Here are 3 Unexpected Words that will change your thoughts and life. - SyCtRenDs



Monday, February 18, 2019

Here are 3 Unexpected Words that will change your thoughts and life.

Image: Canva

A few years ago I had dinner with a charming Welshman named Ilt, who travels the world scouting locations for movies. Wherever he goes, he plays a little game with himself — one inspired by the epic writer and adventurer T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia).

While hiking through the massive monolithic rockscapes of Wadi Rum in Jordan, Ilt couldn‘t get Lawrence‘s classic description of that epic desert landscape out of his mind: Vast, echoing, and God-like.

How fantastic, Ilt thought, to be able to distill a place down to its essence . So now, wherever Ilt goes, he finds his own three perfect words.

Image courtesy Odyssey World Travel

On my drive home that night, I found that I couldn‘t stop thinking about Ilt’s words. Then I realized why. . .

As my windshield wipers pounded out a steady rhythm against a spring snow, three of my own words matched the metronymic movement of the blades. The same three words over and over again. Three words that had been playing through my mind all week.

Those three words, however, did not describe a geographic place in the world. Those three words described my place in the world.

Nor did my three words make my heart sing as Lawrence’s words had for Ilt. In fact, my three words felt wildly uncomfortable. A little bit shameful even.

Because my three words formed a phrase which I had been taught my whole adult life to resist, to avoid, even to fear.

I don’t know.

Image: Canva


Although my three words felt far from perfect, I have come to realize that they were, in fact, exactly perfect, beautifully right, fundamentally true. I just didn’t know that then.

I did, however, have an inkling that they might have something to teach me. So I didn’t leave them out in the cold that snowy night. Instead I invited them to come sit by the fire and begin a conversation.

That conversation, as it all turns out, has become the conversation of my life.

The moment I invited I don’t know to teach me what I hoped to learn, to show me where I needed to be led, and to give me the courage to release what I no longer needed, everything changed.

Since then I have found the kind of faith I had only dreamed of having. I have faced the fears I thought I‘d never have the chutzpah to stare down. And I have found a freedom beyond my wildest imaginings.

But that spring, all I knew was that I didn‘t know anything. Not only didn‘t I have the answers to other people‘s questions, I didn‘t even have the answers to my own.

Image licensed for use: Dreamstime

That was the spring I decided to become intentionally homeless — to walk away from my home, my life, my belongings, my career in attempt to finally show up to my own life.

As I packed up the few things I planned on keeping and began jettisoning everything else, I don’t know felt like my only true answer to everything.

Where are you going to live if you don‘t live here? I don’t know.
Are you leaving town for good? I don’t know.
What will you do for work? I don’t know.
What do you hope will happen? I don’t know.
How are you going to pay the bills? I don‘t know.
Will you be safe on the road? I don‘t know.
Will what I be doing help other people, as I hope it will? I don’t know.

The questions kept coming. . .but the answer was always the same.

I don’t know.

That spring, those words both scared and excited me. I felt helpless and hopeful at the same time. But never would I have guessed that I don’t know would become my three perfect words — describing the place I had always wanted to be in the world, and bringing me the home and healing I had been seeking for so long in my very own heart.

Screenshot: Google


Google I don’t know.

First you’ll see the usual potpourri of song lyrics, quotable memes, urban slang, and Twitter feeds. But then hit the News tab — and prepare to be disturbed.

These days the news is riddled with actual quotes by actual politicians, scientists, educators, social activists, lawyers, heads of state — people who we believe “should” know . . . a lot — saying, over and over again,I don’t know.

A scientist: “The scariest part of climate change isn’t what we know, but what we don’t know.”

An economic analyst: “I don’t know where we’re going with these trade wars.”

A political commentator: “In the past we relied on our government to fix these kinds of problems, but I don’t know who we’re supposed to turn to now.”

Just a few years ago, these kinds of experts would never have admitted to not knowing. Not knowing has traditionally equated to ignorance or incompetence. It is usually one of the fastest ways to find yourself out of a job.

Now, however, we are all starting to realize just how much we don’t know. Not only that — we don’t know what to do about it.

That terrifies us!

Our societal peace of mind has long been predicated on knowing what to expect, who are allies are, what our government is supposed to do, what progress means, what we are doing to make our planet a better place for future generations. Now the only thing we know for certain is that we have no idea what fresh hell is coming next.

There is almost no area of our lives where there is something big and disturbing that . . .

We. Don’t. Know.

We are in a global state of not knowing.

We are in perhaps the greatest global state of not knowing in nearly a century.

Scary times. For us all.

Joe Cicak/Getty Images


But what if this is exactly where we need to be in order to fix a world that feels so broken?

What if invoking I don’t know in each of our lives is precisely the means of inviting the change we wish to be and see in the world?

I believe it is.


Because invoking I don’t know has changedmy life.

I don’t know has become my core daily practice. Instead of resisting or fearing or trying to change what I didn’t know, I accept it and it lead me where, it has all turned out, I absolutely have needed to be led.

I don’t know is doing what nothing else has been able to— help me let go of the reins I was gripping so tightly trying to steer my own miserable life into submission, and let the horse of my heart take me where I’d always been longing to go.

Back to Love.

For so long I had tried to do, be, say, write, wear, feel, act like what everyone had told me I should, because I wanted to believe that they all knew something I must have missed.

Slowly but surely I realized they didn’t.

Slowly but surely I realized that that our societal mania for knowing — and so creating a life of plans and safety nets and skill sets and networks based on our faith in knowing — never really makes any of us feel any safer or happier or more connected.

Instead, it encourages us to put our all faith in things that like outside of our own hearts, and so forget how to be led by the steadying beat of Love.

Image licensed for use: Dreamstime


For almost three years now, I have been intentionally homeless.

I do not have a trust fund or a motor home or a savings account or a reality show.

Most days all I know is that I don’t know far more than I do.

I don’t know how I am going to pay my bills next month.

I don’t know where I will be sleeping in a few weeks.

And I certainly don’t know what my life will look like three months from now let alone in ten years.

I have no safety net or longterm plan.

I just keep letting I don’t know lead me.

Yet I am happier and feel truer to my own heart and more grateful for life than ever.

After a lifetime of living in fear, I am finally living in Love.

This is what invoking I don’t know did for me.


Knowledge, we have been taught to believe, is power.

We rely on powerful institutions that have done all the knowing that we hope will keep us safe — and yet every day we discover that all the checks and balances, rules and regulations, aren’t working. Our little lives seems to be coming apart at the seams while our entire planet teeters on the edge of annihilation, and no one knows what to do to about it.

All the faith we have put in knowing more doesn’t seem to be doing a lick of good.

This is because, if we’re really honest, weknow we really don’t know the things that we actually need to know. Mostly what we know are a lot of things we were taught we were supposed to know.

We learned about the War of 1812 in school, not how to listen to the language of our true selves.

We learned how to obey our elders, not trust our own guts.

We learned how to follow our heads, and abandon our hearts.

In my humble opinion, that’s what’s gotten us all right where we are . . . indebted, addicted obese, over-medicated, depressed, anxious, suicidal.

When we put our faith in something that will ultimately always fail us, we either lose faith or lose heart. That’s when we begin to lose ourselves.

But when we let go and stop trying to control what we can never know, something amazing happens. We find the flow that everyone has always been telling us to go with. . .It actually exists.

When we stop trying to dam the river of life or demand to know where it is taking us, we almost always find ourselves exactly where we really need to be.

Thinkstock Images


So, you may be asking yourself, do I have to give up everything and become intentionally homeless to reconnect with the heart of my true self?

Absolutely not.

But you do have to give up one thing: Your belief that your safety, security and sense of well being lies in knowing.

It doesn’t!

What I’ve learned is that when we stop worrying about what we don’t know this minute, we also begin let go of our fears of the future.

Then we begin to live in the now, which is the only real place any of us can find peace.

Stress comes from believing that there is something we could have done better or differently in the past had we known better — or that there is something we need to know to have a better future.

Knowing more or better or differently is the red herring in the practice of life.

We have been fooled into believing that our answers lie in our heads.

The only way we can change our lives and our world is from our hearts.

When we let go our our faith in knowledge, we begin to live our lives guided by Love instead of fear. This changes everything.

We can learn to do this by creating a daily practice of not knowing.

The first step is embracing this beautiful paradox:

What we don’t know will usually scare us.

What we don’t know will also ultimately set us free.

Image: Feelingway


If what we don’t know both scares and scintillates us, I say . . .

Bring It On.

This world is broken. And we — its increasingly poor, obese, addicted, undernourished, undersupplied, indebted, depressed people — know this.

What scares us is that we don’t know how to fix it.

We don’t even know if it was Einstein or some other brilliant mind who recognized that the same mindset that created a problem will never fix it.

But what we do know is that our mania for knowing has created medical, educational, scientific, political, governmental, technological, commercial, psychological, familial, religious and ontological ways of living that are destroying our planet and making most of us miserable and terrified.

Can we change the course of our own lives and of our planet before it’s too late?

We. Don’t. Know.

And that, against all odds, is the absolute best place we could all be.

Because only what we don’t yet know can Save. Our. Souls.

Image: Canva


So next time you feel scared or unsure or flat out terrified of another big looming I don’t know in your life, invite it in.

Instead of running into the safety of scientific studies or what worked for you last week or what the experts say, try leaning into every I don’t know that surfaces until the uncertainty no longer scares you.

Because there, underneath the anxiety that those words inevitably first evoke, is actually the peace that passeth all understanding.

This peace doesn’t rely on facts and figures, statistics and solutions, institutions and identities. This is the peace we actually hoped we’d find through our mania for knowing. And this peace, which comes from listening to our hearts instead of our heads, really can change our lives and the world.

Because true change requires two things — a willingness to relinquish all the old familiar ways of being and a desire to be led only by Love.

So how do we do this?

We. Don’t. Know.

No, seriously, we don’t know.

None of us do.

But here’s the good news: That is the beginning of all change.

When everything around us stops working working, when our old ways of living are dying, only those of us who are willing to live in the not knowing and be guided by Love not fear will be led to new ways of being.

Here’s even better news: We’re all in this together.

We. Don’t. Know.

And here’s the best news of all: These are words to live by.

Image created on Canva.

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