The Simply Blissfully Unknown Life

Photo courtesy of as pinned on
It’s been almost 10 years since I started my first “big girl job.”  And 10 years later there is one piece of advice that I hold on to and I am still working on “Let go of the outcome.”
I was at a training about group facilitation. And the woman facilitating was pretty amazing. I still want to be like her when I grow up. Yet of all the things she shared during those 8 hours on the top floor of  the municipal building in downtown Philadelphia “Let go of the outcome” is what has stuck with me through the years.   I’ve actually come to understand them to really mean “Welcome the unknown.”  
I don’t know about you but I am borderline fanatical about the known. It’s a safety thing. While I don’t need to know every detail I need a game plan, and a backup plan, and a backup for the backup. I like preparedness. For me it’s synonymous with stability and security.  It makes me feel like I’m in control. And I will take feeling like I’m in control. That said letting go of the outcome and welcoming its lesser attractive sister the unknown is something that I’ve held onto for ten years but started practicing the past 10 months. So much so that when a few colleague bombarded me with the same questions I asked them a few months ago I was pissed. I made peace with the unknown. I welcomed her. Here the two of us were chilling, unknown and I, and these folks wanted to know. The audacity.
Welcoming the unknown isn’t a cop out. It’s not giving up. It’s not hopelessness. Quite the contrary actually. It’s rooted in our acceptance of our humanness, our finiteness. It’s welcoming ourselves to ourselves, finding truth in that we will spend our entire lives discovering who we are, when we think we’ve figured it all out, realizing there is something else that we didn’t know. Somewhere in the back of my mind, nestled between love and forgiveness, is the joy of the unknown, the peace of yet to be, the strength and courage of let life unfold. 
Photo courtesy of as pinned on
The other night my  aunt asked me to DTR between a certain young fellow I’d been getting to know I told her I really didn’t know. We were just getting to know each other, there were no restrictions, and that I am the worse at juggling multiple guys. I really am. It’s not for me; I’m a one guy at a time kind of girl. I didn’t ned to know what we were or weren’t. It was early in the game, not even three months. Plus, perhaps it’s a female thing, but I find the minute we try to prophesy the definition of something like a relationship things go awry. When we welcome the unknown, that which will be will actually be.
When a student asked if I saw myself in my current position for a long time I shared I wasn’t certain. I wasn’t. I’m not. I don’t believe it’s where I will retire but other than that I’m along for the ride, the unknown is driving, I’m not unsettled.
As a kid my dad would say “If you don’t know, then say ‘I don’t know.’” He reminded us early on that not knowing was nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.  In fact he was really laying the foundation of life’s greatest truth. We have no bleeping idea what life holds for us. We have absolutely no clue with any precision how long we will live, if we will marry, if we will divorce, if we will remarry, if we will graduate in 4, 6, or 7 years, if we will have a child, if we will be the victim of a crime or will prevent a crime from happening, if our hearts will be broken by betrayal, if we will find ourselves in positions where our integrity will be questioned, if the Eagles will ever win a super bowl again, etc. We have the certainty of uncertainty, the promise of  the consistency of change, the peace we can invite in our lives when we answer the knock of the unknown and allow her to dwell with us.
Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar
I’ve found that if we let her dwell among us, adventure, hope, imagination, joy, and freedom are soon in tow. They show up when our need to manipulate life for a desired outcome scooches out the back door and leaves her key. They get cozy when they know we are open to a life that is richer and fuller than we could have ever predicted. They warn us that sometime the unknown will be hard, tragic even, but not without repentance, grace, and redemption.
Embracing the unknown is not for everyone. It’s risky. It’s unsafe. It’s surrender. We Americans (not all but a lot) in particular suck at surrender. Us LIVErs are unknown welcomers.  Even when we think she’s overstayed her welcome and we want to say “It’s been a long day,” we let unknown stay a little longer because we know it is ultimately those unknown relationships and experiences that allow us to live incredibly victoriously and emphatically.
So this week I double dog dare you to have unknown over for a visit. I dare you to let go of the outcome, of your need to be in control, have every answer, be right, show them who’s boss. I dare you to step away from google, Firefox, and your smart phone, and simply say “I don’t know.” If that feels too weird for you, then say “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” Then start the adventure of finding the answer.  Just be open to whatever else you find out along the way.
Oh and there are a  folks “I don’t know,” might not work well for. Like those of you in medical professions or teachers. Your patients will want to know if it’s cancer, tell them. And your student will want to know if 6 time 6 is really 36, tell them.
Have a sweet week chock full of the unknown. My you discover its beauty and treasure what you come to know! xxoo
Photo courtesy of Buzz as pinned on

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