This was a week of doubt.
A week of darkness.
A week of questioning.
A week of not knowing.
Not knowing why I felt so low and not knowing what I needed to do to return to myself.
It felt wrong and unsatisfying.
I was upset that I couldn't pull myself out of the doldrums and get back to positivity and gratitude.
Sometimes life is too much.
Sometimes we feel alone.
Sometimes we are on the verge of something, and not knowing what's next petrifies us.
Sometimes sadness finds its way into our souls and makes a home there.
Sometimes we want to give up.
And sometimes we just don't know anything.
On top of that, we judge ourselves, feel guilty, unproductive and punish ourselves by feeling that we should be able to get our of our funk with a snap of the fingers.
As I was thinking about what my message for my "Wednesday Wisdom" post would be, I felt sick to my stomach.
I have no wisdom this week I thought.
What could I offer others when my own world looked bleak?
The grief from losing my brother was choking me; haunting me in unexpected ways. Watching the slow painful decline of both my parents weighed heavily on me. I agonized over what more I could do for the two people who gave me life and love me more than anyone else in the world.
I was listening to a book on Audible that my father would love and it dawned on me that I will never again have the kind of intellectually rewarding conversation with him that has been such a huge part of our relationship. My heart broke at the thought of what I would miss.
In the same week, my youngest daughter got her driver's license, ensuring that she will be around less and less as she spreads her wings to fly.
My roles as daughter and mother are changing; it feels like I am losing my parents and my children.
I felt at a loss, not knowing how these relationships will unfold, how long I will have them, how long I will be needed.
My wisdom well was dry.
Instagram-worthy posts were not being revealed to me.
So I let myself be.
I cried. I slept. I wrote.
And I felt myself connecting to my darkness.
The angst of feeling that I should know more about what I am feeling and why suffocated me.
Then one day as I was walking on the beach berating myself for not being happy enough, I had a moment of clarity.
I realized that this place of not knowing is actually a place of knowing.
Not knowing is a form of wisdom.
It's a place to settle into and reflect.
Without answers or certainty.
Just openness and willingness to be guided.
Apparently my instincts conformed with what the masters talk about.
Lao Tzu wrote that:
"Not knowing is true knowledge.
Presuming to know is a disease. First realize that you are sick.
Then you can move toward health."
Think about a situation where you know for sure what the answer is or what's right or best for you or someone else.
You are adamant.
This is actually an ideal time to reflect on that state of knowing, that sureness, that potential righteousness. Perhaps in the quiet it might become clear that you don't really know but rather you are only presuming to know.
Take some time to wonder, to allow new reflections.
Perhaps you will discover strength in not knowing and instead become curious, unsure and more open to other possibilities or interpretations..
How would that feel?
Would it be comfortable or uncomfortable?
Safe of scary?
On the other hand, if you find yourself, like I did, in a state of unknowing, surrender to it. Get quiet, stop forcing yourself to come up with an answer and ease into the not knowing so that clarity can find you.
The challenge either way is to allow yourself the privilege of not knowing.
In the words of Eckart Tolle, "being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you."
So, for now, I don't know.
And I don't even know what it is I don't know.
But I am at peace.
According to Sophocles, "not knowing anything is the sweetest life."
Damn, my life is sweet.