What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

BY Rev. Connie L. Habash        July 25, 2017

Stuck. You've reached an impasse and you don’t know which way to go. The path ends there, and a mysterious fog of doubt and fear has obscured the direction.

We all come to times in our lives when we don't know what to do. We weigh our options, and none of them feel quite right, or they are too big, too overwhelming. It can feel helpless, hopeless, and scary. We may feel that we're alone and have to figure it out all by ourselves.

The only thing we are certain of is that we can't go back. Perhaps we are ready to leave an unhealthy relationship, or a job situation that's become torturous. But leaving it leaves us wide open - a place of vulnerability in facing the unknown. We feel compelled to figure things out, and figure them out quickly.  Which way do I go, and how do I get there - fast?!

Compulsions to DO

We want to DO something. Granted, if we're in a dangerous situation, we must act to get out of danger. But let's assume that most of us aren't faced with real danger, but a more imagined threat - the great mystery.  This is the unknown of the future, which never tells all, despite our best attempts at getting advice from our friends, family, astrologers, psychics, and financial consultants!

Because we don't know what's ahead, the mind floats possibilities. When we don’t know what to do, we often worry about what could go wrong, that potential danger that lies around the corner. This brings up fear; and sitting with the unknown then becomes pretty unbearable. 

So, we figure, we must come up with a PLAN. A plan gives us security. Then we feel like, yeah, I'm going somewhere. The plan is often based on how to protect us from the potential threats that the fear-based mind came up with. And then we have to DO something about it. This is an attempt to be in control because we can’t stand not-knowing. This isn’t bad – it’s just that if we insist on being in control, we inhibit Spirit from working unpredictable, unprecedented magic in our lives.

It’s a familiar pattern for many of us: instead of following what truly gives us joy, we fall into the trap of trying to control everything, staying safe because we created a fearful scenario in our minds. We haven't learned to sit with the uncomfortableness of not-knowing. We haven't yet learned to BE.

Learning to BE

Perhaps what the universe is calling for, rather than DOING something, is to sit down and BE. When we relax and allow ourselves to Be, something greater than us can come forth. When we're trying so hard to DO and make something – anything – happen, we may be interfering with that process.

Worried that nothing will happen if you stop and just BE? Keep this in mind - the universe is always changing. Nothing ever stays the same for too long. If we give it a chance, by not-doing, the natural, harmonious action can bubble up to the surface. 

Stop, Look, Listen

Remember the old saying that you learned as a child when you were about to cross the street: "Stop, Look, and Listen." There was more wisdom to this catch-phrase than meets the eye. This brings us into the present moment. Stop. Sit down, and be here. Don't just do something - stand there and become fully present.  Look. What do you experience? What do you notice around you? Listen. What do you hear, in your surroundings and in your heart? 

We may find many feelings arise in us - sadness, anger, fear, joy, pain, excitement. Whatever arises, try to be present with it. Until we embrace what's inside of us, it drives us unconsciously. Bring it out into the open and see what's there. Holding it all inside obscures the part of ourselves that intuitively knows what's best, much like the dust and dirt on a window can cloud your vision. 

When we see the accumulated stuff, we begin to wipe the window clean and see outside - and inside - ourselves more clearly. Then, perceiving our truth in this moment, we make better decisions. The natural action, emerging from the Infinite, has the space to arise. Meditation, yoga, being out in nature, taking a bath, sitting in a park and watching the people and creatures all around you are some ways you can bring yourself back into the present. 

Let Go

The truth is, we can't always know what to do, and we can't always be in control. Practice the affirmation, "I let go, knowing that the universe protects me, provides for me, and shows me the way." See what happens when you begin to live your life based more in trust rather than in fear.

Relax. You don't have to know what to do. Something inside you, in your deepest self, already does. Make the choice to step aside, trust, and let go. Then, open to receive your guidance. A new direction can arise by releasing and Being. It might even be fun! Allow the Divine to have the driver's seat, and enjoy the ride. It can take you to where you truly want to go.  

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Rev. Connie L. Habash

Rev. Connie L. Habash, MA, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Yoga & Meditation teacher, Interfaith Minister, and writer, with a counseling practice in Menlo Park, CA.  She integrates body, mind, heart, nature, and spirit, as well as a passion for yoga philosophy, into her groups, workshops, retreats, and sessions online and in person. Read her articles and discover more about her offerings at her website: www.AwakeningSelf.com/ or on Facebook.

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