A Guide To The Unknown

When I was in the 6th grade I memorized a poem by Rudyard Kipling called “If.” It’s been one of those inexplicable occurrences in life that decades later I can still remember every word and have often quoted it throughout my adult life. In case you’re unfamiliar with it here are the first few lines:

  “If you can keep you head when all about you,
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
    But make allowance for their doubting too,…”

May I suggest you take just a few seconds and read those opening lines again because they hold the secret for how to get through the uncertainty and apparent difficulties we are now experiencing personally, nationally and globally.

By now most of us have begun to realize that all of the “experts” don’t really know what’s going on either and, therefore, are unable to “fix” any of it. In fact, it seems the more they try the more enmeshed we find ourselves in, what feels like, quicksand…or at least flypaper.  The confident steed called “Change”  that so many Americans rode into the White House on has begun to look more like a newborn foal, stumbling around the grazing field on obviously shaky legs. 

Which is why Kipling’s “If” is prophetic and helpful.

Almost everywhere you turn, systems that have been in place for decades, centuries or even longer are no longer helpful in creating the ends they were designed to meet. And I’m talking systems that cross all disciplines: economic, political, even spiritual.  This systemic breaking down, or ineffectiveness, is generating a lot of fear. Individuals feel powerless to do anything about the magnitude of the apparent chaos.

So what is it that we can do as individuals? 

Go back and read Kipling again. Really. Read it for the third time. Go on, Just humor me.

The reason I want you to read it three times is to imprint it in your mind. It’s really brilliant.  It’s a road map for traversing this rocky road we find ourselves on because what you can do… what you must do… what you are designed to do..is start small and trust your inner guidance.

What exactly does this mean?

Forget the big picture. Yes. Forget it. Stop focusing on the economy, the country’s problems, the world’s problems. Start focusing on what is closest to home, immediate in your life, and tend to those people and issues based upon what your inner guidance tells you …whether or not it’s what you’ve always been taught is the way to handle life.  When it’s so obvious that no one seems to have the answers for how to travel this uncharted path, why would you listen to or follow anyone by giving them more credibility or more authority than you’d give to yourself and your own perceptions?

    “If you can keep your head when all about you,
     Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”

During all of the current uncertainty and coming confusion stay grounded, inner-directed and heart-centered. There will be endless efforts to put the “blame” on various groups and individuals for all that appears to go awry and sometimes that target may even be you. Those are the times when it will be most important to “‘keep your head” and follow those three principles I just set down: staying grounded, inner directed and heart-centered.

    “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
     But make allowance for their doubting too,…”

Maintaining trust in your own capacity to make choices and create a life that is consistent with who you are and what you believe in will also be key. There will likely be more people than you care to think about who will want to tell you that your “way” is clearly wrong and theirs is right.  Allow for the possibility that theirs may be right for them while at the same time holding on with confidence in the decisions you make for yourself based upon your experiences and inner guidance.

We are entering an evolutionary phase wherein each individual will come to realize she or he has the capacity and inner-knowledge to not only handle life’s dilemmas but also to blaze new and exciting pathways in creating a truly unique existence. 

I love this story. A man named Henry dies and goes before God and God asks him how he lived his life. Henry replies ‘Well, I wasn’t as hospitable as Abraham and I wasn’t as brave as Moses and I wasn’t as loving as Jesus. Whereupon God replies: ‘I already had an Abraham, a Moses and a Jesus. Were you the best Henry you could have been?”

Every age of humankind’s development passes through some unique territory. We are passing through the Age of Personal Creation and Personal Responsibility. Creator has encoded each of us with the guidance and energy necessary to live lives that are bounded only by the limitations of our individual imaginations and capacity to love. That encoding has laid dormant for thousands of years but is now being activated.

With courage and the understanding that we are all personally responsible for both what we create as well as how we manage and respond to it, we can move into these times of apparent unrest and uncertainty with the exhilaration of explorers and adventurers embarking upon the only journey worth taking.

For a complete reading of Kipling’s poem, “If”, click here.


Did you like this? Share it:

Comments are closed.