Why do so many of us humans wear knowing-ness like a shield?
How come we often choose a stance of already knowing?
What makes us so anxious to claim we know – when we really don’t?
Are we afraid that we will appear foolish? Unschooled? Be called out?
Where did the curiosity, wonder and innocence of the our young child self go?
What happened to the ten bazillion, jillion questions that as a younger human would come rushing into our minds? Sometimes this happened so fast for me that I couldn’t even get them out of my mouth in an orderly fashion.
When did we lose the excitement and mystery of the unknown? When did not knowing become so unnerving?
When we think we already know, when we assume we already understand, when we hold closely to our ideas about what is being presented to us – we in effect close the door with finality on anything new coming in. We draw a circle of certainty around us.
We energetically turn away from the moment – from the infinite possibilities of the Universe. From what may be all that we have been asking for – it’s just come bundled in strange and unfamiliar wrappings.
There is a Tlingit Story my children and I saw performed when they were very young. We all still remember it and it has become woven into our own family mythology. We still use Crow’s response to mock one another’s stubborn, closed, know-it-all stance.
Here is gist of the story.
One day Crow and Octopus are both on the beach at the same time. Octopus begins talking to Crow. As they talk the tide begins to come in and Octopus observes Crow doing things that seem very risky to him. Octopus warns Crow about the tide coming in and the possible danger Crow is placing himself in. After every statement and warning Crow’s response is, “Ieeeee Knoooowwwww.”
This begins to truly annoy Octopus. It becomes apparent that Crow is not listening or taking anything in. This is just what Crow habitually says. Crow’s ignorance is obvious to Octopus.
In the end Crow’s inability to hear anything new, to open to anything fresh – is his downfall. He is warned by Octopus about what may happen, even about what Octopus may actually DO to him. Then because too-smart Crow knows just too much for his own good, disaster strikes. As the tide comes in Crow is pulled into the waters of the Sound and eventually made a meal of by Octopus.
What if we stopped saying,”I know.”
What if for an hour, a day, a week, a lifetime we just stopped?
What if when someone who believes something different or views the world through a lens divergent from our own speaks – we simply listen and are curious, rather than tuning them out, out of stubbornness, fear, self-righteousness or habit?
What if we replaced our knee-jerk response with ”Tell me more!” or “ Hmmmmm, that’s an interesting way to look at it!”?
What if we loosen our own tight defences for just a moment and drop more deeply into our hearts?
What if we intentionally widen our gaze and focus? Rest more fully into our bodies as we move through the world? Open our hearts and ears wide to listen?
What if we simply allow newness and amazement to inform our eyes, our hearts and our ears?
What if we make curiosity our first response? Always.
What if we simply stop believing we’re supposed to know everything?
What if we gently let go of the tight clutch of fear held by our younger selves that some ghostly teacher or parent will wrathfully swoop down and yell, ”What do you mean you don’t know?”
One day as I was enjoying a walk around a small lake I heard rustling off to the right. I stopped to listen. I waited, heard more rustling. After a few minutes a porcupine came scooting backward out of the far end of a large clay drainage pipe and looked right at my friend and I. He was as startled to see us – as we were to see him. Without hesitation he instantly ducked back into the safety and solitude of his lair. As we stood there marveling, I noticed a trail leading away from the pipe through the grasses into the distance. It was well worn and narrow. It appeared to have been Porcupine’s.
I have thought about that encounter and the image of that well-worn path again and again – curiously turning it over in my mind like hard candy between molar and cheek.
So many animals create paths and trails and use them over and over. I wonder if it is because they’re familiar, relatively safe? Is it so they can tell if something is off or if there is danger afoot? Is it part of their survival mechanisms?
I am struck by how we humans do this as well.
We take the well-worn path. We think we know what is next, what is coming, what someone is going to say or something means without inspecting it more closely. Without truly receiving it like a jewel to be held up to the light and examined against the sun. Turning it this way and that.
Our own deeply trodden paths are mostly about comfort and survival. However to thrive – to open to greater possibility, to grow – we must step away from habit and our own default, auto-pilot trails and open more fully to the moment. We must let go of the certainty of knowing and rest in the openness of discovery – of not knowing.
This is actually where real safety resides. Right here! Present and accounted for. Mind open. Attentively in the moment – fully receiving and experiencing all of what is here.
Not knowing is the birth of infinite possibility.
I imagine the conversations we will have when we all stop pretending to know.
I imagine the trails we will blaze when we stop defending what we think we know.
I imagine the lives we will lead when we drop the defended stance of already knowing.
Everything can change in an instant. The answers we have been seeking, the miracle we have been praying for, the solutions we have been calling in – every single one of them – may arrive in an instant and usually from an unexpected quarter – when we are open and receptive.
How do you pull the cloak of knowing around your own shoulders, dear one?
And are you willing to open to the possibilities that not knowing can birth?
Harmonizing Global Water
Water is such an intrinsic part of our lives. We wash with it. Drink it. Relax near it. Are refreshed by it. It is interwoven into every aspect of life. We are even somewhere between 60-70% water. And most of the time we are not even paying much attention to our interactions with Water. Until recently many of us have mostly taken it for granted. Over the last couple of decades I have begun to interact with water more consciously. I have come to recognize and appreciate the preciousness this vital element holds for all life on Earth. This began when I went on my first Vision Quest in the desert of Eastern Washington at thirty. Every precious drop of water we had out there we had to cart to and from our vehicles. I carried three gallons as well as my heavy pack several miles high atop a butte to keep me hydrated at my personal Vision Quest site. I found out water is heavy! Every time I drank water out in the desert I offered a mouthful to the parched Earth at my feet. When I was in base camp the precious water we used to clean dishes was always reverently offered to the sage and grasses that spread out across the rolling, dry expanse. On the way from Seattle to the desert we always stopped at Snoqualmie Falls to give offerings to the Water as well as to mark the last flush toilet, the last water running freely from a sink as we refreshed ourselves at the Lodge there.
After spending a week in the desert with no taps to turn on, no plumbing, no water source at all except for the gallon jugs I carried in with me – I could not help but forge a very different relationship with Water.
Every day I walk the creek near my home. I observe the waters as they ebb and flow. I have now done this for almost twelve years and have learned more than I will ever be able to articulate with the written language.
I express my gratitude and bless Water in the morning as I fill my pitchers for the day.
I often find myself blessing and thanking Water as I am showering, washing my hands, doing the dishes, watching the rain.
You may have ways you mindfully appreciate and interact with Water.
We are all becoming increasingly aware of the value of this priceless, life-giving substance.
My invitation to you today is to come along with me on this co-creative adventure called Harmonizing Global Water.
Over the next weeks and months I will be sharing ways we can gather across the globe to work in partnership with Water in every one of its forms.
The link below will take you to a very short form where you can sign up to be on the list to receive notifications about events, ways you can participate, co-create, make a difference and more.
Dear blessed and beautiful one…
May your heart and mind be increasingly open as you traverse your life.
May you continue to open more fully to the wonder and magic of discovery and amazement.
May delightful surprises wait around the corner and over the very next ridge.
May you be blessed. May you be blessed.
May you be infinitely, abundantly and lovingly blessed.
Every. Single. Beautiful. Loving. Good thing!
Love and joyful blessings,