Radical Uncertainty: Creating out of Chaos

In so many ways, I desire things to be predictable.  I like to know their order.  When I was 20 I traveled to a retreat where the main activity was to create a 25 year life plan.  Carefully and thoughtfully we tried to divine the future.  What I learned in the decades following is more like the sign which hangs in my sister’s hallway: “the mark of God is that you will be led where you did not plan to go.”  Needless to say I am pretty much through the 25 year span that I so carefully planned that week, and much of my life did not happen as I had expected.

In those following years I learned to be more flexible and spontaneous- a teaching that lassoed me fervently and demanded it.  But nothing could have prepared me or any of us for this time in our world that requires flexibility beyond capacity, and creativity broader than individual imagination.

Roshi Joan Halifax spoke recently, and shared her concept of Radical Uncertainty.  When I first heard this concept, I thought about all the unfortunate current circumstances.  Yet as Roshi Halifax shared, I was drawn to her instinct toward communal creativity as healing balm for Radical Uncertainty.  Although Radical Uncertainty creates a tension of being suspended between two possibilities, there is yet space for freedom of vision and practice.  Like the poet David Whyte says: “You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in.”  Radical Uncertainty does not inhibit us from freedom, and in some cases it sets us free.As we let go of a false sense of Certainty, there may be new opportunities to discover what lies on the other side of certainty.  I am still trying to discern in these times what that means.  A part of me feels there is no choice but to trust in this process which may mean letting go of unhelpful patterns like Expectation, Expediency, and Excess.

What are you letting go of this season?  How will you cultivate the support that you need to be in this inevitable new season that is approaching?

Anne Supplee and Maia Twedt (Quaker chaplains) invite you to join in a workshop offered by Way Opening Workshops:

Letting Go: Embracing a New Season

October 20 7 PM Central Time, on Zoom, suggested cost is $20.00.

Please email way.opening.workshops@gmail.com for a Zoomlink.


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