Embracing uncertainty

At this moment, I have a lot different things in the works. I am trying to plan a trip or two, waiting on a potential deployment to Houston, beginning to apply for jobs, and upcoming yoga teacher training weekend. I hope it all works out because there is some uncertainty as to how things may fall.  

I used to think hoping for things was passive but I recently learned otherwise. By reading Brené Brown’s books, I have learned hope is not an emotion but a way of thinking, a cognitive process. Hope happens when we have realistic goals, we are able to figure out how to achieve these goals, and we believe in ourselves. I have realistic goals, I know what I want to achieve. I know how I want to achieve them, I know if things collide I will adjust and rearrange to make room for all the things I want to do. I believe in myself. Learning what hope means according to the research helps me understand what is really happen when I hope for something. It is not passive, it is quite the opposite. Hoping is active, hoping for something requires work. I love that.

For each thing that I have planned or I am trying to plan, I have a goal, I have a way to achieve that goal, and I believe in myself. However, nothing removes the uncertainty of things. Life is still uncertain no matter how hard we plan, how much we adjust or how flexible we are. No matter how much we think we’ve out run uncertainty, life can still flip us upside down. We really don’t know anything. Only life, the universe, God, or whatever you want to call the greater force that exists, knows what will happen. I mean how many times have you planned something and it didn’t work out. We may have the best intentions, the best plans, and we may even be very flexible when those plans change but in the end things are going to work out how they were always meant to. It is not up to us to know how things are meant to go. Our only job is to keep doing the next right thing.

We can’t beat uncertainty. But we live in a world and in a culture where that is all we strive to have, certainty. We live so afraid because we are all scared to die because death is uncertain. What we fail to understand is life is just as uncertain. We have just as little control of our lives, in the big cosmic way of things, as we do over death. Nothing is ever certain. We don’t know anything until we know it, until it happens. Then as quickly as we know something is certain, everything changes flipping what we just learned to be certain on its head.

All we can do is hope. All we can do is set goals, make plans to achieve them, and believe in ourselves. Embracing uncertainty does mean you let life take control. It means when life takes control and things don’t work out as planned, you can be flexible to that change instead of being utterly shell-shocked things didn’t go the way you planned.

If we could let go of their need to make things certain, our lives would change and the world would change. We would hope for things and go after what we want without fear of the outcome. Because when we try to make the uncertain certain, we are often making things worse. The truth of everything and the next step of  life will all be revealed to each of us when we are ready for it. That is why we can only do the next right thing because that is the only thing that is certain. We can’t know what will happen in 5 months, 5 years or really even in 5 days.

Understanding and embracing uncertainty would help us breathe a little easier. We would be able to focus on what is right in front of us. We would keep hoping for things while at the same time embracing the uncertainty of it all. Because as Pema Chödrön said, “We don’t ultimately know anything. There’s no certainty about anything.” Embracing uncertainty means we stop fighting against life. Life will always win. We can only embrace what comes and we accept what doesn’t.



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