Monday, March 22, 2010

Finding certainty during uncertain times

What do you know for sure? How does it feel when you know something for sure? That’s the feeling I am trying to capture.

My life has been filled with uncertainty lately between health, family, recession, and so on. And I’d like to change that. While writing this blog post, I remembered that life is always filled with uncertainty, and if this is true, which it is, then staying true to my beliefs, I just need to figure out how to use the uncertainty so that it empowers me rather than sucking the life right out from under me.

When I feel uncertain, I get nervous. My mind fills with clutter thoughts like: What’s going to happen? I then attach possible outcomes to different scenarios, like ‘If I just eat apples and walnuts, then I believe my blood sugars will be okay’ or ‘if I don’t use artificial sweeteners, then maybe I won’t get cancer.’ My body then tightens because I really prefer the taste of peanut butter over walnuts and Splenda over Truvia. I feel angst in my stomach and my shoulders tighten. And I feel that I need a good massage, a vacation, or wine…That feeling of: I just want “to get away from it all”.

Don’t we all feel those anxious feelings of uncertainty sometimes? Although I like a good massage and love vacations, most days that’s not happening, and so I’d like to find a way to go through life feeling like I’m already on vacation – or well, at least feel like I don’t need one.

And this is where the power of choice comes in. Although very little in life is under our control, we do get to choose our thoughts, our words, and our actions to some degree. And our thoughts really do create the reality of our lives. If we choose to be anxious, then we’re anxious. If we choose to be happy, then we’re happy. Using this theory, I can basically wash away the thoughts of uncertainty and replace them with thoughts of trust and knowing. We all can.

So after reading an article by Deepak Chopra this week, I remembered that a good way to do this is to focus on the feeling of certainty, the feeling of knowing something for sure. How does that feel like to you?

For me, I know that really knowing something for sure – and I’m talking about something that isn’t under my control – I get a gut feeling. I just know it, and I can’t describe it in words. It’s just the opposite of that tension I feel in my stomach when I’m nervous and filled with mind clutter. There is a feeling of spaciousness, a feeling of joy, and it stops me in my tracks. I sense a connection to greater purpose and presence, and the more I have practiced it, the more I have become attuned to it. And as a result, I have experienced greater certainty, knowing, and trust in my life.

Deepak writes that life is meant to progress. He’s right. At one point in my life, I didn’t know where I would go to college. But after doubts, questions, research, applications, visitations, waiting, and some more waiting, I did get into college, a good one actually, and I had a great time, met wonderful friends, and oh yeah, learned a whole bunch. And now I know that life does progress, questions are answered, and hopes can become certainties. At later points in my life, I didn’t know that I would be able to get my A1C below a 7, or that I would get married, or that I would find a good job, but I did and I have. And looking back, I realize that all of those times were also filled with the anxieties too during the process of getting there.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we just trusted the process to begin with? If we just trust that everything does resolve, answers do surface, and more often than not, situations work out for the best, wouldn’t life be so much happier, less stressful, and more vacation-like? We can use that mind energy toward other things – like being creative, exploring, learning, taking action. The point is that once we trust that life is meant to progress, then we can lead our lives with greater certainty during those challenging times that seem insurmountable. And we can apply those feelings of certainty and knowing every step along the way.

I am not saying that I have mastered trust during uncertain times, not at all. I’m learning. Just as in life, finding certainty during uncertain times is a process. What I have learned though is that I can trust the process because life progresses. And I know this for sure. I’m certain of it.

To delve deeper, click here to read Deepak Chopra’s article entitled, “Learning How to Live with Certainty in Uncertain Times” on Chopra provides a certainty to-do list on page 2 which I personally enjoyed.

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