Unknowing

The Unknown…. Yesterday I was sitting here, looking at a blank computer screen. I could have thought of that empty whiteness (as I so often do) as Threatening or Intimidating: What if I say something that everyone thinks is stupid or wrong? Or — horror of horrors! — what if I find I have nothing to say? But the blank screen is, at the same time, an alluring Invitation: A sort of muse offering me a space in which I can experiment, try to find words for the ineffable, discover what wants to come to the surface, explore possibilities. And, for me, it’s actually a fairly safe space. Unlike many authors past & present — May Salman Rushdie soon recover! — I doubt I’ll be jailed or attacked for anything I write on this tiny blog. More than that, I trust that when I do say something stupid or unclear (and of course there are those times!) , my readers will question it & call it to my attention so that I can explore more carefully both my thoughts & my words. It is mine to choose whether I see the blank screen (…or an overgrown lot or an untrained horse or whatever….) as something to Fear or as an opportunity to Learn.

So I pressed that first key and began the adventure….And adventure it has been! I wrote & wrote about Change & the Unknown. But, as someone once said, “How do I know what I mean until I see what I say?” When I read what I’d written, I discovered that my words were showing me some things about the world and about myself that I needed to ponder more deeply…. That post-that-would-have-been is gift from the Unknown that may –who knows? — lead me to new thoughts, new ways of being/becoming.

I’ll keep thinking about Change & moving into the Unknown. I hope you will, too, because stepping into the Unknown is exactly what we’re doing at every moment, whether we notice or not…..

I wish there were a clearly marked path ahead, but as the Spanish poet Antonio Machado reminds us:

"Traveler, your footprints
 Are the path and nothing more;
 Traveler, there is no path,
 The path is made by walking.
 By walking the path is made,
 And when you look back
 You’ll see a road
 Never to be trodden again.
 Traveler, there is no path,
 Only trails across the sea...."

If you’d like to share your comments & thoughts on this topic, please do. I’d be grateful for more perspectives than my own.

Well, in any case, this computer screen is not longer blank & I’ll see what happens. For the next hour or so I’ll step into to another small corner of Unknown:

16 thoughts on “Unknowing

  1. I like the word unknown or the concept of un-knowing rather that not knowing . It feels more like undoing, as if we know and then unknow as if clearing space.

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    • Thank you! I feel the same way. And now you’ve set me to thinking about “not knowing.” (I love how words — or even the same word — can speak with different tones of voice!) I think that our awareness of our “not knowing” is important. If we think we know the answers, we won’t stop to ask the questions that unleash the possibilities of the Unknown. That illusion of “knowing” has often been a hindrance in my process of living & making AND it is definitely a cause of the global quandaries in which we are all immersed. I think it was Plato who said true wisdom lies in our knowing that we know nothing. Is this like the Zen “beginner’s mind”?

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      • Exactly! “Un-knowing” & “Not-knowing” are really 2 different things. “Un-knowing” definitely feels more active, exploratory, interesting. Jude, I love how you show that process in your work & on your blog!

        Does one have to be aware of their “not-knowing” before they can begin to “un-know”??? In any case, I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn) that “un-knowing” and stepping into the Unknown can be scary but that it opens into a place where Curiosity blossoms & Life (painful or not) abounds. Oh, words, words, words…! I’m going to go into my favorite room & try to spin a yarn (wool, in different shades of green).

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  2. So much of the unknown crosses my path .. pretty much on a daily basis. Besides just the learning each new day brings I’m filled with gratitude for all the unknowns that you all bring here helping me continuously grow into what I believe is a better person. Something I’ve always known is that green is my most favorite color .. all that green goodness has me drooling.

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  3. Margery (I love your blog!), you make two points that for me resonate as Truth. First, “ stepping into the Unknown is exactly what we’re doing at every moment”…and second, “It’s mine to choose” what I see. We each live our lives in this condition, though most of us are unaware of it most of the time…come to think of it, “un” vs. “not” aware also applies!

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    • Glad you’re enjoying the blog, Denise! I was VERY hesitant at first, but now I enjoy just flinging thoughts, feelings, words into the wind. It’s better than keeping them locked in a hoard (hence the name, Sharing Trickster’s Hoard)! Thank you for pointing out “unaware” vs. “not aware.” More to consider…. 🙂

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  4. Tonight…and this may not be my thoughts tomorrow…something ‘unknown’ or being ‘unknowing’ feels like such an invitation, sort of without judgement…just unknown, until it becomes more known (maybe not completely known, but more known)…while ‘not known’ feels like one does Not Know…should they? Is there a judgement there? I wonder how they would feel in sentences?
    Actually, I don’t think I am being very eloquent here, nor are my thoughts fully formed enough, but I’m going to be brave and leave this as is and think on it some more.
    I will add that I am so used to writing on a computer now that I write/edit as I go. Back in the late 90’s – early 2000’s , I had to write papers for college in long hand first and then enter them into the computer. Either way, I don’t feel the blank page half as much as I feel the blank cloth, which can be really hard to start!!
    That green is perfection! Green is a heart color for me, so I can’t wait to see more of this one!

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    • “Tonight…and this may not be my thoughts tomorrow…” A perfect beginning! The World & we keep changing so, of course, our thoughts/understandings/etc. do too!
      I am so glad the question of “unknowning” vs. “not knowing” has come up. Love your thoughts on invitation vs. judgement. Even the sound of “not” seems strong, definite, & yes judgemental.

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  5. love reading all this…and love that “someone” said that about how do i know
    what i mean….. it is exactly as it goes for me.
    this all is in keeping with what has just been happening lately….almost
    Every Thing is wanting to be called into question..re seen…re VIEWED….
    so much i have simply accepted as how it is, maybe is not at all. or,
    Is and either way, i love knowing More …..

    your wool…..the nuance of greens……oh, eeeeeeeee……..

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    • I’ve love reading your blog — how you have been focusing so much on the small things, the too often unnoticed wonders which surround us right here, right now. I wonder now Awareness of Here might be affect our feelings about the Unknown….?

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  6. I’ve been enjoying a visit with my daughter and son in law this past week so I have away from here. The GREEN of your wool, well, I would wrap it around me in its present form and dance in delight. I have dance on my mind because my daughter and son in law made a wonderful Turkish dinner for us, complete with music and I bedecked myself with a couple of scarves and did my version of a belly dance around the table at my son in law’s prompting…not a pretty sight but such fun.

    Not knowing compels me to use my research skills, my intellect to find answers. It is a cut and dry exercise that does not engage the whole of me…

    BUT Unknowing, well to me, is a dance, an invitation to step into a whole new experience/situation and feel, touch, taste, sense, see in ways, more fully rounded. It is a way of using all of my senses, to open myself to what comes to the forefront, not familiar or known. As I’ve gotten older this does not mean that I’m taking a leap of faith and jumping off a clip, more and more I find that the unknown can be in the every day, in the new discoveries of the same old, same old, it is just a matter of fresh eyes and a willingness to connect in the every day sacred ordinaries that are never static…

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    • The story of your impromptu dance sets my heart dancing, too!
      Your distinction between Not knowing & Unknowing is a helpful one to me. “Not” is (and sounds like) a blockage — but as you say so clearly, one that can be overcome if we aware of it. And Unknowing — like all Life, like the Cosmos itself — is certainly a Dance. (I picture all the whizzing atoms & subatomic particles, all the molecules, all the forms of Life always in complexly intertwingled motions.) We are all dancing, all in motion, all engaged in endlessly various dance steps — many of them impromptu, including missteps & stumbles & sometimes treading on each other’s toes!
      Maybe the Question is (as in the Hopi prophecy’s vision of the River) whether we are willing to participate in the Dance with awareness — Or whether we fear that the dance is too dangerous or too difficult & stubbornly try to sit in some non-existent chairs lined up against an illusory wall. ….?….

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