It’s a little like Touching the Void, but Joe Simpson beat me to that title.
I’ve been in a wee funk these last few days. Overwhelmed and underwater. I’ve had so much good news pouring in that I know I should be on cloud nine, I should be singing on a rooftop, or a mountaintop. I should be doing my happy dance 24-7. But I haven’t been.
I’ve been funky.
This morning I was having my Razor’s Edge moment, doing dishes while the world went on around me and there was this moment, this perfect moment of Zen, and my brain opened, really, really opened and I realized what was wrong – and then, in a flash, I realized that it wasn’t wrong at all – I was.
Let me explain.
This morning I was a bundle of stress and nerves and overflowing to-do lists. I have a book to finish re-writing, kids to get to school, a husband to remember to kiss, clients who need a bunch of stuff done yesterday and even more done today. I have a screwed up promotion order to fix, cats who want attention, a whiney dog, kids who want breakfast, an event to plan, a series of writing courses in my tipi to promote, a story I want to start, and a husband who still needs that kiss. I have books to read and review, lunches to make, blogs to write, dinner to plan, kids who need help with their homework, a fire that needs to be started, an idea that needs to be jotted down and fleshed out, proposals that have to be written, and a husband who had to leave before getting his kiss.
I was a mess. And I have been for a while. No matter how carefully I structure my day, no matter how rigidly I timebox my various obligations, no matter how firmly I promise myself that today I will stay the course, move down the punch list and get my shit done – at the end of the day the list has only grown and I feel like I’ve failed. (No matter that I checked off everything the list started with, no matter that at the end of the day my kids are fed, loved and read to, no matter that my husband finally got his kiss – because there’s a new list looming.)
I’ve been telling myself it’s okay. I just have to keep going, just get through this, just maintain the pace until my three-day weekend this month when I’ll drop everything, leave my computer and phone behind and go soak in the Glenwood hotsprings with my family. But the truth is, even that image sends me into a panic. Because I can’t afford the time. I need to be writing at the very least. Or reading books that I’m supposed to review. Or…
So, today, while I was doing dishes, my head exploded. Or maybe it expanded. Either way – it tingled. A lot.
And I realized that what was really bothering me was all of the unknowns. Not knowing how to accomplish everything. Not knowing how to reach this person, or that outlet to set up an event, get a client’s book listed, build an Amazon pre-order page, guarantee a review with my top pick blogger, get Christopher Moore to agree to be interviewed here in April when his new book launches (Yes, I dream big.), convince people to sign up for my new summer writing program (because “Hello, it’s in a tipi! And amazing people are coming in to teach! And it’s in a freaking tipi!” Doesn’t seem to be working.) All of these unknowns are buzzing around in my head, filling me with doubt and fear and the irrational conviction that I’m going to fail before I’ve even started.
I’ve always been an information junky. I love information. And I love synthesizing it into knowledge. And I always felt that I could take that knowledge and distill it into wisdom. I really was the seventeen year old who knew everything. EVERYTHING. Really, just ask. And I stayed that way throughout my twenties and into my thirties.
And then this morning, my head exploded.
And in that moment, the Tao came rushing in, or maybe I went rushing out – I don’t know. The ways of the Tao are mysterious. Probably it was there all along. Knocking, quietly. Waiting, patiently. But there it was and I realized that not-knowing is power. Not-knowing is freedom. Not-knowing is wisdom, and truth. Not-knowing is perfection.
It’s like Chris Rock’s character says in Dogma – When people believe in something, really believe, to the point of knowing it’s true – that’s when they get all uppity, that’s when they start killing other people who believe a little differently, or see a little differently. But if you can just be content with saying “I have a pretty good idea about…” then it frees you up to learn more, experience more, to grow, adapt and dare I say – evolve.
So today, I took all the fear I had around my not-knowing and I turned it around. I let myself expand into that space, wriggle around and own it. I allowed myself the realization that not-knowing isn’t the same as being stupid (my biggest fear in life), in fact – IF you can admit you don’t know, then not-knowing is really the first step to true wisdom.
Today I allowed myself to realize that I know exactly nothing about anything. But I have a pretty good idea about a lot of things. And that’s the perfect place to be.