This is a guest post from volunteer, Astrid Montuclard, after attending our weekly Hope Tank. Find out more about Hope Tank at this link.
“What are you learning to let go of amidst the pandemic?” Bathed in my computer’s silvery light, my heart shivers to the question. For six seconds, the words bounce around the Zoom room of the Metta Center for Nonviolence’s virtual Hope Tank. She-who-knows-everything comes to my mind. How safe she feels… she has answers to heartbreaks, shortages of toilet paper, suspect coughs, procrastination, and longing for hugs. In these times, she is the best friend of those seeking for guidance outside of themselves.
She-who-knows-everything, when scared, likes to emerge from the depths of my soul. Yet, she is not the facet of myself that I wish to offer amidst the crisis. I am vigilant to love her – and yet to also lie her to rest as much as necessary. For she does not always know to listen from the heart. She does not know to sustain silence for the additional second necessary for two gazes to catch a glimpse of their vulnerability. She does not know to let her body tremble when the news shout that thousands of people died today. She does not know to cry in front of those she loves. She does not know to embrace the full spectrum of human emotions with kindness. She only knows to paint her and others’ minds with Old Stories of strength, control, and composure.
But these days, I am learning to let go of her – she who believes to have an explanation, an answer, a solution, and a decision available when not-knowing and ambivalence fill her ribcage and the eyes of those around her. These days, I am learning to let go of avoidance and embrace the painful reality that I, too, do not always know how to respond to Change.
When she-who-knows-everything melts away, and I do not find words to comfort my friends who are scared because they lost their jobs, I smile painfully and convey through my gaze that “I am here with and for you – and I accept that is all I can do right now.”
When she-who-knows-everything melts away, and I do not find resilience to keep my composure as conflicts explode around me, I remind myself that being gentle in picking up the broken pieces of my ego is sometimes the only thing to do while waiting for the storm to pass.
When she-who-knows-everything melts away, and I cannot deny anymore the fear strangling my lungs while turning in bed at night, I put on music in my ears and let my body feel fully its own humanity, until sleep washes away the running stream of my thoughts.
When she-who-knows-everything melts away, and I can finally face that we will not be the same again after Covid-19, I try to sit quietly and listen with my spirit and soul for the quiet steps of slower mornings already on their way.
Yes, these days, I am learning to stop resisting and sit in the peaceful fire of feeling time flow through my body without direction. As I was sitting in the sun this afternoon, a feeling of expansiveness came upon me. She-who-knows-everything got it… There is rest in not-knowing. There is rest in not-knowing, when suddenly the need to think for answers or repeat aloud thoughts whispering the “right thing to do” disappears. When suddenly, sitting lovingly with myself and others, just as we are, becomes the right thing to do – and the New Story to embrace.
Yes, there really is peace in not-knowing. And these days, I need that peace. It is fertile with new possibilities. I can let go of the belief that I must be perfect for everyone all the time – finally.
Finally, I can rejoice in truly not knowing. And it feels like the Earth herself approves.