“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
― Thomas Jefferson
I recently completed a four-week long commitment to resetting my body and eating habits in order to jumpstart a healthier, fuller lifestyle. I have to admit, that as a self-proclaimed cheese eater and non-worker-outer, it was a challenging four weeks for me. There were times when I hated the path I was on. There were times when I was grateful for it. At the end of it, did I learn anything extraordinarily new about living a healthier lifestyle? Surprise!!! It REALLY is just about diet and exercise. Making healthy choices. Being intentional. No big shock, right? That doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn something though. While my four-week challenge may not have taught me some magical secret to losing weight, feeling better, and having more energy – I did learn a whole lot about what it really takes to pivot, to shift perspective, choose possibility, and to come out feeling more alive than ever.
Maybe, it’s just a normal part of my human ego, but I’m amazed whenever I come to a new crossroad and realize how much of this world and myself I don’t know. I think it’s a part of the human experience to hit these little plateaus where we can believe that we have “mastered it” for a second – only to turn a corner and find yet another alien world that we didn’t know existed.
I’ve experienced this feeling a lot over the last two years between moving, changing jobs, meeting new people, visiting new places, watching new documentaries (see here), adding new family members, our current political culture. This sort of “Wow! I had no idea!”
Every time this happens, I feel grateful. Grateful to learn something new, to hear a new perspective, to have my world and my conscious shift just a little bit. And what I’m left with, the one thing I’m CERTAIN of, is that there is WAY more stuff I don’t know, than stuff I do. Kinda takes the wind right out of my arrogant sails huh?
So, what does that mean?
On one scale – who am I to question someone’s account of their own human experience? There are no absolutes in being human. There are only variables. And just because I’ve never seen it or felt it or touched it or smelled it or gone through it….doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. (Insert digression here about racism, sexism, politics blah blah blah.)
On another scale, it means, simply, I don’t know what I don’t know. I can’t feel what I’ve never felt. I don’t have the ability to see what I’ve never seen.
But I WANT to see.
Isn’t that the foundation of faith? Taking conscious steps through the darkness because you believe that there is light on the other side?
Pivoting isn’t easy. It doesn’t always feel good. Shifting perspective is uncomfortable and hard and sometimes requires us to try things or go places we never imagined we’d go. Yes, change, pivoting, shifting, crossing, awakening, transforming – however you want to describe it, can be painful. With newness, also comes letting go of beliefs I may have once had, which can feel like my foundation is crumbling beneath my feet. And that can be excruciating. But, most of the time, if I have an opportunity to learn or experience something new, I’ll almost always take it – knowing I may have to walk through the fire a bit. I’d rather cross that divide and be disappointed than never cross at all and wonder.
But does it always make sense for us to go? Or would it be better sometimes to stay where we are? For us, the question is always about possibility versus certainty. Does the possibility of what we could learn/experience outweigh the certainty of what we do know if we stay put?
Almost always, for us, the answer is yes. Because, as I learned from my four-week challenge and Thomas Jefferson:
“If I want something I’ve never had, I have to do things I’ve never done.”
(Thank you to Laura Suedbeck of The Cook and the Coach for sharing this quote with us.)
And we want to know more, experience more, understand and see and feel more. We want to live in the space of “why?”
So, here we go. Preparing to cross another chasm. Choosing to pivot. Choosing the path of the seekers, the path of possibility, because it makes us feel more alive, more whole, more human. Feeling ready and open and terrified at the same time.