you don't need to decide right away


I've been feeling a kind of unsettled, uncertain energy for the past couple weeks. Have you been feeling this also? It's tumultuous, emotional, a swirling current of thought and feeling that's sweeping my body along without my behest.

Like the equinox as a mark between seasons, we're in a transitional period. The ending of winter, the breath of life into spring. I'd like to think that this is an easy, fast transition, but it isn't always.

The calendar might say it's spring, but here there's still snow on the ground. I want to urge my own growth forward right now, to accelerate the unfurling of tiny green tendrils of life and abundance.

But I'm finding that it's just not time yet. Despite my own urgency and my discomfort, making a decision and progressing just doesn't feel right.

I need to sit tight and look inward, to be quiet and examine my heart's contents with intention and care.

We're in this liminal place, this in-between.

Post-death, post-winter. Pre-life, pre-spring.

I'm finding that my intuition, when quietly listened to, keeps pointing very deliberately to what the decision should be.

But I'm also finding myself fighting it with all my might, questioning if there is another way, another answer.

Take your time

Here's the thing: I don't need to know what I'll choose just yet and I don't need to act just yet either.

Action is good and necessary, but sometimes inaction and stillness are what you need in order to suss out your true feelings. Allow yourself the gift of time, the grace of not knowing.

You can sit with the possible repercussions of a decision as long as you want and need before acting (at least, until you start to find yourself truly procrastinating out of fear).

There is no need to move right away from not knowing, to knowing and acting.

Even if it prolongs an inevitable change, right now is a time for gathering information, for soul reconnaissance and gut-checking.

What do you do when you're in this place of uncertainty?

The impulse often is to cut and run. To shed the layers of yourself, decisively and with reckless abandon. Uncertainty is deeply uncomfortable, so sometimes we make a decision without fully heeding our gut just so we can get it over with.

But you don't have to immediately jump from point A to point B. Allow yourself the breathing room to mull things over.

Transition does not always look or play out how you think it might. Temper your expectations and allow your situation to unfold before you.

Eventually, you may not come to full certainty, but you will at least reach a tipping point in your heart and mind, a point when it no longer feels right to rest in the in-between and unknowing.

That is when it will be the right time to choose what serves you best.

Just don't rush the process, because the middle space is what allows you to take the time to feel as if you are doing what truly serves your best interest.

Right now, I'm resisting this impulse to decide for the sake of it.

I've been counteracting my trigger-happy desire to upend the contents of my life and shake everything out because still some small voice within tells me it is okay to wait.

Sometimes we stay too long in a situation that doesn't serve us because of fear. Likewise, sometimes we leave a situation prematurely because of fear.

Taking the time helps you get to the bottom of whether you're compulsively cutting ties or lingering too long with that panic at the center.

Taking the time shows you the way that will best progress your life forward, while lessening urgency based on fear instead of action based on purpose.

What to do while you wait

Be present. Dig in.

Yes, not knowing and not acting is its own particular brand of suckage, but it's wholly necessary.

The restlessness might feel unending but that feeling will eventually dissipate. Give yourself credit that you will act according to your best wishes if you make space for that to happen.

Physical and mental availability is far too underrated.

Show up for the people you love so they can love you back. It's likely that you spend a significant amount of your time building up your people, cheering them on and lifting them up.

Now is the time for you to get the reciprocal attention you need. Let the people you love know that you need them and make yourself available to being supported. This is important, because they won't necessarily know what you need unless you tell them.

Let yourself know that you need to be supported and be available to your own tenderness and self-kindness.

Clear as many superfluous distractions from your life as possible.

This may feel briefly counterintuitive. Get rid of more distractions so you have to be even more aware of how uncomfortable this feels? Yes.

It's tempting to distract yourself. To numb out, shut off. But allowing yourself to be open to possibility keeps all outcomes on the table until you're finally ready to choose one.

I'm not saying don't let yourself drown in a bowl of mac and cheese if that's what you need. Or watch a few too many Netflix episodes if a break is in order.

This kind of waiting, searching soul work is hard and so you might find yourself exhausted in this midst of this phase and in need of a recharge (or several).

Be kind to yourself and compassionate if you need extra indulgence and comfort. But also be mindful about what helps you truly feel restored and what's adding unnecessary stress and noise.

Go outside and allow yourself to feel the chill of the too-cold, not-yet-spring air on your face and limbs. Drink cup after cup of milky tea. Do one, single thing at a time. Close your computer when you're mindlessly, restlessly surfing.

I'm being very deliberate about being present right now.

I removed most apps (including email) from my phone, all notifications except urgent work requests. This small change alone has made me more cognizant of my own feeling and how my interactions affect my environment.

My mind and emotions may be floating aimlessly right now, but that doesn't mean I have to exacerbate my unease by constantly distracting myself.

A few days ago, we packed up the truck, the tent and the dog for a long weekend in the desert. Phone off the whole time (except to listen to some music and aHarry Potter audiobook on the drive), no electronics. Just my thoughts, books, wanderings and real, distraction-free conversation.

It's not like deleting some apps and spending a few days in heat and wind and sand will cure me of my agitated state. But it certainly doesn't hurt and it definitely helps more than not.

If your mind is cluttered by indecision, make space for restoration and change to take shape. Tend the soul's soil so life's unfolding has a nurturing, healthy place to plant itself.

Your wait will be over in due time and you will be able to step into the sunlight of renewal and confident certainty soon.

Soon, but not yet. Patience now and your time will come.


Iris Rankin

Soulful questioner, exuberant organizer, here to find the balance between discipline and delicious relaxation. Iris Rankin is the founder of Project Intention, a values-based community focused on living day-to-day with purpose, planning, and heart. Iris encourages women to adopt the self care practices that make them feel divine, the planning tools to hone in on their essential wants and needs, and the emotional resilience to express their most authentic selves.

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