Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from - where you yourself came from, and where you will go.
— Rebecca Solnit
Perspective changes everything. On one hand, the unknown brings fear — a lacking. A nagging feeling of wrong, an off-kilter sensation. A trepid land filled with obstacles and difficulties you can’t yet fathom, with no guarantee that you can overcome. On the other hand, almost every opportunity that’s worth risking lies on the far side of the known. Of the comfortable. Of the easy.
Your perspective on the unknown can define so much about how you live, love, and grow.
They call them growing “pains” for a reason. You do not grow without being challenged. Without stretching or being stretched. And in order to stretch you have to reach, often beyond where you believe you are capable. Most often deep into the chamber of the unknown.
Darkness defines the road into this chamber — at least at the outset. It screams at you to “stay away”, “stay comfortable”, “this ain’t worth it”. The only way to reveal the path ahead is through the cutting light of attention. Of focus, work, and dedication. A dedication not only to keep moving, but to show up, step up, and put your best foot forward every inch of the way.
Many times groping your way through the chamber can feel disconcerting — a random walk. Even the most purposeful traveler can get caught in a maze, retracing their steps, following fruitless paths, and reaching the edges of defeat. The temptation to run for the exit, back to the broad daylight, the “known” can be strong.
What you find if you continue your trek through the chamber is that periodically you will come upon a series of switches — ones labeled “now known”. Flip one, and suddenly you find the path behind you shining clear and bright as day, casting a welcoming glow on the way back while doing little to illuminate the track ahead.
Should you choose to take the path back — with your newfound awareness of the chamber — you find a curious thing. In fact, “curious” may not be a strong enough word, perhaps a better one would be “marvelous”.
This marvelous understanding, an understanding you could have scarce had should you not have chosen to enter the chamber of the unknown is this:
What you once thought was broad daylight outside the chamber — the light that made you comfortable — is nothing more than the illumination from “now known” switches flipped by travelers before you. Those who had traversed a similar path for as long as time itself, each taking a slightly different route through the chamber, but each illuminating the road in their wake. It took their collective efforts to bring the path to your crossroads. To your decision. Of whether to dive deeper into the chamber, leaving still more light for the travelers behind. Or whether to stay in the known, living your life on well-worn paths paved by motion.
I don’t know about you, but I would choose light. After all, if we all eventually end up in darkness, why not dive in now while you’re still able to push - in your own way - the limits of the known.
Till next time,