Living the humility of not knowing

I wrote a post in September 2012 entitled, “Adventuring into Entrepreneurship”. This was just prior to my setting off on a journey to Europe’s former Eastern Bloc. It was in Bratislava that I spoke with fellow trip delegates about my own adventure into entrepreneurship. It’s been eighteen months since I started The Creative Voice and the one thing that continues to ring true for me is the humility of not knowing.

Making the decision to let go is necessarily solitary.

Making the decision to let go is necessarily solitary.

I’ve spent hours speaking with other people who are on their own journeys – of business, self-discovery, quests to further a cause – and each tells me the same thing; if you don’t try, you might as well be flatlining.

Phi Lee and Sibyl are two women who are far from flatlining. They are now in Argentina and hope to start and/or join a sustainable organic living community. They were inspired by a sojourn to a sustainable living centre in the province of Misiones where Phi Lee had worked previously. The people at Mama Roja make no bones about it – theirs is an experiment in self-reliant homesteading and simple living. Unfazed by the experimental and “things could go completely pear-shaped” nature of their plan, Phi Lee and Sibyl packed their two 40-litre backpacks, cleared out their apartment in Tiong Bahru and kissed and hugged their friends au revoir.

Phi Lee and I chatted for a bit the day before she left. We were sat at her kitchen table and she was preparing little bottles of essential oil blends that she would leave for friends. I asked her what she was hoping to achieve in Argentina. She said she wasn’t entirely sure. She and Sibyl had done their research and would spend some time again at Mama Roja’s if they could. But the big plan was to meet with a man they’d known for a while and talk about establishing a ranch similar to Mama Roja’s just north of Buenos Aires. There was a plot of land waiting to be used.

Girlishly, I asked if she was all packed. She took me to her bedroom, presented their two backpacks and said, “Yes!” Seeing Phi Lee’s packed bags made me gasp. “Where are your clothes and toiletries?!” I quietly screeched. Phi Lee pulled out a small bag, which looked like a poncho in a pouch, “There; my clothes.” Her toiletries consisted of a tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush and one travel-sized bottle of Dr Bronner’s pure soap – for hands, face, body and hair.

Having known Phi Lee for about a year, I had to instantly recall all that I knew about her to calm my incredulity. She used an ancient Nokia and not a smart phone; she carved spoons out of wood; she had one fan in the entire flat; she wore no make-up; and she made the best vegetarian pies.

Even if she wasn’t very sure about whether Argentina would happen for her or not, I was. Phi Lee lives with her handbrake down.

John Irving, my literary hero, wrote in The World According to Garp, “Jenny Fields felt undone; the way only someone who’s been careful not to make mistakes could.”

Living the humility of not knowing demands that we do our research, plan our routes and even lose sleep worrying about how things will turn out. But it dictates that a decision must be made to then let it all go for the universe to do its work.