There is enormous freedom in remembering how little we actually know. Dr. Amy Johnson
I have three treasured friends experiencing major events in their lives. One the potential loss of her beloved, one the revealing of a betrayal, and one has her own life-threatening diagnosis.
I feel so much love and empathy for these dear people.
My brain on the other hand is doing what a brain does, labeling, narrating, and at times, catastrophizing. Brains hate the ambiguity of life. It’s black or it’s white. It’s wonderful or a total shit-show.
Brains are not comfortable hanging out in the gray areas of life. They want certainty and efficiency, even if the certainty is gloom and doom. Brains know what should and shouldn’t happen. They know what should have happened in the past and what should happen in the future.
And I’m not my brain. I have a brain.
The most freeing words to me are - I don’t know.
I don’t know what people should experience in their life. I don’t know what events should or shouldn’t happen AND I can support, empathize, and comfort them in the spaciousness of not knowing what their predicament means.
Same with myself. I don’t know what experiences should have occurred. Maybe all of them, since they did. Not knowing frees me from the energy drain of rejecting what is here in this moment. It also frees me from soul-sucking victim stories
If I think I do know, I can get caught up in thought loops of self-pity for the hard times or arrogance for the good ones.
When I fully accept what I don’t know, the word “should” seems kind of irrelevant.
Of course my brain loves the word “should." It’s very helpful when following a recipe. If I put it in oven at 350 for 60 minutes, it should be cooked. Black and white. Easy-peasy.
And life doesn’t have a recipe. Things happen. Things sometimes go as planned and sometimes they go way off track. So far off track you can’t even see the tracks anymore.
During these times it is really helpful not to have the added pressure of needing to know what the future will hold or what could have been seen or done earlier.
We know what we know when we know it. Not a second sooner.
Not knowing can help with our feelings as well. What if we just felt what we felt when we feel it, as opposed to listening to our brains when they say we shouldn’t feel a certain way or we shouldn't feel at all.
What if we just let the energy of our feelings move through us?
In our not knowing, we might find out that we are more resilient, wiser, and capable than what we formally “knew.”
How could accepting what you don’t know free you?
For example, I don’t know when the light should turn green. I don't know how much I should weigh right now. I don’t know that my spouse shouldn’t have said what he just said.
Can you quit “shoulding” on yourself?