I had the pleasure of hearing Allison Carmen on a recent episode of the Meditate This! podcast, and it threw me for a bit of a loop. She addresses the concept of “maybe.” For her, it used to be the danger of maybe, and she transformed it into the power of maybe. You can screw things up by just waiting for this or that to happen. So why not embrace the maybe?
I fully admit that I have a tendency to future-trip. To worry about the what-ifs and the I-hope-thats. So this concept of embracing the “maybes” of life kind of scared me. But as she explained, we all struggle with the unexpected, so why not embrace the idea of “maybe something cool will come from this” instead of getting stuck in the panic of “uh oh, what now?” If we embrace maybe, we can stay open to all possibilities. There’s more than one way that things can work out. So in that moment when we want to shut down because things aren’t going the way we thought they would, focus on the maybe. The uncertainty then becomes our best friend. We can find hope in maybe.
Now to clarify, this isn’t saying that you should keep a stranglehold on hope when things clearly aren’t going to work out. When a relationship is at its end or you lose your job, you’re going to feel sad, you’re going to feel angry. But at some point, it’s going to shift. And without the maybe it’s hard to get to that shift. Maybe there’s something else I can be experiencing in this moment. Maybe there’s someone/something out there that’s better for me.
Most of us are in the mindset of the “maybe not.” We expect the bad, we live in uncertainty without defaulting to hope and possibility. But we actually have the ability to manifest the good, the ability to create. Maybe allows us to end the suffering: we’re saying, “I don’t know how this day is going to unfold, but I can stay in the maybe. Maybe things will go in a wonderful new direction I haven’t even thought of yet.”
We have a need for certainty. And because of this, fear takes over. Will this person like me? Will my boss like the work I’ve done? Will I actually reach my goals? But Carmen says that we can turn this on its head and use maybe to find hope and possibility: Maybe the next person will like me. Maybe my boss will like my next idea. Maybe this goal isn’t right for me & I need to create another. Shed the fear of the unknown, because the unknown is actually your friend. There is no end to the possibilities of maybe. No matter what’s happening, life will change & maybe we’ll find our way. It’s an adventure.
Maybe my thoughts are not true. Maybe I can just accept this crappy situation and things will be better tomorrow. I can’t be certain because things are always changing. Carmen suggests that we write down our maybe statements, and we’ll feel lighter. Even if, say, you don’t have a job, embracing the maybe makes you realize life can change in an instant and in that change there’s hope and possibility. Life has maybe.
Your relationship with uncertainty causes most of your emotional suffering, so until you address this relationship, you continue to suffer. We’re all addicted to certainty at some level, but maybe can give us hope. We struggle with this “need to know” constantly. But with maybe, you can let go. It’s soothing to know we’re not doomed. Maybe reminds us that when we’re in pain, things WILL shift. It helps us be more mindful, be more present in our lives. Maybe is a bridge from belief to faith; things WILL be okay. It takes us from a really fearful place to a place of faith that everything will work out just as it should.
So I’ll probably check out “The Book of Maybe.” Maybe I’ll use “maybe” as a mantra. Maybe, maybe, maybe.