“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

Gilda Radner


I was meditating the other day and tuned into a recurring message of “It will come”. While it sounds like a title for a good sermon, I recognized that it might have value for anyone. For me, the thought came from an unsettling source of wondering what will happen. The underlying meaning of this thought implies that there was something I was having difficulty tolerating. A gentle reminder to deal with the ambiguity and uncertainty that life presents. Whether it is about what will happen during the family gathering, what vacation will I take next, or even what will happen on the front of political and global events. Uncertainties shadow our existence.

a deserted roadUncertainty is that anxiety that looms. It can be constant without knowing the source or it occurs sporadically. It can come when we least need it. Or, it can present as an excitement for joyous occasion or experience. How do we know when it gets out of hand? One thing is that it doesn’t feel good. And it certainly is uncomfortable. When your heart starts beating rapidly and butterflies dance erratically in your stomach, you know something is not right.

Examples of ambiguity

Addictions present a complexity of all that’s uncertain. There’s something about the development of an addiction that begins a slow process that causes those around to enable and perpetuate the very thing that’s unwanted. It starts slow with intermittent crisis that build with frequency and intensity. It might start with missing items or money, or car accidents, late nights or unexplained whereabouts. Promises are made and not kept. Sleep, work, school, relationship changes may occur. The person refuses to take responsibility for their behavior. Usually, that’s when an enabler steps in. Here comes the merry go round that never ends.

Unsatisfactory relationships or break up

Difficult relationships can waddle in ambiguity. Not knowing the reaction of the other or just wondering if things will ever change for the better. This ambiguity is true whether the relationship is established, yet to be established or if a breakup looms.

Job interview or test

Have you had an experience a time where you have to perform or be in a situation where you are judged?   Whether it’s a job interview, test, or public appearance, it sparks a time to really freak out. Nothing is more nerve wracking. A gentleman came to see me several months ago for test anxiety. He had been studying, however distractions from his family and work prevented him from studying the way he thought he should. He requested clinical hypnosis to help him on the journey to manage his studying and to ward off the negative self talk. When he passed the test, he walked from his ambiguity to clarity.

What to do about it

Ambiguity will always be around. It stimulates thought and creativity. It makes problem solving possible. It motivates making decisions about those past due situations. However, if we stare at it, it hurts and becomes uncomfortable. It’s like watching a fire that when you stand too close wondering if it will burn. It lingers until you stop and look at what is going on in this very moment.

Change the feeling to curiosity

One way to change a feeling is to imagine the outcome you desire. Just by sitting for a moment and seeing the outcome with as much detail as possible and feeling that it is working for you can make a difference in lowering the anxiety and raising positive expectations. After all, it’s the fear of things not working out that keeps us stuck in the fear that the worse will happen.

Be in the now

The only way to escape the depression from the past and the fears of the future is to pay attention to this very moment. As Abraham Maslow says, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” “The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment” is an article that describes mindfulness or how to live in the moment. Mastering this technique adds to the quality of mental and physical health.

Take a risk.

Doing nothing is also a way of making a decision. Do you need to make a change? Decide what action you need to take. List action steps to determine the outcome you would like to achieve. Make a conscious decision that doing something differently to achieve a different outcome.

Experience ambiguity being delicious

How do we savor something that feels so uncomfortable? It really is about being in the moment. We savor in the moment. Use the moment to experience where you are, what’s around you the colors,, the sounds. What is going on right now. Breathe into that experience. Savor what is NOW.

It does take time and patience to overcome the confusion of ambiguity. It can strike at any moment. Pay attention to it. The more you fight it, the bigger it becomes. Accept that it is a part of life and use it to  Minspire you to go for bigger things. If you embrace the ambiguity, and savor how delicious it is, clarity will come.

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