It’s a beautiful Monday morning in Vienna. There is still a chill in the air, but the sun has come out for a peak after a cold, wintry weekend. It is my first Monday since the completion of my German course last week. While I have much on my mind and much to do, I find myself shuffling about.
Sunny St. Ulrich Church, just outside my front door.
I began my day running a few simple errands. I have come to enjoy meandering the streets and the comfy stores and markets of Vienna. As I am walking around getting this and that, my brain is flooded with thoughts. With my unstructured Monday morning and no more German class, I find myself unsettled with what to do first with my time and energy.
I am doing a little shoe shopping and considering this… my relationship with uncertainty. It’s that place that we all face in one way or another. That space and time of not knowing. It may be something small, or something large, or a combination of all of the above. But no matter who we are, it is there to greet us.
I am currently exploring and orchestrating some new things in my life and I can’t help but notice my tendency with uncertainty. I try to “nip it in the bud” or try to eliminate it as soon as possible. And if I can’t eliminate it, I sometimes find myself on a feverish journey to eradicate it as soon as possible. As I am perusing the summer sandals I consider… there must be another way.
It dawns on me that I could make friends with uncertainty. Give it a little room to breathe and be instead of seeing it as the enemy to be resolved and transformed to certainty at the soonest possible moment. I have a few new areas of uncertainty cropping in my life lately, and I can’t help but notice how in that space I have filled my life and my mind with fervent action and constant thoughts. It occurred to me today that instead, I could practice just letting uncertainty be. And consider (once again), that it is okay to not know. It is okay to be uncertain… about whatever it is, large or small. And, that given a little time and air and chance to breathe, some great things can be birthed out of uncertainty.
A few days ago a picture caught my eye on Facebook. It was a painting by a woman who calls herself an energy artist. For some reason it pulled me in so I clicked through to see what was there. It turns out connected to this image was a message that I have to admit was well suited for me. It said… “If you feel full of worry or apprehension, remember that 99% of what you worry about never happens, and the 1% never is as bad as you thought…. So that you will never return to dark places, it is very important that you teach your mind to gravitate to the good that can happen, and already exists around you, not the bad that might happen. Once you are able to do this, your world will change forever for the better.”
Wow, what a message. I can’t deny that lately I have been watching my thoughts furiously gravitate towards what might go wrong or what bad could happen. It seems they do that automatically, like water running through grooves in the cement. I notice this especially when I am in the space of uncertainty… enter uncertainty and there my thoughts go like wildfire.
But today I am considering making friends with uncertainty… to just be with it and not run away with it or furiously trying to fill it with something more certain. And I am paying attention to my thoughts and choosing new ones like, “everything will go fine” and “it will be okay.”
As I was having my epiphany amidst the brown leather flats, I couldn’t help but laugh as I heard the music overhead… it went, “You don’t have to be scared baby… you don’t need a plan of what you want to do…” And there we have it.
The courtyard where I live taking a much needed drink of sun.
Here’s a little update on life in Vienna. For those of you who have been cheering me on, I passed my German final exams! And not only passed, but did quite well. Hooray! I was earnestly more than nervous about taking this exam. There is something about facing a test in a language that is still unfamiliar (i.e. uncertainty…) that rattles my bones a bit. But after a solid weekend of studying, pouring German words, rules and information into my brain until I thought it might break, I am happy to report all went well. What a relief and a true feeling of accomplishment.
How is my German out in the world you might ask? Well, that… is a different story. In my world of A1-2 German I still live in the land of basics, still don’t understand more than I do. But I have noticed some changes. Sometimes, I think a little bit in German. A few times I have caught myself considering how to say something in German BEFORE I think of it in English. At lunch yesterday with a group of mostly German speakers, I was pleased to find that I understood the exchange of simple requests and conversation. It felt almost easy to make my request of the waitress in German. And as for the rest of the conversation and content that I don’t understand (which is still quite extensive)… now some of it sounds… familiar. Words are beginning to form in my listening that were once just sounds, although I still don’t know what most of them mean. And so it goes.
How is life in your world? Surfing through any uncertainty of your own? It’s always good to hear from you!
Good-bye for now from the hope of spring in Vienna. As we speak the sun is leaking into the courtyard where I live. A foreign sight lately. But ah, so good to see!