Well we know where we’re going
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re knowing
But we can’t say what we’ve seen
And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

Talking Heads

August was a month of searching. Returning from a few weeks away, my head was clear, my soul revived, I returned to Melbourne, confident that I was about to step into a new era, a new experience of who I was, who I was becoming. And then…………….nothing. Nada. Stillness. Wondering. Questions. Doubt. Get my drift?

Why is it so damn challenging to live the questions? To live in the not knowing? Oh, there is a question in itself! But seriously, it seems as a society we all just want the answer. Like just tell me how to do what I need to get done, and then problem solved. The how to process, the quick fix, the feeling of certainty when we have an answer and we can complete, conclude, finish something. But you know, I am slowly getting used to the experience of not having the answer. It’s kind of threatening, isn’t it. Not having a resolution, being in the dark, having to say to someone “I don’t know”. It kills our strongly entrenched desire for control and predictability. Like we are on some treadmill of collecting answers, and the experience of uncertainty, or living in the question is unbearable.

So, let’s say that you read this and you’re like, yeah! I get your drift. I am going to dedicate my day tomorrow to living in the question. So you do this, and what do you know, you stumble across an answer that you weren’t even looking for. Aha, you exclaim, that is the trick isn’t it. As soon as I stop looking for the answer, it reveals itself to me. Yes, good, certainty again, now I can be on my way.

But hang on. Did we just agree to a 24hr period of living the question? So okay, you have an answer, but what about what the answer doesn’t reveal? What would it be like to find an answer, pause there, and be willing to look beyond the answer into  what you have not yet seen? Would that be possible? To keep living in the realm of inquiry, even though we ‘think’ we have found an answer?

Man, there is so much out there to continue to be amazed and in awe of. It’s like, each time I chip away at something I think is a certainty, like, I don’t really want to go out on another date with that guy cause I know he isn’t the one for me……..something shows up that completely surprises me. The guy turns into the best thing that has ever happened to you, the job interview you didn’t want to go on because you presumed you were under qualified, leads you into a conversation that opens another avenue, the regular dialogue with your partner, kids, parents, friends, co workers becomes a new experience as you re learn how to actually listen, rather than presuming you know who these people are and what they are going to say.

Hooray, life opens up into that big mystery again. We get good at intentional listening. Listening from the heart which creates space and new possibilities. Are you willing to give this a try. Like have a conversation with someone, and catch yourself each time you fall into the trap of judging what they are saying, preparing what you will say next, or even just zoning out because you have decided that you don’t need to hear what is being said. It takes guts, it takes effort, and it takes a complete willingness to not be in control. There is a lot to learn when we aren’t in control. This will be the obstacle to living the question, weakening your control muscles so you can strengthen your don’t know ones.

You know, the most powerful place we can be in our lives is to be in the courage of asking the question ‘What am I not seeing that is limiting me’. Yes, you might have to face some things you have been avoiding by remaining in charge, but the reward of facing what needs to be faced, giving up what needs to be given up and being a yes to what’s next is well worth it.

So this is the challenge from this musing. To give up our need to know what is next and just get curious to what is unfolding, even if you have no idea where it is taking you.

May the force be with you

Contact Michelle for next upcoming retreat (day, weekend, overseas)

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