The Three Words that Free Us
Guest blog post reposted with permission by Eremos’ friend, Carolyn Scarborough. You can find the original blog post and more at www.carolynscarborough.com.
Last week a family member shared some upsetting news, and I just lost it. I couldn’t be “strong” or “hold it together.” So, I did what I do when I need healing – I took a walk, even though it was late and dark outside.
I started thinking about all the things that were tilted in my life, from the pandemic to the news I had just heard. I was getting more and more upset wondering what to do until suddenly, out of nowhere, three words popped into my head.
I don’t know.
In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the Greek father often would shrug his shoulders about things beyond his control and lament “I don’t know.”
I decided to try it out. When will the pandemic end? I don’t know. When will I be able to feel safe eating in a restaurant? I don’t know. How will my business and creativity be affected? I don’t know.
I started thinking about how I was even confused about what makes me happy right now. I thought I knew what it was, but I’ve not been so clear of late. When that happens, I feel scared. It’s a loss of control and surety. Yet in this moment, I didn’t feel worried at all. I let out a big exhale and almost shouted the words aloud I don’t know! Immediately, I felt better.
It felt like surrendering the steering wheel to something much bigger. Suddenly, I didn’t have to hold it all together. To control or plan things. To exhaust myself trying fruitlessly to bend life to my will. To have the right answer. Or the wrong one. I simply don’t know.
It also felt truthful. Incredibly so. I realized how many times I tell myself that I know what will happen next, how I’ll react, what I’ll do… when ultimately I have no idea. Often that thought terrifies me. But this time, it didn’t feel like a fear but a complete, glorious surrender. Finally, I could rest in the present moment.
As I walked through the darkness, the half-moon glinting between the trees, crickets chirping, the sound of the breeze swaying the leaves, I felt held. Loved. Deeply connected.
I also heard through the moonlight the whisper of mystery, and the expansiveness that comes with not knowing. When I’m in this place, my mind lets go rather than hoarding painful thoughts and imaginings. Possibilities are limitless. I get out of the way and life has a chance to surprise me, delight me, or grow me in ways I didn’t imagine, but ultimately needed.
As I rounded the bend towards home, I was almost weeping with the freedom of those three words. As for what’s next, all I know is that, I don’t know. Thank goodness…
What are you ready to admit you don’t know in this moment? Whisper it, shout it, or write it in the comments section on the blog page!