Uncertainty and courage are partners– they require each other and they are totally necessary, especially when we want to do things that are new, challenging, and AMAZING. I’ve worked quite a bit with in these areas in my own life, and this has led to talking about it with others. If you want to explore uncertainty and courage, here is a variety of ideas and resources for you!
Meditation & Reflection:
- Each day, make time to just sit. Witness and experience change and “not knowing” right here within yourself: the constant acceptance and release of the breath, the shifting sensations in the body, the fluttering about of the mind, the swelling and diminishing of emotions.
- Each day, make time to just sit and breathe. When your mind drifts to a situation of uncertainty, notice it. Take time to note the thoughts and emotions circling this situation. Take time to offer yourself kindness and compassion. Ask gentle questions of yourself: Where is beauty here? Where is possibility/ opportunity? Where am I wanting/forcing sureness? Is there a possibility of softening? (Not all of the questions need to be answered– there is always the possibility of living the question. If you become upset or overwhelmed, you can return to the anchoring sensation of breathing.
Awareness in Daily Life:
- Go outside or look outside through a window. Observe small and large changes: clouds passing across the sky, the wind moving the branches of a tree, birds stopping by and then leaving, sounds that begin and end.
- Take note of things that are unexpected, things that surprise you: road construction on your normal route, cars turning without using turn signals, forgetting something essential at home, not finding toilet paper in a bathroom stall. Notice your reactions and responses to these events.
- Continue noticing the smaller moments of not knowing or being surprised. Notice your reactions and responses to these events. Notice what happens next.
- Intentionally look for beauty in unexpected places and situations.
Noticing & Writing:
- Noticing “permanence”- what do you see as solid, constant, dependable, unchanging? Is it possible to question this solid nature?
- Noticing impermanence- what small and large shifts or changes do you see around you? Within you? How do you respond to these shifts?
- Reflect on your past and identify the top transformative time periods or achievements in your life that make you YOU. Trace backward from each moment to note whether there was any period of uncertainty leading up to the growth. (Or work in the other direction: identify the lowest points in your past…and then see if there were positive outcomes or side effects afterwards.)
- Track your experiences with uncertainty and fear…and how you work with these feelings.
- “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brene Brown
- “Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion” Pema Chödrön
- “The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)” Pema Chödrön
- “Chris Argyris: theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning” by Mark K. Smith