The Wisdom of Uncertainty
Before my partner and I left for Zambia, a friend asked me, “What are you most excited about seeing?” It’s an interesting question. However, I had no answer to it. When I had worked through my anxiety and fears about going to Zambia with a hip that is degenerating quickly, I allowed myself to grieve the trip that was in my head, which means grieving the trip that I had dreamt of and expected to occur. Going through this process opened me up to the mysteries that were awaiting me in Zambia. Weeks before leaving, I found myself staying in the present moment. My mind was not wandering to the future and trying to figure out what we would experience and what we would see. I simply enjoyed my time in Bloomington leading up to the trip.
Once we got to Zambia, I realized what a gift it was to simply be open to whatever was going to happen. I found myself feeling at peace through the very long flights. Living in the present moment allowed me to remain relatively calm when my luggage did not show up in Zambia. This stunned Kim so much that she remarked about it numerous times. Now, realize that I had a couple of moments when this hiccup frustrated me, but for the most part, I rolled with the experience of being in Zambia without luggage for five days. This may seem small to many of you, but being without “your stuff” in a foreign country lacking a Target on every corner can be a big deal.
I truly believe that rolling with whatever life presented allowed me to be on the receiving end of some wonderful gifts. First of all, my dear Kim shared some clothing with me. Secondly, I met a lovely woman, Amy Alderman from the Bushcamp Company, who loaned me some of her clothes as well. This woman, who was for all intents and purposes a stranger to me, lent me clothes, sunscreen, and flip-flops to help make those five days as enjoyable as possible. To be honest, with all of the generosity that I was receiving, I completely forgot that I was a woman without her stuff! I focused on whatever I was experiencing. For example, I noticed that the elephants, giraffes, baboons, and other incredible creatures did not change their clothes every day. They simply had one outfit, and that worked for them! So, I tried to take a lesson from nature on accepting who I was and the circumstances I found myself in.
During this period, I hoped that my luggage would turn up the next day. However, I noticed that I was hoping from a place of desperation. It was an anxious kind of hope. I decided to change the energy around my hope. I wanted to hope from a place of well-being. I decided to just hope that I would see my luggage again. However, I was clear with this deeper hope that I would be fine if I did not see the luggage for the duration of our trip or ever again. Hoping from a place of well-being helped me feel far more comfortable and far more relaxed. It allowed me to detach from the outcome of when the luggage would arrive. Within hours of changing the energy around my hope, I heard from the Bushcamp Company staff that they thought they had found my luggage. Great news! I continued to hope but not cling to any specific outcome. Two and a half days later, my luggage was at breakfast waiting for me.
Please know that not being attached to an outcome has never come easy for me. I, like many other people, go through life very attached to what I want to happen. This was reminiscent of hoping to get a certain job, to sleep through the night without waking, or to have my offer on my perfect home accepted. The difference this time was that I learned some tools to employ to not hope from a place of desperation but from a place of well-being. I learned there is power in living life in the moment. We were blessed the entire trip with many miracles. I consider our second day in the South Luangwa Valley with Fannuel Banta and Steve Chulu nothing short of a gift. We saw so many incredible creatures, tracked a lion, spotted a male and female African fish eagle, and witnessed a mother leopard interact and nurse her two-and-a-half-month-old cub for an entire hour. During this hour with the mother leopard and her cub, I thought of nothing other than the magnificence of that moment. Nature has a wonderful way of allowing us to let go of all expectations and be open to whatever happens.
I understand that there are people who go to Africa to see a certain animal and every game drive becomes rated as either a success or a failure based on whether or not that specific animal was spotted. This is unfortunate. Again, when people are attached to an outcome (e.g. seeing a leopard) or hoping from a place of anxiety about what will make their game drive, trip to Africa, or life amazing, they are not allowing themselves to be open to life’s mysteries. They are trying to force a situation instead of just allowing what is to simply be. When I find myself hoping from a place of anxiety, I am filled with tension. Whereas, there is no stress when hoping without attachment and allowing the uncertainty of life to occur. It’s actually the peak of relaxation filled with gratitude and joy. In the words of Sheryl Crow, “It’s not having what you want, but wanting what you’ve got” that defines the wisdom of uncertainty.
Where in your life are you hoping for a certain outcome?
Are you hoping from an anxious place or a place of well-being?
What can you do to change your hope around to this deep form of hope?
As always, if you want support with this, I am here to help you should you want some guidance.
There were so many things that we learned and experienced in Zambia that I would love to share with you. First of all, I wanted to share the Bushcamp Company. The Bushcamp Company was our host during our safari in the South Luangwa Valley. It’s a wonderful organization that has a great commitment to the people of the South Luangwa Valley. The company works closely with various organizations to protect precious resources in addition to supporting education and generating a sustainable source of income for those who live around the park.
If you ever dream of going on an African safari, think about visiting with the Bushcamp Company.
Read more about the Bushcamp Company’s charitable giving on its Facebook page.
Additionally, Kim and I visited two schools while in Zambia—Tujatane: The Tongabezi Trust School and a government school. We learned a lot from this experience. We were especially impressed with Tujatane: The Tongabezi Trust School. Visiting this school was inspiring! In Africa, education is not free or inexpensive. So, Tongabezi’s owners dreamt of offering a school where its staff would have to pay very little for their children’s education. They have succeeded in creating a pretty amazing preK–8 school with an average class size of twenty-five students. Sponsors from around the world help each student through a year of education. The Tongabezi Trust School has been able to do a tremendous amount with very little. Learn more about this inspiring school here.
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching