Creating in Uncertainty


By Julia Vasko 

Once upon a time, I used to plan every minute of my day. I would wake up with a list of things already prepared, just to avoid that moment upon opening my eyes of, “What now?”

The unknown frightened me, and I did my best to avoid it by controlling every minute possible. If I always had a plan, I never had to face the horrifying feeling of ‘Not knowing’. 

Years later, I can see that even in the days just before Circuit Breaker, I still had external mechanisms I used to seek safety and control. You’d often find me down some rabbit-hole or another, researching various modalities, and ways of being. I’d look for information, for structure, for sense. 

In the outer world, I focused on what was next, where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do. In the inner world, I analyzed what I was feeling, why I was feeling it, and what to do about it. Being in an active state of researching and analyzing, I felt safe. 

‘Figuring it out’ was my comfort zone. 

The uncertainty of this Covid-19 situation has asked us all to re-define our locus of safety and control. It has asked us to completely surrender any dependency on external circumstances to find internal comfort and safety. No longer can I find contentment in where I am going to Be. No longer can I find inner peace from knowing when this all will end. 

It has asked us to rest in the Unknown, and dare I say, to enjoy it. 

Little did I know waiting in line at Art Friend in the days before Circuit Breaker would start, that my fresh new sketch book would teach me lessons I deeply needed to receive to re-negotiate my relationship with uncertainty and control. 

You see, every time I settle into a creative practice, I’m not quite sure what is going to happen. Usually I’m drawn into this space when there is something stirring in my soul that I don’t understand (and my analyzing won’t explain!). A longing, an emotion, a need unmet.

I stare at this blank page – the space on which I hope to find answers – and it is daunting. Where do I begin when I don’t know where to go? When the not knowing is why I am here in the first place? 

The openness stares back at me, taunting me. What if I start and I don’t like it? What if its ugly? What if I don’t receive the clarity I am searching for? What if it ends up….wrong? My perfectionist voice kicks in. 

I slow down my breath and I close my eyes. I choose to Trust. And then I…start. 

Usually I look at the colours spread out before me, and I pick up the one that feels like it’s trying to get my attention. I draw a line, a spiral on the page, sometimes even just a dot. Just so that there is something to work with. 

Making that first step is enough to release me from my fears. Space takes its place – for intuition, for curiosity, for discovery. And the journey follows. 

What started as a line becomes a pattern, the pattern becomes an image. And before I know it, there is a form looking back at me.

Each stroke is an act of surrender to a greater unfolding. We place our trust in our intuition, our inner knowing, to guide us towards the next action. Our mind drops away, along with our need for knowing why

We can begin to enjoy the process. Sitting in a space of allowing, of receiving. Of just feeling. Trusting that the form will emerge. 

It is in these moments journeying in a creative practice, that I am able to build my confidence and trust in creating from the Unknown. To see these moments of infinite possibility as an opportunity to create anything that I want. And to sit amazed at what reveals itself to me. It is often times better than anything my mind could conceive of. 

I reflect upon this “need to know” I have been so attached to. I wonder, what space of mystery, of exploration, have I closed myself off to? What remains unfelt beyond the construct of my thoughts? 

I’ll admit that looking at that blank page in my sketchbook is much easier than looking at the blank page of my Life, or even of my inner world. But what I am learning through my creative practice, is to trust in that first step. To gaze into the unknown with curiosity, with excitement, and to keep asking, “What’s here now?”

I’m learning the value of giving space to Receive knowing in its own time- releasing the need to actively search for it. To trust in the pauses between action, getting comfortable in the Not knowing, and being patient. And to just keep stepping, as each pebble of the path appears. 

It is the true art of creating in certain uncertainty. 

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance…The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.” – Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity