The Space

comfortable with uncertainty

May 19, 2024

(The pictures above are a sample from a trip to Hampshire over the weekend. We visited Winchester Cathedral and stayed at The Grange. It was a real delight!)

Yesterday I took part in a feldenkrais session as part of a retreat I attended. Briefly feldenkrais is a 'somatic education uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want.' It was an opportunity to connect more deeply with my spine and nature. 

As I entered the venue I noticed a book with the title 'comfortable with uncertainty.' It got my full attention temporarily but that was not the reason why we were there and I had to divert my attention to the purpose of the next two hours - which in one way was exploring uncertainty. At the end of the session I looked more deeply at the book and it was mesmerising. The idea that 

''Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening bodhichitta (the Buddhist term for 'enlightenment-mind') are called warriors - warriors of non aggression who hear the cries of the world, and are dedicated to uncovering the basic, distorted energy of the enlightenment-mind.'

A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It is also what makes us afraid.

Wherever we are, we can train the warrior. The tools are meditation, cultivating the four limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. 

In loneliness as well as in kindness, we can uncover the soft spot of basic goodness." 

Slightly amended extract from Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron 


Many of the leaders I work with are living with uncertainty on a daily basis - I think it is part and parcel of being a leader. The question is not when you will do it, but how you learn to do it and how  you adjust and develop the ability to get comfortable with uncertainty. 

Last week several times I noticed, and I said to a range of people, that the space of not knowing is the space of leadership. A few ideas to help get comfortable with uncertainty are:

Know uncertainty exists - I acknowledge it rather than ignore it. Research by Kristin Neff shows that self acceptance is one of the key's to happiness. Acceptance is about meeting life where it is and moving forward from there. 

Pay attention to what you knowThe opposite of uncertainty is not certainty; it’s presence. Recognising the things you can be certain about helps to ground you. If paying attention to uncertainty is not helpful, then using that energy and paying attention to what is certain helps manage the mind, emotions, energy, etc. and over time it will enable you to feel grounded, even in uncertainty. 

I find that if you are able to do these two things it is a really good start in helping to relax in the space of being uncertain. 

Recently I have been practicing a form of breathing that is new to me - 3 seconds in and 6 seconds out. That 7 minute breathing exercise helps to calm the physical nervous system and is another way to get comfortable with uncertainty. 

As you go into the week, maybe consider places, times, meetings, people where you might be uncertain and explore ways of how you might get comfortable with uncertainty. 

Have a great week. 

All my best,



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