I feel like I am not alive. That something is bothering me deep within. It feels like there is something stuck. Almost as if I am consciously restricting myself from expressing my truth. I see it as a bubble, in which I placed myself. I can see the outside world, at times I can touch it and feel a rush of joy, but most of the time I feel captured within my bubble. It’s scary, I can give you that. Especially if you have created such a large goal for yourself, that you have to live up to. It’s not just a goal that involves numbers, like followers or a specific amount of income. It’s a goal for myself for who I want to be towards the world. But that goal is so far away, and so fragile that every opinion or look can shatter it.
The bubble I placed myself in, that makes me feel scared is a bubble to protect myself from uncertainty. For if you step into that goal you have, that vision of yourself and your future, it’s scary. It’s vulnerable to show who you are and want to be. Especially because others can easily shatter that vision with a few simple words. Or at least make a dent in it. That bubble, which restricts me from feeling alive, also protects me from this uncertainty and pain. And when I think about it, I don’t know why I created this bubble. Why I fear the uncertainty so much, and why I don’t feel alive. I can’t come up with an answer. Maybe that’s the answer I need to hear. To not hear anything, which is uncertain. To not have an answer to everything, yet you still move forward.
I felt like sharing this with you. I wanted to talk about this feeling of uncertainty, not knowing where you’re going, or not having answers to all questions. I believe that uncertainty is often pushed away, or denied. The people who you admire don’t seem to have these moments of uncertainty. I want to break that illusion and be honest, vulnerable with you. And help you embrace this feeling of uncertainty too. I think that it can help you feel more alive.
Part One: No Answer
Uncertainty feels the same as asking a question to a friend at a birthday party, and they don’t answer. You feel awkward, uncomfortable. Uncertainty feels the same for me, mixed with a lot of fear. Fear that everything turns out the wrong way. You might try asking a second time, but again no answer. This makes it even more uncomfortable. You decide to stay silent, look around the room, try to cover up that feeling of discomfort. That’s how I felt when I started questioning myself.
I remembered a quote from one of Paulo Coelho’s books The Zahir
“No one should ever ask themselves that: why am I unhappy? The question carries within it the virus that will destroy everything. If we ask that question, it means we want to find out what makes us happy. If what makes us happy is different from what we have now, then we must either change once and for all or stay as we are, feeling even more unhappy.”~ Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
And this is actually why it’s so scary to not know why you aren’t happy or feeling alive. That question you ask yourself, and the silence that follows means that something isn’t alright. That to me is a daunting feeling, one many will face one day. Especially if you find out that everything you wanted wasn’t the real thing you were after.
The real thing you were after was happiness, and the answer to that one question: “what makes me happy?” You might want to find it in things, but this quickly dissolves. You might want to find it in a successful career, but this too quickly dissolves. You might want to find it in a certain way of living, a vision of the future, but that too will dissolve once you arrive. Always leaving you again with that one question. Why ain’t I happy?
I have asked myself this many years, and never did I get an answer. Why? Because happiness, the happiness we are after can’t be captured in a simple answer. It’s not just found in things, money, a career, people, or a vision of the future. That’s why when we ask ourselves why we aren’t feeling alive, why we aren’t happy, there is no answer. And if there is, it is always about obtaining something in the future.
I have reached this point of no answer. Where I ask the question, why ain’t I feeling alive? And there is no answer to it. That scared me and will scare you. For all your life you might have had an answer to that one question. It might be an answer that would be hard to obtain, like a million dollars, or finding the love of your life, but it is never as hard as facing the truth. Which is that there is no one answer to the question, why ain’t I feeling alive?
Part Two: It’s Okay
That’s okay. It’s totally fine to not have an answer to that. I think it’s the answer we need most. To see that there is nothing that will give us everlasting happiness, an ever-lasting feeling of being alive that’s outside of us. The silent moment quickly following your question is the answer you need. That you are okay just the way you are. Your brain isn’t malfunctioning by not giving you an answer, or God hasn’t abandoned you for not answering. They have answered, it’s just an uncertain and confronting answer.
It’s the silence just before a live performance that gets you on the edge of your seat.
Silence. It’s our worst enemy really because silence carries uncertainty. It’s the silence before the storm that makes you fear what’s coming. It’s the silence just before a live performance that gets you on the edge of your seat. It’s the silence before a couple starts to argue that’s feared the most. It’s silence before something that both gets us on the edge, that gets us excited and enthused as well as fearful and scared. And that’s okay. It’s the very same silence that makes the moment the storm hits thrilling and you feel the blood rushing through your veins. It is the first note that’s played that gives you goosebumps. And it is the argument between the couple that will make them love each other more.
But only, only if we are fine with all three. If we are okay with the storm happening. If we are fine with the band playing. If we are okay with an argument with your spouse. It’s that feeling of complete surrender that allows us to transcend and move into something stronger than ever before. That surrender can only come to play if we are at peace with the silence. At peace with the uncertainty. At peace with ourselves. And acknowledge that we, as we are, are okay.
We don’t need to have an answer to every question we ask. We don’t need to feel happy, or alive right away. It’s only when we need to feel happy right away that it’s moved further away from us. It’s only then that the silence before the storm makes you barricade all windows, and gets you hiding underneath a blanket, just to feel safe. It’s okay. It’s okay to feel scared. It’s okay to not know what’s coming. It’s okay to feel uncertain, and unhappy. We don’t need to be anything else than we are right now. And that leads us to the third part.
Part Three: Embrace
It’s now that we can embrace the silence. Give it a warm and loving hug. It is now that we can see that the silence, the uncertainty, the emptiness, and discomfort are part of us too. I’ve always been so focused on getting the solution, finding the answer, finding happiness, and feeling alive, that I never embraced the underlying truth. That happiness and feeling alive can only be felt when we embrace it all. When we embrace that happiness isn’t attached to anything. Therefore there is no answer to that one question we all ask ourselves. Why ain’t I feeling happy?
There is no answer. No one thing that will give you that. When we embrace not knowing. When we embrace our fears and the uncertainty. When we embrace that happiness isn’t attached to anything, or anyone we will see that the silence. The uncertainty is actually where we find happiness. It’s in that empty space that we get a glimpse at ever-lasting happiness. That’s the feeling, the exhilarating feeling of being alive. It’s right on the edge of fear and excitement, right in the middle. Where you step up to the edge and spread your arms wide. Not knowing what to come, not knowing what to expect. You feel the wind blowing through your hair, and all you know is that you. As you are. Who you are. The silence. The fear. The love. The hate. The excitement. The sadness and pain. That all of it is life. That all of it comes and goes as it pleases. That it moves just like the wind. Through your hair, and then it’s gone again.
It is not knowing if you’ll ever make it to the peak that allows you to say “fuck it, I might as well enjoy the view, right?”
I don’t know what is to come. I don’t know the answer to that one question. “What makes me feel alive?” I embrace that. I get excited by it now. As well as scared. I am right on the edge. Of fearing what others have to say about me, as well as knowing that it doesn’t matter. For it is neither their support nor their doubts about my dreams that will give me any certainty or happiness. Both come and go with the wind. Only the silence and the uncertainty will ever be present. And if I don’t embrace that, if we don’t embrace that, our lives will be an ever-lasting struggle and pursuit of happiness. Never getting to the peak of the mountain, but always going back and forth between one camp and the other. Never figuring out that it is the ‘not knowing if you’ll ever make it to the peak’ that allows you to say “fuck it, I might as well enjoy the view, right?”
I know that it’s tough to embrace uncertainty. That it’s scary, but it’s the only road. The only way I feel. I can’t expect anyone, not even myself, to always feel certain about my dreams. I can not expect anyone to always support what I do. I can not expect anything to give me happiness for the rest of my life. It’s the constant ebb and flow between hate and love, fear and excitement, uncertainty and certainty, happiness and sadness, that is life. That’s the feeling of being alive. Right on the edge. Right there. With your arms spread wide. The wind in your hair. Seeing the storm closing in. And you feel the fear, and excitement rushing through your veins. It’s not an addiction, it’s a moment of complete and utter acceptance of life.
Embrace that. And let it pass through you as quickly as it comes. Finding yourself back in the silence again. And find yourself smiling in the face of uncertainty, with nothing but a voice in your mind saying “Today I Lived”.