The Unknown: Facing the Dark Road

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dark-roadHave you ever been brave enough to drive through Utah on I-70 at night? When I ventured on my solo trip across the country last May from New York to Los Angeles, with only my dogs, I was tempted to pull an all-nighter. But my life partner questioned my judgment as he texted me the following: “Are you nuts?”

Needless to say, I opted against it making it into Utah by sunset in time to find a nearby hotel and post up for the night.

However, in the past I have driven that same stretch of I-70 at night accompanied by a road-trip buddy. Even then, I white-knuckled it the entire way. I have spoken with male friends who confess to having the same discomfort and utter fear of such a dark and solo drive. If you drive carefully, it shouldn’t be such a big deal, I have reasoned. But, there is something about the windy roads through steep mountain passes that makes visibility difficult. When you are driving through the Utah mountains at night, you can barely see what is in front of you, even with high beams. It’s pitch black and cell phone service is spotty, at best.

In many ways life is a lot like driving through Utah on I-70 at night. It is hard to predict anything or see anything ahead of us. People are afraid of the unknown, which can cause a lot of anxiety. Perhaps that is why some are fascinated with psychics, tarot cards and horoscopes — people want to know what is going to happen. People want to flip to the next chapter, biting their nails because they can’t handle the discomfort of not knowing.

This is why so many are afraid of death, fear of the unknown as the dark void waits in the afterlife. This is also why it can be trying in a career or profession when you don’t know what your next move will be and knowing you haven’t reached your calling or goal; you’re not sure when that will happen.

In personal dating situations, how often do you hear of one person (typically the woman, but not always) complain that they want to know where the relationship is going? It is rare now days for people to be chill about anything in life, personal or professional. I guess that’s why I like the Dude so much and why many people equally find The Big Lebowski to be one of their all-time favorite comedy flicks.

Most of us are on the go, ready to tackle the next venture and eager to plan ahead. While we can anticipate and proactively plan for the future, what if we’re in the unknown stage? Where we have absolutely no idea what will be approaching around the corner? This is most of us.

Regardless if facing the unknown affects your personal or professional life or both, the key is to learn how to simply be. Eckhart Tolle stresses the importance of being “the space” for whatever it is that will approach in your life and that change occurs so that new things can come into fruition. It’s OK to look towards the future, plan for it and prepare. But, getting wrapped up in the concerns about what we do not know only creates more insomniac nights full of over thinking and frayed nerves.

I definitely haven’t mastered the ability to remain stoic when faced with uncertainty. But, I am learning to practice being present and remembering that nothing is really certain in life. Everything is in flux. Knowing this has helped me to understand the normalcy of not knowing. What also helps is realizing that you do what you can with what you have and what is in your control. We cannot control or change people and certain circumstances. But, we do have power over how we see a situation, our attitude in general, our motivation and our willingness to be the space for what is to come.

Meditating and being still, letting our minds be clear of cluttered and busy thoughts is helpful. When you’re mind is clear, it’s easier to hear the answers you seek. I believe the universe provides the answers for everything and any situation when the time is right.

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness”. ~Eckhart Tolle

 

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