundred times before-and you suddenly feel as if you are experiencing it in a new light, as if it's the first time.  Waiting for a taxi and notice all the empty cars?  Vuja de moment and Uber is born.  It's a birthplace for original ideas.  I researched this further and while it's an expression used more recently by Adam Grant and Tom Kelley of famed company IDEO, the term actually originated from comedian George Carlin.

After three weeks of meditation, life feels like a series of vuja de moments.

The thing is, more of us do not experience many of these moments, because we often choose the default options in life.  We don't question the norms of everyday life.  If I could offer anything, add this to your bucket list:  spend a week away in meditation, or silence, in contemplation, or alone in nature, or in prayer.  Find a program or retreat that resonates with you and do yourself a favor, at some point in life, make time for it.  Everyone should experience moments of vuja de. 

And while I cannot offer you weeks of solitude, I do have options that can spark a bit of vuja de.  The two day Awakening the Third Eye meditation workshop coming up June 3 & 4 and is a great way to build and solidify a personal meditation practice and to open you up to deeper states of consciousness. 

Another dive into your own originality is through the The Inner Wild Child Immersion.  It is filling up quickly, but there are still spots left.  Find out what it feels like to rediscover your fearlessness, your creativity and your invincibility. 

Go on, take the plunge and experience your brilliance. 
Vuja de it.  

More on Adam Grant or to watch his Ted Talk:

The Month of Love and Sweet, Delicious Intimacy. But First, Rage, Grief, and Yoga.

Yoga makes me angry.  

I don't do yoga often and when I do, I usually get mad.  This has happened on and off since I was introduced to my first sun salutation as a freshman in college.  I've seen in meditation how my anger is often a cover-up for grief, sadness, and disappointment.  It's easier for me to feel angry than to feel hurt.  It is somehow less vulnerable.  But despite all my insights, yoga still vexes me.

So, in line with my new years resolution to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, I bought a pass for a half a dozen yoga classes in the neighborhood.  Fast forward to yesterday's class.

About five minutes into the class, it hit.  The room was hot.  Crowded. The pose was uncomfortable.  Agitation.  Anger.  Fury.

No insights.  

The class continued for me, a mix of sweat, profanity, struggle, and flow.  

Mid-way through class, the instructor suggested
not wiping the sweat away.  That the sweat was a part of us and to accept it as part of the practice.  Somehow, that statement was profound.  I realized, in that moment, I was harboring self-judgement.  I felt a betrayal by the inflexibility of my body, by the lack of grace I felt, by the rigidity with which I held myself.  I felt a betrayal even with my own sweat.  Here was a place where I did not love or accept myself.

As I opened to this feeling, the anger dissolved into grief.  Grief for how I've punished myself and perceived my body as my enemy, rather than my home.  The pain of silently battering myself for having an inadequate, less than yoga-perfect body.    

In feeling the grief, something let go.

I arrived home lighter and more joyful.  I danced and laughed with the kids all morning.  I flirted with my husband.  I'll get angry again, I'm sure.  But the truth is, I can only feel as much joy as I allow myself to feel grief. It is in opening to whatever emotion is coming, and not hiding from it, that I will find my peace.  Maybe even with yoga.   

Together We Rise and in Recognition of Men

It is an opportunity to hold each other towards all that is light inside of us, reminding each other of the best in us, carrying our friends, family, and communities towards greater heights.  

It is an opportunity to hold each other towards all that is light inside of us, reminding each other of the best in us, carrying our friends, family, and communities towards greater heights. 

(Note:  this blog was originally written in the final days of the election, before votes had been cast.  I had expected, despite the close race, that Hilary would win.  My hope is that all of the issues that plague our nation and have surfaced during the election continue to face scrutiny and lead to change.)

As the 2016 presidential election comes to a close, some things have become clear. 

It is a time to lift each other up.  Men and women together, lifting each other higher, bringing this generation of children on our ascent.  It is an opportunity to hold each other towards all that is light inside of us, reminding each other of the best in us, carrying our friends, family, and communities towards greater heights.  Because it is obvious, that we cannot rely on our systems and institutions to do this for us.  It will not come from our representatives across the nation.  While we wish that they could embody our greatest ideals for us, to carry that torch so that we can be inspired, it is not the way right now.  It is up to us.  This is a grassroots campaign of inspiration, aspiration and humanity.  

It is happening with women and race all over the country.  Voices are being heard and issues are being brought to the spotlight and scrutinized.  The light that is still in the shadow, is one I want to recognize.  That of the good men in our community.  Most of the men and boys I know are admirable.  They uphold the masculine, love their family, respect the women in their lives and are already part of this movement.  They are the antithesis of the campaign rhetoric around fear, hate and sexual debasement.  They are on the side of feminism.  They may be products of white privilege, but they can be and already are beacons of a shift; a global trend towards a more inclusive, better world.  A world that invites equality, compassion and mutual respect.

In celebration and in recognition of these men, in addition to my regular meditations, I'm hosting a one time men's meditation night on Monday, November 28, from 7-8pm in Pt. Loma.  If meditation has ever felt intimidating or inaccessible, this is the class to come to.