Catching up on Facebook the other day, a friend of mine shared a quote from a book she was rereading. I jotted down the title, and since I have more time these days while being sequestered, I ordered it for my kindle. Reading Susan Jeffers book, Embracing Uncertainty, has been a good reminder during this worldwide pandemic, of some important truisms.
I’ll just share a few from the book:
Living each day with hope can be filled with suffering. What?!
While it is better to remain hopeful than despondent and full of pessimism, hope is a word and emotion loaded with expectations. Hoping is wishing, wanting and desiring in disguise. We get into the habit, as I often am, of hoping everything. Have you ever said these - I hope it won’t rain. I hope I won't be late for my phone meeting. I hope today is a good day. I hope the kids get along today. I hope there isn’t much homework. I hope I don’t mess up. I hope the line won’t be long for drive-up coffee. I hope we get to go to restaurants again soon. I hope I don’t say the wrong thing. I hope he/she likes me. And on and on - there are bound to be disappointments in these ongoing hopes and expected outcomes.
Living each day with wonder helps.
Instead of “I hope it won’t rain,” “I wonder if it will rain today.” Just writing it down feels like less pressure than the hopeful statement. Wondering allows for more than one answer. “I wonder when the current world situation will stabilize?” Wondering eliminates the innumerable opportunities for disappointment, since hopes are often shattered. Wondering brings in curiosity and a sense of adventure. Each day will happen, and sometimes it will rain and sometimes it won’t. The rain and most of the hopes mentioned above are not in our control. The emotions will come and go. The difference is that wondering allows for observation of the events and our emotions. Hoping or giving up hope, wraps us tightly in the emotions, trapping us in the drama.
Know-It-Alls close the door to knowing.
Listening to the “experts” can be a very frustrating experience, as it seems they don’t “know” much of anything. Experts can’t seem to agree either. In reality, even results of scientific research are often filled with guesses. There are many flaws in research and studies that provide the expert claims of “proof”. The know-it-alls believe their own rhetoric and claim they have all the answers.
Yet, a real expert will tell you, “To the best of our knowledge at the present time, this is the information we have. Future research may prove us wrong.” Unfortunately, the media and the public in general, often push our leaders, scientists and so-called experts to have “the right answer”, and under immense pressure our society yields self proclaimed know-it-alls. In order to succeed, we believe we have to “know” the answers. I am certainly among those who believed I had to have the answers in order to achieve and succeed.
Not-knowing is the path of wisdom.
Currently, our desire to listen to those who claim to know everything, results in our hopes and expectations controlling us. We listen to those we agree with and shut out those who have differing views. We hope for a certain action or response and seek out those who will give it to us. Polarization is the direct result. Yet, even with this controlling of expectations, there is inevitable uncertainty in our life. It may rain today or MAYBE it won’t. The stock market will go up or MAYBE it will go down. If we want to be disappointed, rigid, angry, impatient and obsessive, then we can continue letting our expectations control us. Giving MAYBE a chance whether there is a long line at Starbucks or we say the wrong thing will lead to more spontaneity, creativity, joyfulness and calm. It is a wiser path to realize that life is full of MAYBE and accept not-knowing.
When we think something will last forever, we tend to forget to focus on now.
Susan Jeffers also offers some good relationship advice that pertains to all of life. She says about love and her personal relationship - “We don’t think about forever. We think about today…..When you focus on acting lovingly today, love tends to grow and grow.”
MAYBE we can stop worrying about whether we will have enough toilet paper, be indoors and sequestered forever or hoping that life will return to “normal” again soon?
MAYBE if we wonder what we can do that is amazing TODAY, perhaps the day will present new opportunities for creativity, joy, growth and love.
MAYBE we will even become a bit wiser?
Loving Life and Living Love,