The Wisdom of Not Knowing

Blue Ridge Mountains, Western N Carolina, Photo by Gaye Abbott, 9/7/22

Driving home from a temporary job yesterday I was weary and looked forward to arriving to a friends home where I was house sitting for the week. Then it happened all in an instant.

A brilliant rainbow presented in the sky over the Blue Ridge mountain range entwined with buckets of rain pouring down scattered here and there making driving a bit treacherous. I so wanted to capture it in a photo, but could not easily stop along the country road in a downpour so I trusted.

Trusted that if these were the only moments that I had this spectacular and magical rainbow as a companion to lead me home it was enough. The inner child, always along for the ride our entire lifetime, was in absolute delight and of course wondered if there truly was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. She was given free reign to dream into that possibility.

Once home, as I took steps along the walkway to the front door, I looked out at the mountain range and was stunned. The rainbow stretched from one end of the valley below to the other and yes was captured in the photo above. Elemental nature’s gift as a reminder that it is the moments of not knowing what will show up next that opens our awareness to beauty, mystery and the wholeness of being embodied here.

I am finding more often that letting go of what the cultural narrative, or the self critical voice inside, dictates we “should be doing and acting like” and instead revisiting the joy of inhabiting a child like curiosity and sense of play is truly freedom. Bringing depth and pleasure to our precious life moments. Even those that challenge us the most.

“I think on some level, you do your best things when you’re a little off-balance, a little scared. You’ve got to work from mystery, from wonder, from not knowing.”
Willem Dafoe

Within the uncertainty of our present world and our individual unique lives we are offered the opportunity to practice spontaneity, awe, wonder, curiosity – embracing the terrain of each unfolding moment – especially in those moments when we are off balance, challenged or scared.

As Hanna Naude says in the video below we all have an “inner child” that travels with us our entire life. Why not indulge and simply trust life unfolding…..all of it, even the hard parts.

“Why are we so obsessed with knowing everything? While there’s nothing wrong with knowledge and understanding, our insatiable desire to know and control all aspects of our lives often gets in our way of trying new things.  

There is no shame in not knowing, there is only freedom.  An uncertain mind is an open mind. It is a mind which is curious and interested.  It allows us to be creative and willing to live in a state of wonder and possibility, like children do.  

When we meet life with a genuine sense of uncertainty, we cease to project that which we think we know, and we instead begin to see life for what it truly is.  It is life itself, unfolding before our eyes.”

Filmed in Montagu, South Africa by Green Renaissance.
Featuring Hanna Naude.


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 9/8/22. Please feel free to share this post.

2 Comments on “The Wisdom of Not Knowing

  1. Yes, it is refreshing to hear somebody say: “I don’t know.” It is an expression of humility, and it is usually the most honest answer.

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