What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

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“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…Live in the question.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

I’m a girl who knows what she wants and knows what needs to be done to get me there. Most of the time.

Lately, though, I have no idea what to do about anything!

I have hundreds of business and blogging ideas leading me in a hundred different directions.

I’ve got chaos on the home front that only seems to be getting worse.

Even deciding what to make for dinner is proving exhausting.

Luckily, I know to expect (and accept) a certain degree of indecision.

What’s that expression—the dress rehearsal for life is life itself?

None of us is immune from maddening uncertainty because life itself is uncertain.

Our mistake is in assuming that not knowing is a problem, instead of an integral part of the process.

“For at its deepest levels life is not a problem but a mystery.” 

~Phillip Simmons, Learning to Fall

It’s the reason terminal cancer patients live ten years and it can snow in the dessert.

Nothing is a sure thing. But what if we celebrated this fact, instead of dreading it?

For all our steadfast reliance on science and reason and probability, for all the wikipedia pages and smart phones that help us with every tedious task, we still get thrown.

The world is fucked, we say.

But what seems to be a chaotic, crazy world is really just an inability to grapple with our own conflicting emotions. Our own indecision.

We forget that we’re not designed to know all the time.

It’s in asking the questions that we find…

in the process of learning that we bloom…

and it’s not to be missed. 

But what does all this mean on a day-to-day basis? What do we do when a situation has us twisted inside out, desperate for solution?

Assuming you also understand and accept that chaos is the natural order, here’s how you can make peace with it and maybe even find an A to your Q.

Pray. 

Pray, pray, pray like your life depends on it. {It doesn’t} but your sanity and peace of mind just might. Pray to Jesus or Allah or the oak tree in your back yard—it doesn’t matter.

Just put your questions, your confusion, the agony of indecision, all of it, out there. You will receive an answer. Ask and ye shall receive— it’s universal law.

You’re not assured to like the answer, but you are bound to get one.

See what your body says

As Shakira says, the hips don’t lie. And neither does your gut.

Our bodies, wise in their collective wisdom, remain our most ardent protectors.

But it’s not just your gut feelings you should heed.

Chronic pain, muscle stiffness and even indigestion can clue us in to parts of the body where emotions literally become stuck. 

Go to those places aching for your attention and ask what they have to tell you; what they have to teach you.

The answers may not be automatic but stay in your body and clarity will come.

Ask a friend.

I usually ask two. That way, between my own perspective (shaky and shifting as it might be), plus the added perspective of two of my besties: I’m sure to gain some clarity. And if it’s a yes/no sort of dilemna—boom—automatic tiebreaker!

If nothing else, your pal can serve as a powerful sounding board for your scattered feelings. You may notice a new detail or emotional disturbance as you’re relaying the story that lends itself to a fresh vantage point.

Trust the Process

This is as hard and as easy as it sounds. If you’re anything like me, you want results yesterday. But we can’t control how or when our answers arrive.

I sometimes receive the guidance I need quickly and with tremendous ease, and other times, each day of not knowing feels like a unique form of punishment, specially crafted for my suffering.

But the answers do come.

The veil does lift.

And a creative solution emerges.

Every time. Without fail. It’s your job to allow it.

Accept the answer

Ok, I lied. This is usually the hardest part. Because ultimately, we always know. We hold the answer deep down within us, ask the universe anyway, and hope against all hope that we receive one we like better.

Yes, acceptance is a bitch.

But if you’ve sincerely put forth the question and done the work to gain clarity: accept the answer in whatever form it shows up.

An unexpected call.

A creative business proposal.

A sudden flash of insight.

Pay attention to it all. The universe is trying to show you the way—a path to clear and purposeful action.

 

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