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  • Fe Robinson

When uncertainty is intolerable

“We must have the courage to live with paradox. The strength to hold the tension of not knowing the answers and the willingness to listen to our inner wisdom” Maureen Murdock

Intolerance of uncertainty is a very common thing. Sometimes it feels easier to have an answer, any answer, rather than to sit with the discomfort of not knowing. I often hear the pain of people not knowing what to do, searching desperately for the one right answer, even wanting me or other people to tell them what the answer should be, rather than being with their own sense of not yet knowing.

Murdock powerfully points in her words to the strength it takes to hold a position of not knowing, and urges us to listen to our own inner wisdom. This seems to me to be more useful that looking for answers beyond ourselves. When we take note of what comes from outside and try and make it fit us, oftentimes it does not, and we can end up doing rather odd contortions to try and make it feel OK. What comes from deep within however does not cause this tension. What is may do though is disrupt our delusions about what will work, and it may call us to do things that are not comfortable, or easy, or safe, on our way to becoming more authentically who we are.

Life is full of paradox. It is not neat and orderly, and it does not conform to our wishes and wants. As luck would have it, we are not homogenous or simple either, we are deep, complex, and deeply resourceful. We can connect with our own nature and sit with the rhythms of life, and from that a sense of congruence can emerge.

A wise woman once told me I did not need to make a decision when I have a dilemma. I simply need to walk forwards, step by step, and decisions will make themselves, I and life will unfold. I often remind myself of this when I get hooked into needing closure, or feel pulled to provide an answer. Not knowing is a place of possibilities, and of wonder. It’s blooming uncomfortable at times, but its also deeply productive.

Next time you feel uncomfortable because you are not sure, or confused, congratulate yourself for noticing. Be with the complexity of what you are pondering, and what you are thinking and feeling in response, and see if you can be still and listen. When you can be resonant with all that you are, your next step will emerge, and you can walk forwards, willing to hold tension, and letting knowing emerge in its own good time.

Going step by step is often all that is needed


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