• CM

The (Un)known

Themes of certainty and uncertainty, and of the known and unknown, appear on spiritual, philosophical, and even worldly human journeys. How have they shown up for you? What is your relationship like to these themes, and what do you want to learn about them?

In the chapter of my life defined by graduate clinical programs, I had to grapple with uncertainty and certainty on a very frequent basis.

I once put my name into a ranking system to get matched by an algorithm to a residency somewhere on the continent....

During my postdoctoral studies, I moved to a city that terrified me- and this was during a pandemic when the border to my home country was closed....

There were many different shades of certainty and uncertainty during my graduate clinical training.

As I developed as a clinical practitioner, I developed my muscle to sit with the presence of the unknown in the energetic space between client and practitioner, discovering how to skillfully weave a plan into a moment-by-moment interaction.

At one point during this chapter of life, I took a couple months off and went backpacking in Central America. During this time, my smartphone broke down and I was locked out of my emails. I relied on new friends at hostels to plan my next steps, and also embraced spontaneity as a portal to exciting adventures that I could have never rationally carved out beforehand. For example, dancing in the full moonlight off Lake Antigua with a friend I had just met... A few years later I was dancing at a music festival in California and looked to my right, realizing that this very same friend was dancing right beside me.

Sometimes the unknown, the uncertainty of life is pure magic. New friendships in backpackers hostels and profound healing revelations in clinical sessions appear from the unknown, and to me, it's like an artistic experiment to dive into these moments where I am certain that somehow, the divine will deliver.

But then there is moving to a feared megacity in the throes of a pandemic, without the ability to go home for a break from it all. There is the inability to sleep while waiting for a matching system to deliver a one-year plan regarding what city I will be moving to within a matter of months. This type of uncertainty, this format of the unknown, feels more like a test under steel-cold fluorescent lighting.

Are these types of uncertainty different? Are they fundamentally the same? If so, why does one type pull at my evolutionarily-rooted fear while another type excites my creative whimsy? Sometimes it feels like I'm testing the divine in the pleasant realm of the unknown, while in the gritty steel-cold realm of uncertainty it feels like the divine is testing me. I fluctuate between the questions of: Divine, what poetic moment of yours do I get to play with today versus Divine, what are you requiring from me and why are you making me suffer?

Recently, I visited a location where once, the universe provided a vision to me of an event that came years later. I meditated on the seeming impossibility of this experience. How on earth could the universe have known, 14 years before this event happened, that it would happen --and in such a specific manner? I believe that the universe co-creates and so considering the choice and collaboration I've had the opportunity to engage with in defining my life journey, it was especially amazing that the universe had known so specifically what would occur 14 years later.

In reflecting on this powerful experience, I started to realize how reassuring it can be to understand that the universe is guiding the way. Even in those moments where you don't know what's happening, the universe is with you. I imagined the universe like a warm blanket, or a caring parent, with an understanding beyond my capability. I return to that imagery and find that it helps in a way that no psychic, well meaning advising friend, or plan can when I don't have a desired answer regarding an uncertain situation. It is a simple transaction of trust.

Are we really looking for answers? Or are we looking for security, warm blanket moments, and a caring relationship? Are we really ever being tested- or just, like a caring parent leading a small child- guided to greater pastures in the journey of life? How can we be kinder to ourselves in those moments of strain and suffering due to uncertainty and see ourselves as children of the universe--- relying on faith and/or our attachment to the wider process of life (our "caring parent")? Perhaps this is the essence of blending my steel cold and creative whimsy aspects of the unknown.

.........I am but a child of the universe, totally reliant on my caring parent- the divine- for guidance and growth... Given my smallness, I am afraid, and in the moments where I feel disconnected from the caring parent, or the universe, I am particularly terrified. Given my childlike mind, I delight in the magic along the way, particularly when I feel safe next to my caring parent, or when I get caught in a flight of imaginative fancy...

I allude in this blog to the limitations of the human mind. How do you conceptualize your relationship to uncertainty? What are your beliefs about the role of a higher power, or your intuition, or the universe in relation to uncertainty? For you, is there a difference between uncertainty and the unknown? How might your mind limit your relationship to the unknown? In this entry, I used the metaphors of a caring parent and an attachment system to expand an understanding about a relationship to uncertainty and the universe. What metaphors suit you?

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