“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou
I wanted to have a baby.
I don’t mean me personally, but you get it – to father a child (Modern medicine hasn’t quite allowed men to carry another human yet!!).
At one time in my life, not too long ago, the desire to have a baby was a life priority for me. And not having a child was a serious loss in my life. I can’t tell you why I wanted one or if I was ready to have been a father, but it seemed like the right thing to do.
After not having a child in my life, I was fraught with disappointment and sadness.
My marriage ended. There was no baby in sight. This image of a laughing child in my dreams became blurrier and more distant than ever.
I could have been devastated by a dream lost but I have chosen to follow a different path.
Believing that everything happens for a reason, I let go of my attachment to this unborn child.
I let go of my desire to have a child.
I let go of my timeline to have a child.
And most importantly, I let go of my desire to know if a child was in my future or not (the demands, expectations and urge to know and make plans).
Over the last couple of years, I’ve gone through this arduous personal development journey, many parts of which I write about, realizing that I may not have been the ideal father in the first place, or much less a prepared one or even a competent one.
If I wasn’t emotionally healthy myself, nor had the patience or ability to care for a baby, was I really ready to be a parent?
A baby then would have been ill-served having me as their father.
Since the time that the possibility of a baby abruptly disappeared from my life, I chose to forge ahead without knowing what the future holds.
Instead of being stuck to a specific timeline over something I have no control over, I spent a lot of time with my adorable baby nephews and try to visit them at every chance I get.
Not knowing my future brought me to where I am today.
I’ve had similar experiences with my career path.
I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do with my life in college. Like many students, I didn’t have the answers to what my future held or what I should be doing with my life.
I never received any clear calls from the Gods as to my life vocation. (But my Indian parents did call me a lot to let me know about the benefits of becoming a doctor – service to humanity and beach-front property!)
What do you do when you don’t know what the future holds?
Well, I did something that I was weak at and wanted to improve on. Public speaking. Although I enjoyed writing speeches and speaking in public, it wasn’t my strongest point. I spoke too fast, sometimes too slow and I never understood the mechanics of effective public speaking.
Near campus, I joined a Toastmasters group which was dedicated to helping people improve their public speaking skills. I participated in this professional group for 3 years, being the only student in the group.
I never knew exactly where public speaking would take me the entire time I was in Toastmasters.
It was only when I was nearing graduation, when having the public speaking skills and confidence inspired me to consider going into law (That and my parents who had sadly come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be a doctor).
Ultimately, law was not a career I stuck with. On the plus side though, my legal background has brought me to a place where I am able to speak in front of large groups of people. Whether it’s at a community meeting, workshop or even a family get-together, I have no hesitation when standing up to speak.
My point is that I had no idea what I wanted to do but I forged ahead anyway, without knowing the answers.
Doing something that interested me and helped me improve, like public speaking, is now an integral part of my destiny.
How do you move forward when you don’t know how or when you’ll get there?
How do you create the life that you’ve been envisioning and the life your heart seems to be longing for?
When you feel like your whole life has turned upside down and you’re a long way from living the dreams you created in your mind years ago, it’s easy to feel paralyzed.
When you feel frustrated by your life’s current circumstances or just plain stuck, you might feel like throwing your hands up in the air and saying, “I give up”.
Your career isn’t moving along. You have no idea where your business is going. Your partner isn’t showing up. The baby you’ve bought baby clothes for isn’t quite here yet.
I notice that many of us tend to clutch to our end goals. When we cling on to the desired outcome, we are left with the feeling of not having achieved it. We feel a lacking in our lives.
But fortunately, you don’t have to be paralyzed by the thoughts of not achieving your dreams. Nor do you have to feel frustrated by the lack of movement in your life.
Instead of being stuck on the fact that you don’t have what you want, try this.
1. Be OK with not knowing.
Be perfectly comfortable in not knowing the answers or having clarity in your life.
Let waves of uncertainty and confusion wash over you without attaching yourself to the frustration of not knowing.
Practice sitting with uncertainty. Learn to be comfortable not knowing the answers of where your journey is going to take you.
2. Do something. Anything at all.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” declared Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu.
Whatever your dream or desire is, take some small steps daily towards that goal without being paralyzed by or fixated on the end result.
Meet people if you want to be in a relationship. You don’t need to meet “the one” today.
Look for a compatible partner who also wants children if you’re firmly set on having kids.
Start learning new skills, attending more training, do some volunteer work or freelancing if you are keen on transitioning into a completely different industry.
Take small concrete steps towards your goal.
Bombay wasn’t built in a day. It was built one brick at a time, over centuries.
3. Listen intently.
As you’re taking small steps and moving forward, listen to your soul’s messages. Your feelings and your inner voice will be conveying messages to you.
You’ll hear these messages through your mind’s subtle messages, repeated internal thoughts or feelings that will guide you in a certain direction.
The inner voice, or intuition, will sometimes tell you to continue. Or it may tell you to stop. Alternatively, it may advise you to change your game plan. Or to perhaps even to abandon your dream.
It might convince you that something that you’re chasing isn’t right for you and you’ll be better off with something else.
Whatever it is, be mindful of your inner voice and be willing to listen to it.
4. Be open to life’s gifts and timelines.
No, you may not get exactly what you want and at the time you want it.
Instead of demanding a certain result at a certain time, be open to whatever it is that unfolds before you.
If Prince Harry doesn’t knock, but a short banker with a stable job and a loyal spirit does, open the door!
If your dream job working for Facebook doesn’t materialize, consider the job at the small start-up as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Be open, be patient, and be confident knowing what is meant for you will come to you in due course.
5. Every circumstance is a lesson in disguise.
Although you’re not getting what you want right now, know that every situation has a message for us.
Every life circumstance can become our teacher.
If you start viewing every twist, turn and hiccup as an opportunity and lesson, instead of an unfulfilled dream, you’ll have a much healthier and happier journey forward.
Ask yourself what a delay means?
Or what can it teach you?
Where is the blessing in this circumstance?
What can you be grateful for right now?
There is a soulful tranquility about not knowing what the future holds and simply being OK with it.
Embrace uncertainty and welcome the magic of possibilities unfolding in your life.
Your ability to manage the unknown can be the ultimate source of your strength and wisdom in life.