In Times of Uncertainty and Doubt

Carol A. Hand

There are times when the path ahead feels so uncertain. I find it fascinating that just a few days ago, I wrote about a time when I walked down a dark path even though I felt terror. I kept my eyes ahead and just kept walking toward my goal even though I wanted to run or give up. It’s not the first time I’ve felt that in my life. Today, I realize that it wasn’t the last.

1280px-Sky_over_Washington_Monument

Photo: Sky (Wikipedia)

I awoke this morning thinking about the path I’m on now – writing. Last night I fell asleep wondering if everything I’ve written so far is absolute boring nonsense. Should I go back and fix it? Should I just keep going – my original plan – and continue walking through the uncertainty and self-doubt? Should I begin again even though it would mean falling behind the schedule I set for myself? Or should I just give up and accept defeat without trying?

It’s early still, thanks to the end of “daylight savings time,” a social convention that makes half of my year feel unnatural. I promise myself to keep going, at least for a little while. If I give up too soon, I will always wonder. What could have been? An old song begins to play in my mind.

“When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

“Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone”

(Mahalia Jackson singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from the musical Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein)

I remember another time as I walked on a new path, leaving a safe but conventional, ordinary life behind. I set off with my one-and a-half-year old daughter in her stoller, a bag with her clothes and her food, and only twenty dollars in my pocket. We were hitchhiking along highways and country roads to a commune far away.

Still more than a hundred miles from our destination, we were hiking down a deserted stretch of road. I was pushing my daughter in her stroller with my eyes ahead. And suddenly I saw them in my peripheral vision, stretching out on both sides as far as I could see. We were flanked by the ancestors. I could feel their comforting, powerfully protective presence.

Moments later, a car with two young women drove up and asked me if we wanted a ride. They helped fold the stroller and store the bags in the backseat with me and my daughter. “Where are you going,” they asked. “We’re going to Warwick, Massachusetts,” I replied. “We’re going to the commune there.” “Oh, how exciting! We’ve always wanted to go there. We’ll take you the rest of the way.”

Living on a commune wasn’t the easiest thing my daughter and I have done during our lives. Yet the lessons we learned were sometimes extraordinary. So today, I’ll walk onward despite the fog and self-doubt.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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22 Responses to In Times of Uncertainty and Doubt

  1. desilef says:

    Yes, keep going. It helps you organize your thoughts and editing is easier than writing. Once you have a draft, you have something to work with — or even throw out and start over because the writing of it was a way of creating a road map and once you have the map, you can walk any byway and you know which dead ends to avoid (unless the scenery is worth the detour).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” carried me through many dark days.

    Regarding your writing project, I would recommend that you keep on writing to get the story out. When you’re done, you can go back and revise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comments, advice, and encouragement, Rosaliene. That’s what I’ve decided to do for today – just keep writing. I also have created a list of things that I want to check or add to what I’ve already written. But for now, each day’s work is a separate document and will remain as it is until I’m ready to go back and read it from start to finish…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Debra says:

    Definitely not boring!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. sojourner says:

    You wrote,

    “Last night I fell asleep wondering if everything I’ve written so far is absolute boring nonsense. Should I go back and fix it? Should I just keep going – my original plan – and continue walking through the uncertainty and self-doubt? Should I begin again even though it would mean falling behind the schedule I set for myself? Or should I just give up and accept defeat without trying?”

    This is something I am very familiar with, and it has been a familiar theme among the other creative people I have known as well. When I start composing or arranging music, I always go through this. ALWAYS! The self doubt, the “who am I to think I can do this,” is always present, waiting to stand in the way of allowing me to use my gift, weak or strong as it may be.

    There have been times when I have finally thrown a piece of music out and started over, many times, but not until I was certain I was throwing it out because the music was not working, and not because the old and ever present self doubt was lying to me again. I have let music sit for months, when I was uncertain. And then I have come back to it to see if it was still worth pursuing. This is why I do not like deadlines. Imagination should never be saddled to a schedule, in my opinion.

    I believe this is what all creative people go through, whether they are willing to admit it or not. And you are a creative person!

    So I would suggest that you keep going, and if your artistic voice says, “This is not working, Carol,” then stop and choose another topic, or move on to something else. But before you do this, make sure it is your creative voice speaking and not the voice of your self doubt, which as you know, we all have to deal with.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. hsampson says:

    Wow Carol, beautiful song, this is the fist time I listen to it and I loved it! thank you very much for sharing it!!
    About that typical self-doubt I believe we all have been there very often. We are very auto critical. But You know what? This might not help a lot but you have NO idea how much I admire your work. Everything I read in your blog is amazing, deep and so well written! After I read your blog is then that self-doubt strikes me. So I understand you very well right now.
    Please keep writing as you do, do not change a comma and you will see the end result will be wonderful. please, please, pretty please!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your are so very kind, Hector. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • hsampson says:

        Actually I am serious Carol. You are an excellent writer and yes sometimes I doubt to write something after reading your blog. But Please carry on with your book, I can feel and I know it will be something great!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Again, thank you. There’s no reason for you to doubt your gifts as a writer, Hector. You’re far better than I am at communicating ideas that actually help people. Each of us has something to offer that is unique, and I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from a gifted teacher like you. In terms of the book I’m working on, I’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. I can say that today was an easier writing day, but I suspect that the next few days will be challenging. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • hsampson says:

          Now it is me who say thank you! for your kind words Carol.
          Challenging is great! that’s when good things come out from our hearts!!
          I wish you the best with this new creation!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. vellissima says:

    Thanks for your good work. I’ve nominated you for a Blogger Recognition Award.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. themofman says:

    Our greatest enemies are ourselves. We can allow so much to interfere with our goals — sensible and necessary goals, that is. Keep up the good fight. I believe in you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. cicorm says:

    My honest thoughts: You have a great gift for words, and a wealth of experiences, Carol! Have scheduled since last week to nominate you for the blogger recognition award coming Sat actually!

    When faced with doubts, while some think that it is brave to persevere and ignore your doubts, I am probably in the minority to think it is brave and more useful to face rational doubts head on, particularly if I have an option to investigate calmly and thoroughly. Rational doubt is viewed as a good warning sign, and it is mostly better to objectively do due diligence sooner than to take take stock later. To keep vision clear for problems on the road, especially if investment gets even larger. Ask the Right questions, look at the big picture. Avoid excessive expectations.

    But this method is only if we have measured confidence in personal faculties of rationality and balanced emotion. For myself, it is to learn and act accordance the objective truth, and to refrain from acting rashly and in a drastic manner. I try to keep my options open where meaningful (in the improbable case of error), especially if consequences are large / irreversible.

    Most importantly, let’s not worry nor regret excessively. The negative excess emotion does not improve things, when we are giving our best or when we have done what we can.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing important insights, Cicorm. It seems you have thought a great deal about how to deal with doubts and have discovered approaches that work for you. What I love about life and blogging is the incredible diversity of cultures and approaches to life.
      Although rationality has played an important role in my life, I suspect each time I begin something new, I will have to deal with self-doubt as I’ve done in the past. I’ll work through the fog – not out of habit but because it’s worked for me more than 50% of the time – and I’ve always learned something new in the process.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. cicorm says:

    Thanks for sharing, Carol. Yes, my life and work is one where irrational doubt and untrue perspectives come with at very high cost, so there is a need to removed these with humility and necessary kindness, and be as objective and accurate as possible.

    But of course, there are times when it is not possible to know precisely, so an educated guess, moving on and taking things as they come can be the best alternative. Thanks again, and have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s impossible not to respond to Mahalia Jackson! Wonderful to hear her again.
    She sings with every pound of herself! Carol Hand, I see that you have many good friends and Followers. My own blog is rather a lonesome one compared to yours, and I more or less forget to post for months at times, but then come back gratefully to this rather remarkable WordPress stage. Thanks for visiting my blog. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comments, Martha. I’m so grateful to Peter for sharing your beautiful poem about the first frost. Your blog is a wise and wonderful place, and I look forward to visiting it again, soon. Best wishes to you.

      Like

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