“At the center of your being you have the answer: you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
In many ways for me, this has been the year of I Don’t Know.
I went through all my schooling like a good little girl, even bounced into taking some college classes at the age of 15. I got a degree in a field where I have made a little dent in changing the world and have found some level of success.
… and now what?
Sometimes I look at my hobbies blankly, not feeling any stirring of desire to do the things that I love. Sometimes the next steps overwhelm me. When loved ones ask me what’s next, what inspires me, what is my next living situation going to look like, I usually dig my purple high heel into the ground and dead-end the conversation with “I don’t know.”
Frustration and overwhelm. The resistance in my body is palpable, entwining between my ribs and imprisoning my once-radiant spirit deep into my body where no one can see it. I don’t know. Redirect the conversation back to the other person. Wipe my hands clean.
I Don’t Know feels real and menacing. But no matter how real it may seem, I Don’t Know is an illusion. The sluggishness of I Don’t Know is nothing more than our own resistance and separation from who we truly are. No matter how many times we retreat into our I Don’t Know snail shell, a part of us knows what we want and how we want to feel.
When we pull back the layers of our personality, our life experiences, our fears, and the conflicting expectations that people have for us, there is a glowing core of us that is fiercely alive. Even though our inner voice has all of the answers we are seeking, we rarely allow this glistening part of ourselves out into the open.
I Don’t Know is a foreign concept to our inner voice. We know, thumping deeply in our heart of hearts, exactly what we want.
We know how we want to feel, and we know what makes us happy. We know what isn’t working in our life right now, even if our logical mind tries to cajole us into thinking everything is Okay. We know why we feel unfulfilled in our careers, we know what habits we need to kick, and we know that certain relationships just are not going to work out no matter how hard we clank the puzzle pieces together.
Our knowingness is primal and universal, birthed from that highest part of ourselves that is in tune with all of the energetic forces that flicker through the universe. What we don’t know is how our dreams and desires will come to fruition (more on that in Knowing What You Know – Part II).
Accessing this knowingness can be tricky – cutting through the chatter and static of Everyday Life is no small task. A book can’t tell us what we know – but its ideas can ignite a spark that was already there, just dormant. Our parents can’t tell us what we know – but sometimes their advice can hit a chord that resonates and makes us feel alive. Spiritual teachers can’t hand us inner knowledge on a shiny silver platter – but they can unearth the deeper truths that were buried beneath our internal baggage.
Trusting this knowingness can be even harder. When we don’t know, we don’t need to take steps forward or mend our broken relationships or admit our own fault. I Don’t Know is easy. I Don’t Know means we are terrified. When you find yourself saying that you don’t know, send yourself some extra love and attention – those words are a neon guidepost to where you are raw and scared and vulnerable.
I envision our intuition as a conch shell nestled in our heart, rhythmically whispering our truth if we only dared to listen closely. By having the courage to trust in what we already know to be true, we pave the way for miraculous life changes that can align us with our authenticity and power.
We don’t have to know how our dreams will unfold, or even if they will unfold. We don’t have to know the exact next step we are supposed to take. But by listening deeply to the larger truths in our heart, we make a commitment to our own wild and adventurous life experience. We allow our priorities to center themselves around our soulful authenticity, and we start to notice the glaring moments in our days when Life As We Know It is not living up to the standard we have set.
And we start to make some changes.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
What would make you happy – rip-roaringly smiling and radiant every day of the rest of your life?
Where do you belong?
What is missing? How could you find it?
You already know.
Love & Sacred Knowingness,
(Stay tuned for Knowing What You Know, Part II – and in the meantime, share your wisdom in the comments section!)