The peace of not knowing

Last week I noticed tulips already starting to come up in the neighbor's yard. In the middle of February in Massachusetts!

I'm no gardener, but this seemed awfully early to me.

My first thoughts were predictable ones related to climate change accompanied by feelings of anger, despair and helplessness: This is clearly not right! These tulips have been duped into blooming at the wrong time.

But then I took a breath, and noticed the thoughts shift.

How do you know? I found myself asking my certain, worried self. Life so much bigger than you. What if the tulips know something you don't know? What if, for some reason, this timing is actually perfect?

There was something peaceful for me in not knowing. It gave me the freedom to let go of my certainty that things are terrible just because they happen to feel terrible.

It was different than denial -- pretending that everything's fine and will automatically work out to my liking, while being afraid to look at any conflicting evidence. Rather, it was peace that comes from being aware of all that's going on, and still appreciating how much there is that I don't know.

It was interesting to notice that it didn't leave me feeling deadened or complacent the way denial does. I sometimes hear people worry that if they let go of their fear and anger, they would no longer be motivated to take important actions or work for positive change, but that wasn't my experience at all. Instead, freed up from worry, I felt a lot clearer about what there was for me to do. And it was possible to do it joyfully.

I like imagining that the tulips are living joyfully, too.