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Accepting Uncertainty

by jenny sansouci on May 21, 2012

I’m in an “in-between” time in life right now, which feels unstable, uncertain and unknown. All of us have been in one before. Maybe you’re in one right now.

When I thought about writing this post, I wanted to call it “Embracing Uncertainty.” The more I toyed with that name, I realized that “embracing” might be too strong of a word. Embracing uncertainty, to me, feels like giving uncertainty a huge bear hug and saying “I just freaking LOVE not knowing what’s going on in my life!!!” And while that’s a perfectly nice thought to get to, it feels a little out of reach at the moment.

The feeling that has been available to me recently, in fleeting moments, is ACCEPTANCE of the uncertainty of life. In these moments, I’ve realized something. A lot of suffering comes from wishing reality were different. Wishing we knew what our next step was already. Wishing we had already found our next home, our next job, our next relationship. Wishing we had the stability that comes with having those things. Wishing we weren’t in whatever situation we were in. Wishing something didn’t happen or that someone didn’t act the way they did.

But the truth is, a lot of that stability we want is an illusion. You could find a job, a home, a marriage, “make a solid plan” – or whatever – and those things could end or change at any time. Alternately, you could find yourself wishing for the opposite of stability once you actually have it– “I wish I weren’t tied down, I wish I had the freedom to travel, to see other people, to have more flexibility.” Am I right?

Sigh. Humans are weird.

My point is, life IS uncertain no matter what. And as soon as we can learn to accept that uncertainty is part of the process, and flow with life instead of pushing against it and trying to control it, we may be able to find peace in chaos.

Accepting where you’re at right now isn’t always easy, but the peace you feel once you do can open up space for what you really wish for to flow into your life.

A friend gave me this quote the other day, and it described how I felt PERFECTLY.

“It was uncomfortable to let go of my past before there was evidence of something new. It was also disquieting to release the way I had always seen myself – my identity, so to speak. Getting rid of so many things that defined who I was left me with a tremendous void that danced in the pit of my stomach. However, I really believe that if you want to create something wonderful in your life, if you truly want to make a big change, you’ve got to learn to tolerate the “in-between” time. That’s the period in which we let go of who we know ourselves to be in order to allow for the possibility of who we might become.”  – Katherine Woodward Thomas

WHAT! That quote is so good.
(thanks, Meredith)

If you’re feeling uncertainty and it feels scary, I get it. Something that’s helped me is to really believe that the answers I’m looking for will come — if I don’t have them yet, it means I’m not supposed to have them yet.

Another thing that helps is to look at your track record. During every other “in-between” time in my life, eventually I’ve found the next thing. I never just lived in a “what the hell is going on” phase forever with no answers of any kind. Remember the other times you were in an uncomfortable in-between phase. And remember how things fell into place.

I don’t have all the answers. What I DO have is my breath, and the ability to slow down and let life unfold. So I’ll remember to breathe, to stay open to answers and to move gracefully with the flow of life. I promise to do that if you will too.




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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Fisher May 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Jenny – I love this post. It’s what I learned through yoga too – remembering to take a deep breath can be the first step in moving forward.

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Bernardo May 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Dearest and most courageous friend,

First off, I adore your honesty, it takes tremendous courage to bare your soul and share what’s in your heart openly.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is this: “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
– Joseph Campbell

The things I’ve least wanted to take place have brought about the most profound gifts in life. Were they painful? Yes, did they open my heart and soul in a way that not receiving them would not have? Yes also.

The thing is Jenny, you are in a BEAUTIFUL space of vulnerability, unlimited possibilities and undergoing a form of rebirth to a deeper truth from your heart. There is no growth without death and there is no growth without the realization that “the plan” is perhaps better than “our plan”

Embracing uncertainty is not fun at times but neither is, as you wisely stated, embracing an illusory sense of certainty.

There IS NO certainty other than truth, and truth is unchanging, everlasting and I feel your’s shining so brightly outwardly.

Sending you Love.

-Bern

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Ana May 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Beautiful article !

<3 xoxo

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Ginny May 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I feel ya sister. Reading my own thoughts pouring from your heart feels like a big hug from the universe. Thanks for this message right when I needed it. Soldier on, little warrior.

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Heidi May 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hey Jenny – I used to work at EH with you way back when but I occasionally follow your blog through facebook.

Your post came at a really perfect time. Yesterday, I quit my job without any major plans in place. It was a really toxic environment and ‘toughing it out’ wasn’t the alternative I wanted. So now I’m in this in-between state but I’m going to stay productive with things that I love so maybe something great will come out at the end of this uncertainty period.

Your blog is inspirational. It makes me want to start one, too.

Heidi

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Jamee May 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Jenny,
Thanks for sharing and being so open and honest!

I also read your post about break ups/breaking up. They are never easy.

One of my mentors has said to me: “Relationships are containers for growth”…I love this and wanted to share it with you. This thought has helped me in the past two years as I went through a separation and divorce after being married for over 15 years.

I wanted to reach out to you and also let you know that your website and IIN webinars have also greatly inspired and helped me this past year as I’m starting over in this area of my life, too, with taking on a new career as a health coach.

Thanks for sharing your talents, hopes, dreams and love!

Jamee Tuttle

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Jenny May 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Wow – we are really on the same page 🙂 Thanks for this! xoxo

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Jill Timmerman May 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Another beautiful post and so true. I know I control and obsess over things wayyyyy too much so this post is so helpful to check myself on that. This is just another indication that I need to meditate and quiet that obsessive part of me.. (not control.. though)

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Paige May 30, 2012 at 2:01 am

Keep these posts coming – they are amazing. This is the TRUTH. I was dealing with this today and coming to terms with some of the same concepts and then decided to visit your site tonight and came across this. Funny how that works. Hope to speak soon!

xo,
Paige

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Linda November 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Beautiful words and so needed to read this today…. Thanks from the bottom of my heart… Here’s to my In Between Life !!! I will embrace it !!!! Linda

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