The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
~ Wendell Berry, Collected Poems
This poem has come to me by various routes several times lately, and it certainly does fit my current situation rather well.
I don’t know what to do or which way to go right now. Does this mean that I have come to my real work and my real journey?
My mind is most certainly baffled, and that bafflement is keeping it well employed.
Does the letting go of all the answers I thought I had to admit that I just don’t know mean that I am finally truly open to learning my true path?
I hope he is right. I would truly love for this current confusion to be an indication that I’m moving in the right direction.
However, this hope runs contrary to conventional wisdom that would indicate that I can’t possibly end up where I want or need to be if I don’t have the journey mapped out in advance. How can I possibly do my real work if I don’t know what to do? This makes no logical sense.
And yet, trying to follow the conventional wisdom and do what makes logical sense is what has gotten me where I am. So perhaps a new way of thinking about this would be to my benefit.
Benefit or not, my journey is about to lead me further into a land of complete unknowing. A space where I do not know what to do, which way to go, or even who I am. This sounds very much like a journey through a chrysalis.
I take comfort in his observation that an impeded stream is the one that sings. That is one of my most favorite sounds. May I manage to be an impeded stream and sing through this time of my unknowing so that my journey becomes a blessing to myself and to those around me. That will make this process worth it.