When I tried to sit down and write my Uncertainty Paradox post last week, the germ of the idea was there but the words would not come. Â Forcing myself to wrench the words out when they were unwilling felt harsh, and anyway, I was bone-tired. Â I knew that whatever I did manage to write was not going to be my best work, and the idea deserved more energy and perseverance than that.
So I followed my heart, posted a placeholder, and closed the laptop. Â I blissfully climbed into bed with my knitting, enjoyed the warmth and security of my cosy blankets, and got a (relatively, considering Iâ€™m co-sleeping with a no-longer-night-weaned toddler) solid night of sleep.
I realized later that what I did is a pretty good demonstration of the idea I wanted to write about.
Uncertainty is Certain
If thereâ€™s one thing I know for sure, itâ€™s that I canâ€™t know anything for sure. Â Itâ€™s a paradox, but the truth. Â My human brain cannot perceive the world in any way other than my human perspective. Â I can’t be sure that the way I’ve interpreted events is correct. Â I cannot know for sure what the world is like for anyone else. Â I cannot know for sure what my life will look like tomorrow, or in ten years from now, or even what Iâ€™ll be doing ten minutes from now. Â Sure, I can make some pretty accurate predictions based on where I am at the moment, but the forces of random chance throw any absolute certainty out the window.
Given that I will never be able to know for sure what will happen in the future, or even that Iâ€™m perceiving the world in an accurate way right now, how do I make choices about my life? Â What should I be spending my time on? Â How do I choose goals in an uncertain world? Â And where are we going anyway?
The Path of Bliss
When I start to feel overloaded by the uncertainty in my life, I try to go back a step (or a few steps) until I come to something I know increases the health, connection and bliss in my life. Â A good nightâ€™s sleep after a few rough nights. Â Really connecting with my child and listening to her with love and attention. Â Going for a run. Â Sitting in meditation. Â Working in the garden. Â Being outdoors. Â Visiting a good friend. Â Even when Iâ€™m anxious and uncertain about what might be in my future, mindfully enjoying these things helps bring me back to what I know is good and true in life.
Bliss doesnâ€™t mean the immediate gratification of purely feel-good hedonism, although a little of that has been known to help me get off the poor-me track and back into positivity. Â Too much junk food for the soul will take me away from my goals of being playfully self-disciplined. Â But itâ€™s helpful to have a reminder that the present moment has joy and bliss there to be enjoyed if we can let that happen.
Like attracts like. Â If Iâ€™m frustrated and angry, I tend to have more experiences that are frustrating and infuriating. Â If Iâ€™m happy and confident, I tend to have experiences that go well. Â Maybe itâ€™s simply a â€œyou see what youâ€™re looking forâ€ kind of effect, but when all we have to go on is our own perception of the world, what weâ€™re looking for will make a huge impact on our experience. Â I donâ€™t know how much I believe about the buzz around manifesting reality through intention, but I do know that if I put lots of energy into thinking about how insecure I feel or how maddening my children are, well, thatâ€™s the kind of experience Iâ€™m going to have, whether or not those thoughts are true.
I am still very much working towards my goals, and still very much falling short in some areas. Â But focusing on the bliss of working on something that matters to me helps me stay positive when I mess up. Â At least I know what Iâ€™m working towards, and I know that when I get it right it feels great. Â I can be certain about my bliss, and thatâ€™s a powerful motivator.