How to Dance with the Unknown

Have you ever noticed that when you’re in the unknown, you easily start stressing about what COULD happen? Your thinking mind goes into overdrive, trying to find the answers. You feel desperate to uncover some way to gain even a small sense of control in an out of control situation. Yet this never makes you feel much better, right? Maybe it’s because there’s another way to dance with the unknown…

Doesn’t this facial expression capture what many of us are feeling as we move through this part of 2020?!

Here’s my kiddo heading to her first day of 4th grade. She has her mask attached to her wrist, ready to be worn once she arrives at school. Her newly acquired camping chair is in one hand, which she’ll be using for her outdoor classes, which will be many during COVIDtime! Her bookbag and backpack are thrown onto her little body, too.

And her face says, “I think I’m ready for this…maybe? I’m not sure. Well, here goes!”

I feel so grateful that her school will be in person. And I feel nervous, too.

There are so many unknowns, right? And we each have to make the decisions that feel the best for each of us. There’s no one correct answer here. And sometimes I wish there was!

Sometimes I feel myself getting pulled into a “Hard I Don’t Know” about it all. You know, when you’re not sure what’s going to happen, and you start stressing about what COULD happen. Your thinking mind goes into overdrive, trying to find the answers. You feel desperate to uncover some way to gain even a small sense of control in an out of control situation.

Yeah. The Hard I Don’t Knows NEVER feel good, and they always make us feel so gripped with stress, don’t they? But sometimes we have to hang out in that place for a bit.

But I always appreciate it when a “Soft I Don’t Know” sneaks in.  Or when I remember to invite it in.

Instead of demanding that I find a solution to the situation, curiosity takes over. My hands move from clenched to a soft, open, questioning position as I ask myself, “Huh. I wonder how this is all going to work out? I wonder what solutions are going to show up that I haven’t even thought of yet?”

And just like that, my body lets go a bit. My jaw loosens, and my shoulders drop down from my ears and resume their healthy height;-)

This is what I saw in my daughter’s face today. A big, “Soft I Don’t Know.” She knows this year will be different. She’s aware school may shift to virtual again. She’s ready for new outdoor classes. She’s prepared to wear a mask in school.  And she wonders how it will all work out.

Does this mean she’s left the “Hard I Don’t Knows” behind? Ha! Good try! Do ANY of us leave them completely behind?

It sure is helpful to remember that the “Soft I Don’t Knows” are waiting for us when we’re ready to unclench our hands, even for a moment, and wonder what solutions are going to show up that we haven’t even thought of yet.

What are the things in YOUR life that could use a “Soft I Don’t Know” right now? I’d love to hear. 💗

P.S. If you’ve been enjoying my weekly blogs and are itching for more daily inspiration, friend me on Facebook (Emily Colwell) or follow me on Instagram (dr.emily_colwell).  I post frequently and humor leaks into most of my posts!

Warmly,

Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to receive future blogs directly to your inbox click the button below