Say Yes to the Unknown

“You are special.” It starts from hissing like a snake.

“You are special.” It hums louder.

“You are special.” It starts drumming in my heart.

As I stood before the dome-shaped rock in Yosemite, a voice echoed within me, each time growing in intensity. But I reject it. Being special might look cool, but it means that traditional and collective wisdom doesn’t apply. You constantly feel lost and feel the need to make your path because the trodden ones don’t make sense.

Yet, under the towering rock, I felt stunned and struck. The world is so huge, but I’m often occupied by the small daily activities and interactions.

Yosemite half dome

To live is to see and to venture into uncharted territories, so I can be surprised by unexpected encounters, like the deer that guided my path on the trail I hiked.

Beneath the sheet of the cloudy sky, I can feel my purpose (使命), unquestionably.

On this camping trip, I wrote “Life encompasses a lot of experience. I tap into the presence and lose the sense of control. I keep an open mind, with full acceptance of whatever baggage I’m carrying. I allow the process to unfold, and let the change guide my way.”

When I read back today, I was scared by that moment in my mind. How could I possibly be comfortable losing control?

Will taking such risks leave me directionless, unstructured, and lacking stability while others around me find their footing, marry, and start families? It is already happening when lots of my old friends live stably in Taiwan, while my future — where I’ll live, what I’ll do in three years — remains unknown. However, as I wrote out that experimental faith, I felt an unstoppable force within me.

Fear still grips me, but I don’t know why, a surge of curiosity flows into me, replacing the fear of uncertainty. I want to live my life every day to see what life will look like. How would I color the blank canvas? I’m drawn to the unknown, ready to surrender to life’s infinite possibilities and to humbly embrace and appreciate the complexity and beauty the world offers.

I realize, that to really live, I need to trust my own madness. My purpose, my passion, my curiosity, my intuition. They often fight with my evolutionary self, because they have no idea where they are heading toward. My evolutionary self seeks stability, safety, and control. Thus, I was constantly in a swing, sometimes the best organizer on earth, and sometimes, made crazy thoughts and choices that freaked out myself and the people around me. However, my instinct cannot guide me if I constantly swing between retreat and advance. To thrive, I need to let go of myself, trust my own gut, and sing my own song.

Give peace a chance

Let the fear you have fall away

I’ve got my eye on you

I’ve got my eye on you

Say yes to Heaven

Say yes to me

Say yes to Heaven

Say yes to me — Lana Del Rey

Say yes the my crazy new ideas.

Say yes to my desire to explore the world.

Say yes to my intuition to try things I don’t even feel comfortable to think of.

Say yes to my imagination, allowing me to dream the future I want to see.

Say yes to the unknown. Say yes to me.

To nurture the yes, I need to say no to anxiety and certainty. Say no to people who are fearful, who want to be in control even though it feels more comfortable, and say no to the narrative that society perpetrates, like all the same successful stories on Linkedin. I say yes to openness, exploration, and experimentation. I have to listen carefully to my heart, and do more activities that open myself when exposed to the unknown (like camping and solo traveling). Surround myself with people who are comfortable facing the unknown.

A card from a friend who also said yes to the unknown

When I arrived home, I wrote an email to the most promising job that I wanted to use as a competing offer or backup. I initially wanted to play it safe, but I felt the need to forego this safe route and eliminate it from my options.

Am I going crazy?

I have no idea why I did this. But if I don’t want to be swayed, I have to be assertive in following my own path; only then can I muster the courage to march into the unknown.

So I can meet that majestic deer, and embrace the vastness of the world.