Walking Into the Unknown

Yikes!  I want to be in control! As much as we all want to be in charge of most everything in our lives, we are not.  This includes trying to control what is in our future.  For me, things rarely turn out exactly as originally envisioned.   Most of the time this is good; it’s just not exactly as planned.  Only on rare occasions does it not turn out to be, not so great

It seems, change with an unknown future is quite stressful for most all of us.

Dictionary.com defines Unknown, when used as an adjective, as

  1. not known; not within the range of one’s knowledge, experience, or understanding; strange; unfamiliar.
  2. not discovered, explored, identified, or ascertained:

Our current political environment seems to really magnify the stressor of the Unknown.  No matter how you voted in recent elections, there is a huge uncertainty of what is going to happen next.   No, this is not going to be a take on our crazy political spectrum, but on thoughts of dealing with this stress.  It has been said that people give talks and write about lessons they need to learn for themselves.  For me, this is one of them.

I have found it is helpful to look back at life.  This includes some of the pilgrimages and hikes undertaken with my wife Morgan. Prior to being dragged into walking the 500 mile Camino in Spain, I was convinced being gone for 60 days would create huge problems.  Number one, my business would suffer and second, the financial impact of not earning a living for a long period of time.   A vivid memory is from riding on the train from Madrid to start this journey into the unknown.  It was really odd not having a return ticket.    My thinking at the time was “What about our lives? What in the *%# are we doing?  Can we really walk 500 miles?  We are going into the abyss of the unknown!  This may not be a good move.

As it turned out this was one of the best things we have ever undertaken.  It changed everything; in ways, we could have never imagined.  My business did not suffer.  Events happened in unexpected ways and the financial impacts were minimal.  It took a long time to learn that sometimes life just works out (with a special tip of the hat to the man upstairs).

Another example was preparing to climb to the highest point of 1,797ft on the West Highland Way in Scotland.  Unfortunately, Morgan had a back issue this day, so I would be climbing up and over this leg solo.  This segment included a steep ascent of 850 feet up the ridge aptly named Devils Staircase.  I must admit, at first it was a bit unnerving to tackle this climb alone.  As I started this day, wild thoughts about the unknown dominated my thinking.  What if I fall? or what if I can’t make it?  How will I get back?     As it turned out, while the climb was fairly steep and strenuous, it was doable.  The scenery was spectacular and you could see for miles.  It was a great day to be alive.   My earlier thoughts were totally unfounded.

So, after looking back, I am convinced everything is going to be OK.  We are a great nation with lots and lots of very good people.  You just got to believe.  It will all work out.  Remember the Serenity Prayer, God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

So, I urge you to grab a friend, or family member, or go solo.  Get outside and take a walk.  Turn off the political talking heads.  Talk or think about; all the times you worried about bad things that were going to happen; and then it all worked out.  I tried this and it worked for me.  Try it, it may just work for you.   Are you in?

Gregg Patterson


© Copyright 01/2017


Over the Mountain and through the woods.  At the end of the 100 Mile West Highland Way in Scotland.  Fears of the unknown ahead turned into a walk through paradise.

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