“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!”
“If only I knew what ‘IT’ was that I was supposed to do!”
I’ve heard all of these statements and more from seminar participants and clients. That overwhelming, anxiety-producing, adrenaline rush bordering on despair, which only someone searching for their next steps can feel. It’s very real, but experience has shown me that it is also grossly misinterpreted.
Sure, sometimes there really is not even an inkling of clarity and that usually requires more down time and stillness to get a spark to come. But for most people, I find that “I don’t know” really means “ I am too afraid to admit it”. You see, somewhere deep inside and maybe secretly expressed, is a dream, a wish, an inkling of an idea that is just too scary to admit. If you do recognize that you have a germ of a direction that interests you, then you may have to take action on it. You may have to be held accountable. You may have to give up life as you know it (suffering and all) to have it. That is HUGELY scary.
I find that “I don’t know” is a knee-jerk reaction to avoid the pain of the truth. “I don’t know” is like a shot of whiskey that keeps you numb and causes procrastination to persist. It amuses your friends or wears them out, but it serves the purpose of avoiding change.
I remember a participant at my Kripalu seminar one year who amused the whole class with her giddy repetition of the ‘I don’t know’ mantra until I finally asked her to take a deep breath and stop laughing when she said she did not know. She sobered up and once out of her adrenaline high could not longer repeat the phrase. I asked her to seriously tell us what little bit of clarity she already had about her career direction. She tried to fly off into giddiness again but I did not let her. Out it came. She admitted that she wanted to start her own business. Her husband, who was sitting next to her, instantly piped in and said: “She’s known that for years but she always has an excuse as to why she can’t do it.”
Busted! She spent the rest of the retreat weekend coming up with a plan instead of playing her ‘less than’ role of a giddy, flaky woman who did not know what she wanted.
What about you? What truths are you covering up with “I don’t know’s”? Put pen to paper and write down the truths you may be too afraid to face.
I don’t believe you don’t know. I believe you are just too scared to admit it. Tell the truth and take action. The world needs what you are afraid of doing.