It’s taken me sometime to settle into my new home, Thailand. It still seems somewhat surreal. While I desperately miss my kids, I don’t miss South Africa. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I have fond memories growing up there, and I miss my close friends of course. The truth is, for as long as I can remember, I never felt like I truly fitted in there. I am not sure if I will ever feel fully at home in Thailand either, but it’s my temporary home for now nonetheless. I have given myself 5-years to explore this new chapter, but being the Nomad I am, I am always willing to charter into new waters.
As much as I say that though, when you find yourself in extreme change, it’s hard not become rigid. It’s easier to close off to the uncertainty than to embrace it. It’s not our fault entirely either, much of the desire to repel against uncertainty of change is simply the ego’s way of trying to keep us safe. As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know, that the one you dont.”
Fighting The Anxiety of Uncertainty!
I have had to fight closing off over the past several weeks. As I have tried to settle into a new rhythm, I felt my anxiety build. Those moments bring about questions, most often “Was this the right decision?” But I am reminded of the words of Beau lotto, a neuroscientist when he suggests “Nothing interesting begins with knowing, it begins with not knowing”
Much of my life right now teeters on the edge of now knowing. The question then is what do we ever truly know? Even our memories of our past are often skewed in such a way to place us at the center of protecting our sense of self, our ego. But not knowing really requires letting go of our internal narratives, at least to the point of seeing them as real, constant, unchanging. After all what is real other than the experience we are having right now and the way we decide to engage with it.
Opening Up to Uncertainty
I have found that being open to what comes, what is happening in the moment over the past several weeks, while suspending all judgement or a need to control the narrative – has been quit liberating. I have engaged with experiences as they are presented, allowing the ongoing narrative to continue running it’s script, while seeing it for what it truly is, impermanence pretending to be in control.
Coming out of this, and living at a retreat as a I do now, I have had some of the most profound, deepest, honest discussions with people I just met — more so than I have had with anyone in years, even those closest to me. I have set the intention daily to be vulnerable, which is by far the hardest thing I could ever ask of myself, considering that much of my life has been to be be perceived as hard-ass simply to survive.
Opening Up To The Universe
I don’t think it’s any coincidence then that I now find myself suddenly relating to people who I have known for years differently. There’s an openness, a sense of genuine deep connection that has arisen that I am enjoying. Being interested in the experiences I have been having over the past weeks with not knowing or needing to know the outcome, and simply allowing the universe to guide the process, has been liberating.
And just when I thought life was trying to throw me one massive curve ball after another, the universe stepped in to challenge my heart. Something amazing happened over the past couple of weeks, totally unexpectedly, and during what could be seen as the worst period of my life. The universe has a funny way of reminding you that you just don’t know when things will change, and changes in places you least expect it, or even want it too. But it takes being open, to be vulnerable, and to allow uncertainty to take its course for this to happen.
I am not prepared to write about what this was all about yet, but just when I was feeling like everything was hopeless — someone — the last person I would have ever had expected, stepped into my life.
What’s the lesson?
Within the dark lies the light only if you are brave enough to open up to it and let it in. But for this to to happen, it requires being vulnerable, and to stop thinking that you have to know all the answers, or always be in control.
I am reminded here of the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything:
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“What would I do if you never came here?’ But I was ALWAYS coming here. I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.”