Do you face anxiety in the face of the unknown? Does your fear keep you from doing and achieving what you want? Embracing uncertainty is hard, but it’s possible. Learn how making art can help you get in touch with your desires, make bold decisions, and ultimately walk through the world in a whole new way.
He still had some doubts about the decision he had made.—From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was
only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision he is
really diving into the strong current that will carry him to places he had
never dreamed of when he first made the decision.
I am a huge fan of certainty.
Who doesn’t love a sure bet? That nigh-smug feeling we’ve championed risk and landed in a net of assurance. Sporting a swagger in our step as we walk into a new world.
Turns out the Universe says, “Ha, Ha, HA! You’ll be bored out of your mind!”
Certainty initially feels like a warm blankie. Soon, though, it feels like a suffocating cloak that makes me dull and lethargic.
So let me rephrase—my brain loves certainty. The rest of me, not so much.
Embracing Uncertainty When Your Brain Loves Certainty
If I mostly prefer the dual, zingy, fun energies of uncertainty and variety, why is my brain in the other camp? Why does it quake and shudder in the face of The Unknown?
My brain’s job is to protect me. Keep me in the nest of safety and surety. Away from saber-tooth tigers and starvation. It runs an ancient, evolutionary code of 1’s and 0’s with this message on repeat: “Susie, you in danger, girl.”
And then there is the Good Girl Culture in which I grew up in the American South.
Good Girls don’t make waves. Or speak without raising their hands. They stay in line (literally and figuratively).
Good Girls follow the rules. Accept annoyances as part of life. Nod when they want to shake their heads.
Good Girls do not speak up for themselves or anyone else. Best to not ruffle feathers.
This makes quite the cauldron of ingredients for one to not trust herself. If we have an intuitive hit to make a bold move, and our culture raps our wrists and nudges us back into our seats, we can come to believe that anything out of the box equals exile and losing favor.
This all sounds like a giant bummer, being doomed to a mousy existence. Not so fast! As long as we understand how our brains work and the cultural influences we are steeped in, we can acknowledge both and then choose any path we wish.
Embracing Uncertainty by Understanding Our Relationship to Decision-Making
Understanding that our brains and culture work in cahoots, we have a new appreciation for the strange “Push-Me, Pull-You” relationship we have with making decisions. Perhaps we aren’t so freaked out about risk, after all.
Maybe, just maybe, we dig it.
Raise your hand if you know the giddiness of having made a decision that feels too wild, too riddled with The Unknown. Embracing uncertainty creates an almost audible clicking of something firing within our soul. We are a little jumpy and squirmy with dewy delight.
We feel alive!
The news gets even better.
I have learned that not only does embracing uncertainty with bold decisions foster a fresh, empowered state of self-trust, but doing so unlocks unseen doors along the corridors of synchronicity. We move, and the Universe moves.
The formula, therefore, is simple: Desires + Decision = Alchemy.
Making Bold Decisions by Identifying What You Want to Happen
Our job, then, is to listen to what it is our souls are craving. Get crystal clear on what it is we want to have happen. Deep down, what do you desire?
Take a moment right now and write down your answer. Write your answer without paying any attention to the worry emanating from your brain’s fear-barking or the confines of cultural messaging.
What do you want?
Now, identify the decision you need to make. Write it down.
If the nausea of fear now has you in its grip, take a deep breath and remember the sources (brain + culture). Take another look at your paper. Still queasy?
I have a cure!
The Key to Bold Decision-Making
I can teach you a way of embracing uncertainty and bold decision-making through art-making! Hang on, don’t run off. I know how impossible this sounds.
I have not only experienced this magic firsthand, I have seen this unfold over and over again in my students’ lives. When we get lost on purpose while dancing with The Unknown of making something, we build the musculature of courage.
It begins like a faint melody we hear in the distance. Embracing uncertainty, we walk on, continuing to return to the blank page with our art tools in hand. We make marks without a plan, and we let ourselves not like what we made. We learn we can edit, find our way home. We keep our hands moving.
Embracing uncertainty in art allows us to experience inside our cells what it feels like to truly let go. Stop controlling. Trust. Make another bold move. Another brave choice.
Soon, we have a piece of art (which we may or may not like), but most importantly, we have created our way to a new Art of Us. For a recovering Perfectionist like me, this is manna from heaven.
It will be for you, too.
Embracing uncertainty through art can help you inhabit your body differently. You will feel the old limits, the old excuses, the old painful beliefs crack away and turn to dust.
Liberation on steroids!
You will begin making different choices. You will walk in the world in a new way. And, yes, Magic appears on the regular as a result of embracing uncertainty with art.
Embracing uncertainty in art teaches you how to surface your innate courage and enjoy the alchemy of turning your desires into decisions.