Stepping Into The Unknown

Photo Credit: Christina Gottardi

Something amazing happened yesterday.

Something I’m not at liberty to discuss.

Afterwards, I was drawn to a book.

I knew I was being guided to a message that I needed to see.

I opened the book at a ‘random’ page, waiting to see what message awaited me.

My eyes immediately fell upon the following:

“I’ve had this shop for thirty years. I know good crystal from bad, and everything else there is to know about crystal. I know its dimensions and how it behaves. If we serve tea in crystal, the shop is going to expand. And then I’ll have to change my way of life.”
“Well, isn’t that good?”
“I’m already used to the way things are. Before you came, I was thinking about how much time I had wasted in the same place, while my friends had moved on, and either went bankrupt or did better than they had before. It made me very depressed. Now, I can see that it hasn’t been too bad. The shop is exactly the size I always wanted it to be. I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am.”
The boy didn’t know what to say. The old man continued, “You have been a real blessing to me. Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don’t want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I’m going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.”

Dang, it was like being slapped in the face with a wet fish.

For years, I preferred to remain in my comfort zone.

I didn’t like change, because I was afraid of the unknown.

If you fear the unknown, it sucks the joy out of surprises.

That meant no being whisked away for the weekend, or birthday surprises. I just wouldn’t play ball.

I needed to control what is going to happen and so, the choice was, “Tell me what the surprise is, or don’t bother.” In other words, “No surprises.”

That need for control manifested itself in my management style. The positive aspect of that was I would create and implement control systems to minimise human error and strived to raise professional standards. Unfortunately, it also meant that I would micromanage staff.

I didn’t understand myself, so I expected that everybody could perform their duties according to my standards and could run at my speed.

I only joined the dots between my need for control with a childhood trauma when I had a session of acupuncture to clear the root cause of my lupus (auto-immune) antibodies. My friend, who needed case studies to qualify as an acupuncturist, is intuitive, like myself. As she was asking me questions regarding how I felt about my ex-husband, while inserting needles at various points on my body, something obscured my vision in my left eye.

I asked her to look at it. It was hiding something I didn’t want to, or couldn’t, see. The left side of my body is my non-dominant or yin side (according to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we all have yin — feminine and yang — masculine energies flowing through our body). That provided some context to explore.

She saw a traumatic event aged 8, represented by a metaphor of me happily skipping through a meadow, before the scene suddenly turned black.

It was sexual abuse.

She wasn’t permitted to see the event, nor was I.

I had no recollection of it, but my body knew.

My upper body and legs suddenly shot off the massage table, as my body locked itself in a ‘V’ shape; teeth clenched, grimacing, I stopped breathing. I could hear her repeatedly asking, “Tricia! Are you OK?”

Was I? I had no idea. This had never happened to me before. I’d read about muscle memory, and that the somatic nervous system records absolutely everything that happens to us in life. I’d worked with clients who had a ‘felt sense’ of things that happened when they were in the womb. But in that moment, I was unable to answer as my body had frozen.

It couldn’t have lasted long, and once my body relaxed, as I recovered on the table, she explained that the event was so traumatic I had repressed it.

She’d intuited that she could release the trapped emotional energy from my body, without us knowing the details, and that I had to hand it over to the Divine.

Not knowing.

Being a control ‘freak’.

No surprises.

Suddenly, it made sense. I’d spent years not allowing myself to enjoy life, when good things started to happen, I waited for it to be snatched away. I ‘knew’ it wouldn’t last long.

It was irrational, but it felt like ‘it’ was lurking around the corner. I had so many blood tests for HIV in my 20s that the counsellor sat me down and gave me a powerful image: I was convinced the grim reaper was waiting ahead of me, with his scythe.

I was waiting for death. Too scared to live.

That meadow scene of life being rosy, before the blackness of abuse descended, had become a powerful limiting belief.

The thing about beliefs are that they shape your reality. You start looking for evidence that your beliefs are true, as well as attracting situations that confirm them.

As difficult as it was to accept, my pattern of being in relationships that didn’t serve my highest good started long before my ex-husband entered my life.

If I wanted to change my relationships, I needed to change the underlying belief, to attract a different kind of partner.


This year, I’m practicing surrendering; not negotiating the terms of surrender, as in “I’ll do it next week Wednesday after I’ve done ‘x’,” but relinquishing control to the Divine.

I’m being invited to look at horizons never known, and if I am to accept the blessings, no longer ignoring them, then I need to let go of any remaining fear of the unknown, to embrace the immense possibilities.

So, strengthening my trust and faith in God, I’m truly willing to let go of any remaining need for control.

Oh, and the context to the excerpt I quoted was found on the preceding page:

“You must always know what it is that you want,” the old king had said. The boy knew, and was now working toward it…One afternoon he had seen a man at the top of the hill, complaining that it was impossible to find a decent place to get something to drink after such a climb. The boy, accustomed to recognising omens spoke to the merchant.”

The boy enabled the merchant to see the opportunity.

The merchant agreed to sell tea in crystal glasses and the business expanded. Other shops tried to model their success, but weren’t as busy.

Thanks to positioning — at the top of the hill — men who climbed it found their thirst met by a vision of a shop offering refreshing mint tea in crystal glasses. It was a novel experience for them.

The shop gained a reputation for offering a new twist on an old trade. It grew in popularity, and eventually, people seeking new experiences would climb the hill just to visit the shop. This innovative way of doing business had enabled them to shift from simply meeting customer need to creating a desire in prospects.

That’s what can happen when you step outside of your comfort zone.

When you have the courage to change, not because the pain of staying the same is greater than moving forward, but embracing change through a desire to grow; to explore possibilities, as you bring your dreams to life.

Are you willing to change your mindset to see the opportunities afforded you, and accept the blessings coming your way?

I know what I’ll be doing to get out of my comfort zone this year.

What are you doing to venture beyond yours?

(Excerpts taken from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho)

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