Category Archives: Uncertainty

Wishcasting Wednesday

picture from jamie’s post

What do you wish to make room for?

Myself. I am outwardly focused so much of the time (what I have to do for my paid work, what I want to communicate on my blog, what my tiny family needs, what I want to share, what my body requires) that I forget myself, deny myself, abandon and reject myself.

Meditation practice. It’s the thing that gets cheated in a day that’s too busy, when I’m overwhelmed, but it’s the thing that is medicine, a cure and comfort to those conditions.

My hungers and core values. This is an ongoing shifting and clearing to make room. I can get caught up in should and external expectations, in pleasing, perfecting, performing, and these important, deep desires get squashed.

Joy. This hurts to admit, makes me so sad, but I am caught right now in a cycle of dread, panic, and depression, and I’m not allowing for joy. I either “don’t have time,” am too tired, or am so focused on and upset about the bad stuff I can’t see beyond it, can’t see past its shadow. I wish to make room for laughter and light, for softening into appreciation, for joy.

Rest. I’m still so bad at this. I carry a mental to-do list with me everywhere, heavy and long, adding to it and updating it constantly, pushing and doing and going. I wish to make room for relief, relaxation, rest, time to do nothing, accomplish nothing, restore.

Connection and service. These are so deeply wed, so closely joined that I don’t even know how to wish for them separately. I wish to notice and be noticed, to help and belong, to offer love and be loved in return.

Grief. I wish to make room for this profound sadness, the heartbreaking loss, to open up to how big it really is, how vast, to allow it to fill the space it fills.

Uncertainty and impermanence. Instead of rejecting, trying to control, wishing things would be different, I long to open the door, make room for this truth.

Love. There could always be more room for this–the answer to every question, the true and deep longing underlying every other wish ever made.

Something Good

1. Finding Peace with Uncertainty by Leo Babauta on Zen Habits. Yes, please.

2. Videos from World Domination Summit 2012. Brene’ Brown’s isn’t here, but the others are worth watching. This one in particular, Scott Harrison talking about Charity:Water and his own personal redemption story, changed me. I challenge any one to watch it and remain unchanged by it–or at the very least realize that you could be doing more. It is a powerful story, important work, and the best news is that you can help. I have committed to giving up my birthday this year, (more on that once I get my campaign site set up).

3. How to Have Your Own Simplicity Summit on Be More With Less. This is going on my to-do list. And, because Courtney Carver was being particularly badass last week, here’s another one: Why You Can’t Measure Self Worth by Net Worth.

4. This quote from Pema Chödrön:

For one day (or one day a week), refrain from something you habitually do to run away, to escape. Pick something concrete, such as overeating or excessive sleeping or overworking or spending too much time texting or checking e-mails. Make a commitment to yourself to gently and compassionately work with refraining from this habit for this one day. Really commit to it. Do this with the intention that it will put you in touch with the underlying anxiety or uncertainty that you’ve been avoiding. Do it and see what you discover.

5. Around Here from Ali Edwards. A really great post and writing prompt idea.

6. 7 Simple Habits for an Awesome Start to Your Day on The Positivity Blog.

7. For cuteness sake, Gorillas very curious about a caterpillar. I especially love when the silver back tells a smaller gorilla to back off and give the little guy some space.

8. This quote from the Dalai Lama:

In order to carry out a practice—such as constantly watching the mind—you should form a determination, make a pledge, right when you wake up: “Now, for the rest of this day, I will put into practice what I believe just as much as I can.” It is very important that, at the start of the day, we should set out to shape what will happen later. Then, at the end of every day, check what happened. Review the day. And if you carried through for that whole day your morning’s determination, then rejoice. Reinforce further your motivation to continue in the same line. However, when you do your reviewing, you may discover that you did things during the day that are contrary to your religious values and beliefs. You should then acknowledge this and cultivate a deep sense of remorse. Strengthen your resolve not to indulge in these actions in the future.

9. Dealing with Exhaustion–Step 1 from Jennifer Boykin on Life After Tampons. When I read this, “it’s really really discouraging to want to change your life, but have absolutely no energy to do it,” I wanted to cry, it felt so true. Jennifer goes on to say, “So, if you’re exhausted today, stop. Make it a game, make it a challenge to figure out the absolute LEAST you can get by with doing for the next 30-days, and then try to shave some stuff off of that list.” Sounds like a plan!

10. How to be soulful, online and off by Jen Lee on Roots of She. I am loving everything Jen Lee does lately.

11. Two messages I really needed to hear, one from The Universe and one from my Inner Pilot Light.

Dearest Jill,
That thing you’re clinging to… let it go.
Breathe in, breathe out, surrender.
Ahhhh….
Your Inner Pilot Light

There hasn’t been one single day of your life, Jill, when the world
hasn’t been made a better place by your presence in it.
Kudos,
The Universe

12. How to make space for quality to show up in your life from Danielle LaPorte, in which she says, “possibility requires space to unfold.”

13. This email I just got from Netflix streaming: “The Office (U.S.) Season 8 is now on Netflix.” I watched the BBC version first, but loved them both, in different ways and for different reasons. I like stuff that makes me laugh, without the comedy being too mean–too dependent on someone being made fun of or tricked or hurt. This is one of my favorite scenes from the U.S. version, and because of it, any time I trip or fall or do something similarly Lucille Ball, I say “parkour! parkour!”

14. Shit Liz Lemon Says. This completely made my week, (except for the fact that NBC is selfish and I can’t embed the video in this post). My favorite Lemon lines are “What the what?” and “I want to go to there.”

I forgot to tell you…

I forgot to tell you about all the magic we’ve been seeing on our morning walks. This week, it was two beavers, one on each side of east McMurry Pond. Two herons flying together, floating east along the Poudre River. A dog park full of tennis balls. Fog and a light mist softening everything until the sun comes out and warms it away.

This morning, Sam wanted to see another beaver so badly, was so sure he’d see one again that he barked at a log in the water. That happens sometimes, doesn’t it? We want something so badly, want so much for it to be true that we see a beaver when it’s only a piece of wood floating in the water.

The sun has been orange first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s pale, and other times it’s lit up like the ball of fire it is. Everything green is turning yellow, orange, brown, and gray, so when the golden light of the sun reflects off the turning of the green, it feels like we are walking in a dream.

I forgot to tell you that Dexter is feeling better. We’ve stopped giving him the anti-inflammatory, (although if he starts to get worse again, we might try another type, because that therapy did seem to help, except for the trouble this particular one gave his belly). He still “maybe might probably but we don’t know for sure” have cancer, but right now, in these moments, he is happy, whole, and so loved. We have decided against doing a CT scan (the next step we were offered) because it would require him being under anesthesia again, cost $2000 (wth?!), and:

  • the results still could be inconclusive
  • the scan might reveal “something,” but it might be unclear what exactly that something is
  • it might confirm the cancer, give us a very expensive picture of it, but the treatment for that type of cancer isn’t a cure, doesn’t result in much more time, and the time you get might not be good quality, so isn’t something we’d do anyway (for this cancer, this dog, this family, it wouldn’t be the right decision)

So we continue to live with the uncertainty–which isn’t all that different than what life is always like, the nature of things as they always are. We never really know, can’t be sure or certain about much of anything, and everything is constantly changing. Impermanence is the only thing we can count on, so for now, we are knowing just that.

I forgot to tell you that I bought myself flowers. They remind me that while impermanence is real, that death comes to all of us, sometimes quickly and without warning, life is so beautiful.

I forgot to tell you, kind and gentle reader, that you don’t need permission, you don’t need to earn the right to be who you are and do what you love. You were born with it, that light and deep knowing, that thing that is yours to manifest, that only you can embody, that only you can do and be. There’s nothing that needs done first, no mastery or skill to be learned before. You can take the one, tiny step right now, walk right into the thick of your life, stand in the center. All you have to do is decide, start, begin.

And, I forgot to tell you this:

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Three Truths and One Wish


1. Truth: Nervous anticipation, anxiety and worry is always worse than the actual thing that you are waiting on, fearing. When it comes, you will know what to do. Your heart might break, but you will survive it.


2. Truth: Uncertainty, not knowing, not being sure is uncomfortable. You sit with your confusion, your helplessness. You don’t know what to do, or how to help, and it’s irritating, it hurts.


3. Truth: Life is both tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal. Even in the moments when you feel like you can’t breathe, like your own thoughts and feelings are poisoning you, you are alive.


One wish: That we can, with wisdom and compassion, be where we are, fully open and awake, engaged and connected with all that is. That we remember we are not alone. That we can turn the poison into medicine.

August Break: Day Eleven

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next. ~Ursula K. Le Guin

In these past weeks, I have been working with an uncomfortable sense of groundlessness, of uncertainty. Not knowing what will come next, unclear about what is really going on, confused and unsure about what to do, unable to control the chaos that is life.

As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. ~Pema Chödrön

I am uncomfortable and anxious when I can’t be certain and in control. All kinds of ugliness gets triggered by my desire for certainty, my attempt to find a safe place and stay there forever, grasping for a promise of calm and peace, a solid and unshakeable plan, waiting and wishing for someone or something to save me, protect me, keep me.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I wanted to be certain that Dexter was better, okay, fine, nothing to worry about. I even listed him yesterday as my bonus joy, announced that he hadn’t reverse sneezed in a week. And then, this morning on our walk, two loose dogs rushed at us, Dexter got excited and upset and reverse sneezed, giving himself a bloody nose. It’s not that I believed he’d never do it again, in fact I expected it, but I had also made the mistake of hope, hoping that it was done, that at some point the number of days that had passed since the last episode was so many it no longer made sense to count them, and he’d be perfectly and completely happy and healthy until he slipped away of natural causes at about age 14.

But this morning it happened again, and there was blood, and immediately I am right back in not knowing. What is causing it? How do we help him? How many frantic emails and vet visits are reasonable? What is the next step? What else might we try? Should we worry? If they can’t figure out what’s wrong, what then? Will he do this the rest of his life? Will it get worse? Is it cancer? Will he die? When?!

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. ~Pema Chödrön

But I know that the only answer is to relax and be gentle. I need to practice being okay with not knowing, surrender to the chaos, become friends with groundlessness. I have to accept that the only thing I can do is love him, to be here with him now, to not squander the joy of this moment with worry about what might come next.