On learning to love uncertainty

I hate being uncertain, as you can probably tell by how sure I am that I am always right and how convinced I am that I know everything, or at least that I know everything I need to know and can find out the rest.

But life kicks everyone’s ass, even those of us who kick back, and once you reach the age where the only people who think you’re still young have celebrated their eightieth birthdays, you recognize that certainty is chimera, and you stop trying to track it down and trap it because whatever you do, it’s got sharper claws than you have.

So you, or at least I, try to figure out how to learn to live with uncertainty, which, not unlike broccoli and good wine, is an acquired taste. You, or at least I, circle around it, poking it a little, trying to determine its shape and its dimensions.

But I like answers, dammit, so I asked Debz if she’d lead me on another guided meditation (quantum jump, for those of you who have been following along). You remember Debz:


Anyway, she said, “Of course!” because she is very generous like that, and also I think she likes to hear what I’ve cooked up this time in my fevered imagination.

You may remember that once Debz gets you into a meditative state, she has you imagine a gate into the universe, and you open the gate and you jump through.

I was all, “Gawd I hate uncertainty! Can’t someone please tell me how all of this ends?!” like I don’t already know and just want a different answer, and so the idea of jumping through that gate and seeing what was on the other side was too scary, so I pushed cartoon me through:


If you did not previously realize I am insane, I think it is safe to assume that you are now up to date.

So cartoon-me landed on an island in the tropics, complete with swaying palm trees, but sadly no Greek sailors. Right in front of me was a very large elephant. A war elephant, complete with broken tusk and torn ear. (Later Debz told me that this is how Ganesh, the Hindu god, remover of obstacles, is depicted, although I did not know this at the time.)

Fortunately, cartoon-me is not easy to trample, being only a drawn outline, and I (or at least, cartoon-me) ended up on the elephant’s back.


From there I could see everything! Yay! No more doubt and uncertainty! I would always know what was coming!

Then the mist rolled in.

Seriously, I have got to get an imagination that doesn’t always default to the worst-case scenario.

So the mist clouded everything, and it dampened sound, and I had no way of knowing what was sneaking up on me, but as I mentioned, cartoon-me is hard to trample, so I wasn’t all that worried. From my vantage point, I realized that the mist was beautiful. It was just as beautiful as being able to see everything.


Debz quietly called me back home, but before I left, I gave the elephant a gift from my heart, which was, apparently, a handful of peanuts:


Clearly, cartoon-me has no sense of occasion.

So that is me, trying to learn to love uncertainty.



My collection of travel stories, Travels with Jessica, is now available! Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here. And I’ve published my essay “For Jessica” as a small book. Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here.

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