Embracing the Unknown

Life is continuously unfolding before us. Many of us try very hard to direct the course of life’s trajectory, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, no matter how much we try to control, direct and predict where life will take us we can never fully know the future. In fact, the only thing we can count on is that life will definitely present us with unexpected twists and turns; why not learn to embrace the unexpected changes and find comfort in the unknowable future?

If life was completely predictable, it would also be incredibly boring and stagnant! As humans, many of us find comfort and security in having a routine or a pattern to our lives, and we generally always want situations to work out in our favor or work out as planned in our minds. However, disruptions and interruptions to those patterns and plans are important because they force us to adapt and change our behavior. Being forced to change and adapt encourages growth and transformation.

One of the most basic principles of Darwin’s theory of evolution has to do with adapting to what our environment presents to us; therefore, if we can’t adapt to what life presents to us we will certainly not survive. Although much of humanity no longer lives in a wild environment and most of our basic survival needs are met easily with modern technology and infrastructure, we are still immersed in living conditions and situations that we can’t completely control or predict.

As much as we may dread change and unforeseeable outcomes, our response to the unknown reflects the direction and temperament of our own mental, emotional and spiritual growth. Whatever does not grow is not alive, so it is no surprise that change is an incredible catalyst for growth.

Unexpected changes happen all the time, and how we respond to those changes can determine how we grow. Even in my own life when things have not gone as I planned or wanted, my first reaction has been to respond with fear, anxiety and sometimes a feeling of helplessness. Fear, stress and depressed feelings have physiological, social and emotional consequences. Too much stress can lead to mental unease and tension in the mind and body.

I never want unexpected changes in my life to cause me to shrink, wither or hide due to fear, stress and anxiety. I knew that I had to adjust my own thinking in order to figure out a way to cope with personal life occurrences that were out of my control. Fortunately, with time and reflection, I have learned to see life’s unexpected changes as surprises, opportunities and lessons.

I have discovered that sometimes, unexpected changes can be serendipitous and lead to better results than what was originally desired or planned for. Other times unexpected changes are learning opportunities and require us to use creative problem solving strategies, which in turn makes us more resourceful and intelligent. In some instances, unexpected changes provide valuable lessons about how life has a way of working out—so why stress unnecessarily? 

Another important lesson I have embraced is to trust and have faith in what the universe presents to me. The human spirit is naturally resilient and has the capacity to be positively transformed by life’s journey—in all the twists, turns and backtracking. In fact, one of the main purposes of life is to grow, learn, expand and transform.

We only truly know our limitations through the challenges we overcome. Learning to embrace the unknowable future and have faith in our ability to face what life offers to us is an empowering feeling and can help us face those challenges with more confidence!

Since I know that things rarely work out as completely intended, I have come to expect and look forward to the unknown.  Now I am excited by what the future holds. What surprises lay around the corner? What opportunities and learning experiences will I be presented with tomorrow?  

I have faith and confidence in my own ability to face the unknown with the knowledge that I will be stronger, more creative and more intelligent as I am continually transformed, stretched and sculpted by the unfolding of my life’s events.