What You Need When You Don’t Know What to Do

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If read many articles or blogs in print or online, you may have noticed many  that start with “10 easy ways to…” or “43 things you should…” or “3 step formula for…”

Why are there so many articles and blogs that start this way?  Because readers respond to them.

They respond because we are all looking for those x number of steps, for the magic formula, for the specific directions that will tell us how to get what we want. We read self help books, go to seminars, subscribe to the magazines and follow the gurus or religious traditions hoping we will get the road map to peace, happiness, success, or fulfillment.  Of course, there are a lot of people willing to tell you that they have the secret you are searching for.

If you are a seeker, you may find some information that is useful. It’s possible that you will get inspired, or motivated, peaceful or happy for a while or even for a long while. Something or someone might come along that points you in the right direction or even shows you the way. You may find a trusted adviser, mentor, friend, or guide.

However, sooner or later, you will lose your way. And even though you may have read everything the gurus have written, you will find yourself feeling alone, dazed, confused, doubtful, scared, unsure of what to do, or which direction to go.

And even though you believe in Jesus or Buddha, Allah or Yahweh, you may still feel abandoned. Jesus himself did, after all.

Then what will you do? When you’ve accessed everything you’ve been taught, and still no answer is forthcoming? There will be only one thing to do. You will have to figure it out. All On Your Own.

At that point, how you fare will not depend so much on what you do or what you know, it will depend on who you choose to be. Life will serve up plenty of challenges if you are up to anything worthwhile, and we all find ourselves wishing that life was different. But Jim Rohn said it best: “Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.”

Who do you need to be and what skills do you need to have to navigate life when the waters get rough and there is no star to guide you? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Acceptance. Letting go of how you think it should be and acknowledging what is. Being able to stand in the discomfort of not knowing, of conflicting emotions, of doubt and fear. “I really don’t have the answer, I really don’t know what to do, I’m afraid, and this is what it is, at least for now.” 
  • Vision. Being able to see beyond your present circumstances. Holding the highest vision of yourself and who you declare yourself to be. “This too will pass. I can be courageous in the face of this challenge, even though I have no idea how I will overcome it.”
  • Faith. In whatever Power you feel that guides you, even if you are unable to feel It’s presence. In yourself, in whatever’s inside you that you can pull out: grit, toughness, cleverness, resourcefulness, determination. “I trust that I will make it through this, and that I will find a way.” 
  • Patience. Sometimes, we will have no choice but to wait. Patience is learning to wait with grace and ease. Mother Teresa said “Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”
  • Flexibility. There is an African proverb: “The wind does not break a tree that bends.” It’s possible to be broken by life’s circumstances if we are too stiff and rigid in mind, body or spirit. We must learn to bend at the right time.
  • Commitment. To your vision of your highest self. Continuing to put one step in front of another, even though you don’t feel like it. “Even though I feel like hiding under the covers, (or staying here under the covers) I’m committed to the vision I hold of myself as someone who is courageous, trusting, and able to make a difference (or whoever you declare yourself to be).
  • Intuition. Some people rely on their hearts, others in a feeling or sense. If you can quiet your mind, it will speak to you. Learn to listen. I call it my spidey sense.
  • Perspective. In the movie Casablanca, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) said “…it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” Life’s short, and all your problems, no matter how severe, will be laid to rest alongside you some day.

Author M. Scott Peck suggest that confusion is a blessing: “Confusion leads to a search for clarification and with that search comes a great deal of learning.”

Bless your confusion and your not-knowing. They are the  breakdowns that happen before the breakthrough.

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Your companion on the path to transformation,

Ted 

 
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