In between the certainty of seasons changing, the sun rising and setting, the first cry of new life, to the last breath taken, lives uncertainty.

Had I understood in 2015, when I began my “Year of No,” sabbatical, that I was diving headfirst into the sea of non-accomplishment (gulp), and a long “to-do” list would no longer guide my day, I may have disregarded that dream. I’m so grateful I didn’t!

A few weeks into my sabbatical, with anxiety running like a current of electricity through my body, I stood in our dining room, turning in circles, completely lost; the rudder had fallen off my boat. I needed something familiar to do, so I vacuumed.

A few months later, when a friend asked how my “Year of No” (2015/2016) sabbatical was progressing, I answered, “I’m in the space between what was and what will be.”

When the wheel of life slows, the “to-do” lists disintegrate into dust, and the drive to accomplish to fill “the space between” is replaced with room to allow “what will be” to emerge – something else rises to the surface… identity with Self.

In her book “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change,” Pema Chodron wrote that identity with Self is “how we try to put solid ground under our feet in an ever-shifting world.”

Unbeknownst to me, “my year of no” sabbatical wasn’t about unhooking from my busyness habit; it was the beginning of releasing my fixed identity. Or, as Pema Chodron shares, in Buddhism, fixed identity is called “ego-clinging.”

The ego served a purpose in childhood. It helped you adapt to your family culture. As you grew, the ego continued behind the scenes, tucking aspects of yourself (light and dark) into what the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, calls “the shadow.

Your shadow lurks quietly, guiding unconscious beliefs and reactions, until one day, you wake up wanting something different. 
The illusion of certainty has become dull, even unsettling.

For decades I woke up each morning mentally reviewing my “to-do” list while reaching for that morning cup of coffee (aka – cup of adrenaline). I charged ahead, thinking I was living a purposeful life. In reality, my feet hit the ground running to feel a semblance of safety, security, and certainty.

My illusion of certainty was created from the routine of accomplishment. 

I was ego-clinging to the identity of being a “go-getter” and a woman who gets things done. I was on top of it all, in control, juggling all the balls, volunteering, “succeeding” (per cultural conditioning), and doing all the things a “good woman” does.

That is until I entered the space between…

Living rudderless is unnerving. Facing yourself is unnerving. Bucking the cultural paradigm is unnerving. 

However, what’s most unnerving is being led by the outer world. The inherited beliefs of family and cultural conditioning form thoughts and habits that spark reactions that drive “doing” to avoid swimming in the sea of uncertainty.

Courage. Deep breathe. Courage. Deep breathe. Courage.

Mornings signaled the beginning of the “rat race.” I did not wake up enthused for the day ahead. Now, mornings signal the beginning of a day full of possibility and opportunity!

Curiosity has replaced the need for certainty. Ah, sure, I have a few things jotted down on my “opportunity list” (wink). The rudder is back on my boat, but instead of a white-knuckle grip on the tiller, there’s a light finger resting.

Lightness, curiosity, anticipation… harmony.

Harmony is a series of notes strung together. Certainty would have you believe you must control those notes. Harmony is knowing your inner rhythm and listening to your inner voice. Harmony is messy, fun, exhilarating, painful, joyful, tears, and laughter. Harmony is turning toward what makes you feel uncomfortable and what is joyful.

Harmony is allowing “it all,” including vacuuming. Because sometimes life gets so unsettling, something familiar is needed. And that’s okay too.

Courage. Deep breathe. Courage. Deep breathe. Courage.

  1. Ask: What is my desire for certainty protecting me from? What is my illusion of certainty?
  2. Let go: Ego-clinging – discover… “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
  3. Embrace: Curiosity, intrigue, and the wonderment of the unknown.
  4. Practice: Self-compassion. Self-soothing. Self-love. Self-first.
  5. Emerge: Integrate aspects of ‘you’ hidden in your shadow and allow your true self to emerge.
  6. Lead: Your day guided by your intention, purpose, inner knowing, rhythm, and soul.
  7. Freedom: Freedom flows when you embrace and accept the certainty of uncertainty.

Toss the roadmap. Crush the crystal ball. Let go of the need to know. 
Unsettling? You bet. Liberating. Absolutely! Care to join me? I hope so!




Pin It on Pinterest