I’ve spent a lot of time running away from the unknown in fear of the uncertainty that such space contains.
It’s taken me a good 28 years – better late than never! - to realise that “I don’t know” can be a place of such incredible power and expansion.
Rather than wading in and getting lost in the woods forever, when we embrace such unknowingness as a vital part of our journey, oh how exciting the path ahead becomes!
With this in mind I thought I’d put together some soulful strategies I’ve found helpful when it comes to surviving + thriving within the unknown.
Whether you’re facing a big life change such as figuring out your next step career-wise or opening your heart to a new relationship, it’s empowering to remember that we’re all creative beings, consciously – and sometimes unconsciously – plotting our path through thought, intention and action on the daily.
As frustrating as it can be to feel as if we can’t quite see the next leg of the journey ahead, as much as we may crave the reassurance of crystal clear clarity, it’s always far better to wait it out with love rather than pushing ourselves into creating from a place of inauthenticity.
By committing to wherever we are at this very moment in time, the unknown becomes an invitation to get to know ourselves better, self-exploration paving the way to the eventual clarity and focused direction we so desperately desire.
Read on for an overview of the strategies I turn to when journeying through times of “I don’t know!” and click on the video above to join me for an in-depth discussion. Cup of tea at the ready!
Accepting the present moment
The first step to making peace with the unknown is to accept wherever it is you are on your path right now. I know, I know, that might sound easier said than done!
Rather than meaning admitting defeat or sinking into stagnation, heartfelt acceptance involves surrendering to the truth of your situation, thereby releasing any tension or resistance blocking self-exploration in the present moment.
Often we push, push, push against not knowing because we fear that in surrendering we’ll somehow remain here forever – and the unknown isn’t a place we fancy camping out in for too long!
Yet it’s when we surrender to our present moment that space is created within which we can begin the journey onward, into and through unknowingness.
Simply affirming to the Universe, and to yourself, that you’re ready and willing to accept where you are right now is a wonderful way of acknowledging that not knowing is ok. It isn’t a bad thing, it’s simply a part of life that everybody cycles through.
I am willing to embrace where I am today. It is ok for me to not know where I’m going from here. I am safe, I am present, I am here. This is the perfect place for me to be at this point along my path.
Cultivating a mindset conducive to adventure
All great adventures begin with a degree of uncertainty, right?! Why wouldn’t life, the greatest adventure of them all, be the same?
Reframing our thoughts around the unknown can be a wonderful way of fuelling our desire to embrace rather than run away from questions currently without answer.
Growing up, we’re often made to feel as if the unknown is a place to avoid at all costs. From an early age we’re encouraged to ponder what we’d like to be when we’re older, the focus very much on external occupations and roles as opposed to considering how we’d like to feel (when feelings are what organically lead to external stuff that resonates!)
As such, to not know can begin to feel like quite the unwanted burden, shameful even, if we’re just not sure what it is we want to do when finally grown up and out of school.
Conditioned in such a way, who can blame us for panicking when faced with uncertainty?
We need clarity, concrete answers, total assurance or else we must have failed somehow – everyone else seems to have their sh*t together, why don’t we?!
And yet, of course, the truth is we all find ourselves walking through the forest of the unknown from time to time, whether for a matter of days, weeks, months or even years at a time - and that's absolutely ok.
For it's through not knowing that we explore, grow in understanding and, with time, cultivate clarity and a strengthened sense of direction. We can’t have one without the other.
Take a moment to check in with your thoughts around the unknown – do you instinctively view not knowing as a bad thing? As a weakness? As a failure?
How might you begin introducing thoughts supporting the idea that the unknown is actually a wonderful opportunity for adventure?
I’ve found it super helpful to craft affirmations along the line of:
The unknown is an exciting, expansive place to be. I embrace this period of self-discovery and trust that everything I need to know will reach me at exactly the right point in time. I am committed to following my curiosity and feeling my way forward from here. What an exciting adventure this is!
While such words may feel a little clunky at first, with time we soon find that our outer reality begins to mirror the beliefs we're nurturing within.
Generating a sense of momentum through movement
The temptation when faced with uncertainty is to be still; to fold into ourselves and freeze-frame until clarity rises within. While it may seem counter-intuitive, embracing physical movement is a great way of building a sense of momentum, helpful when adopting a mindset of adventure ahead.
In doing so we feel less like we’re going nowhere fast, and more like we’re progressing and evolving even when clarity seems far away – because we are! We’re on the move, open to unexpected surprises and discoveries ahead, and boy does it feel good!
Whether that means visiting places you haven’t visited before, getting off the couch and taking a long walk in nature, renting a Boris Bike and cycling around Hyde Park (hiii, my personal new fave!) or doing some gentle stretches in the comfort of your own home, try to fit physical movement into your daily routine.
Movement leads to enriching life experiences, and it’s through experiencing life, experiencing living, that we’re able to grow into a point of greater clarity.
Sometimes we need a new experience, an unexpected conversation or interaction, fresh visual stimulus, to jog our thoughts and self-understanding into a new space.
Through such experiences we begin processing and sifting through what feels good and what truly aligns, calling “more please!” when hitting upon something that resonates.
A great way of checking in with whether something jives with you is to ask yourself, mid-activity or experience, “how is this making me feel?” If it feels joyful, exciting, expansive, dive right in!
Asking such a question also helps ground us fully into the present moment, bringing a sense of rootedness that we might feel as if we’re lacking when in the midst of uncertainty.
Embracing a consistent spiritual practice
Creating sacred space on the daily has had such a hugely positive impact on the way in which I approach and thrive within the unknown.
My morning practice typically consists of some card slinging and a chapter or two of a good book while sipping a cup of English Breakfast tea, and such sacred time is non-negotiable!
Whether lasting five minutes or a full hour, such space helps me anchor into the present moment while also having a chance to catch my breath and check-in with how I’m feeling; essential when navigating unknown waters.
The beauty of your personal spiritual practice is that it can consist of whatever feels right for you – the possibilities are endless! Checking in with yourself before scrolling through social media or diving into work affirms that your needs, thoughts and feelings are worth prioritising, acknowledging and tending to.
What would work for you, sacred space-wise? What would you enjoy doing on the daily? What kind of ritual – as complex or as simple as you desire! – would support you in grounding into the day ahead?
And of course, if mornings don’t work for you, you can always sink into sacred space at another time of day.
Honouring our dance along the spectrum of knowingness
Our heart centre has a funny way of joining the dots and slotting the puzzle pieces together behind the scenes, before we come into conscious awareness of answers already on their way.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve fretted over a decision or choice, only to eventually realise that while things may have seemed muddled and near hopeless, my heart centre somehow knew what I needed and wanted all along.
While I was busy worrying and panicking, she was holding down the fort and figuring things out in the very best way behind the scenes! Often our unknowingness is there for a reason, a really good reason – integral to the process rather than an irritating or upsetting hindrance.
Affirming our faith in the unknown is a super empowering way to honour our natural cycles of knowing to unknowing and back again. For we’re never going to have complete clarity all of the time, just as we’re never going to remain within the unknown forever, either. Phew!
When we release the urge to cling to eventual clarity while also releasing the urge to push against the unknown, tension dissipates and we begin to move through life with greater ease, within all circumstances both inner and outer.
I embrace the unknown as a natural part of life. I recognise that I am ever evolving, ever moving, ever growing, ever creating, and not knowing is a sacred part of such growth.
I honour clarity and uncertainty equally, each dancing into the other, each providing sacred space for enriching understanding and heartfelt adventure.
I trust that beneath the surface my Soul Voice knows the way from here, and that She will send me directions at exactly the right moment in time.
I recognise that it is far more satisfying to embrace patience as opposed to choosing and creating from a place of inauthenticity.
My hopes and dreams are worthy of authentic creation, and so I embrace the unknown with love today.
As tempting as it can be to look outside of ourselves for confirmation of our next step, it feels far more satisfying to honour our journey and embrace uncertainty for the gift that it is; a gift enabling adventure, soulful self-discovery and creation born from a place of beautiful intuitive connection and personal truth.
Through “I don’t know” we create a path towards “I do know!”, bringing such knowing into being with every step we take. For ultimately, to know is to create as we go, clarity something born from within rather than found on the outside.
We can think of knowing and not knowing as running along a spectrum, encompassing crystal clear clarity, muddy uncertainty and everything in between.
Neither one the enemy, both crucial to this beautiful journey we call life.
With love, gratitude and sacred surrender,