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The joy of not knowing

17 July 2011

“There’s great power in not knowing, some might say the greatest. It doesn’t mean ignorance, or tuning out, or losing your self-awareness. It simply means finding joy, not anxiety, in life’s inconsistencies and mysteries and WTF-ness.”–Lidia Yuknavitch

I don’t remember where I came across this quote. It was from a blog–I had probably been reading a friend’s blog, and clicked a link to one of her friend’s blogs, and so on, and somewhere down the line this quote appeared and I wrote it down.

I love what Lidia Yuknavitch says about not knowing being a powerful thing. I usually think it’s bad when I don’t know something. It makes me feel less powerful, less helpful, and less aware. But she’s right, not knowing can also be a gift. Say, for example, I’m sitting on the grass under a tree. On the bark right above my head is a giant spider. I don’t see the spider, so I stay where I am for an hour and enjoy myself. The spider doesn’t move, so it being there never affects me. If I had seen the spider, I would have either flicked it away, disturbing the spider, or decided not to stay sitting under that tree, cutting my enjoyment short. Either way, it would have interrupted my time and my headspace, only because I had known the spider was there and worried that it might crawl on me or cause me discomfort. But it never did!

That’s a tactile example, but there are so many others–not knowing what people think about you, not knowing about events, not knowing what is going to happen tomorrow or next week… I often get very anxious about what I don’t know. I think it has to do with feeling out of control of a situation. If I don’t know all the details, I can’t know what is going to happen next or how to prepare for it.

I am going to put this quote on my bathroom mirror so I can remember every day that it is great to not know things!

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