We don’t know what we’re doing – and that’s ok.
This is a picture of me, in the early days of my love affair with football. ‘The beautiful game’. It could also be so cruel. I remember standing next to my dad at Maine Road football stadium in Manchester, as thousands of men sang to the referee over and over again: ‘you don’t know what you’re doing…you don’t know what you’re doing‘. I have no idea how I experienced this at the time, but I think part of me thought it was the funniest thing in the world, and another part of me felt the excruciating shame of that referee.
The song stuck with me, to the extent that towards the end of my meditation this morning the song reverberated again around my mind: ‘you don’t know what you’re doing.’ This time it wasn’t about a referee. It was about me.
Imagine, for a moment, a baying crowd of thousands of drunk and aggressive men surrounding you, jabbing their fingers and screaming ‘you don’t know what you’re doing.’ You don’t need to have been a referee to know this feeling. We have all had experiences growing up where we were mocked, judged, laughed at, bullied. And as we grow into our adulthood, we have all had experiences where we really struggle with something – work, relationships, parenting, life. When we do find ourselves struggling, these early shame memories can coalesce in our minds like a gang of disembodied bullies lying in our unconscious waiting to pounce.
I often have the feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing – as a father, as a therapist, as a charity CEO. And when this feeling comes up, I often notice a contraction in my chest – a bodily prism refracting all those moments I have been judged, criticised, or bullied for not knowing what I’m doing.
But this morning in my meditation, I transformed this chant into a full-hearted celebration. I owned it. I imagine standing in front of a crowd of thousands of drunken, angry people jabbing their fingers, and there I was dancing a little jig and singing out loud with absolute joy and freedom: I DONT KNOW WHAT I’M DOING! I DONT KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!
It is really ok to not know what you are doing. The practice of owning this is called humility. And humility is a lost art we need to rediscover. The part of us that feels it needs to know and control every aspect of our selves and our lives really gets us into trouble. The part that feels it needs to know and control, this is our inner controller. Beneath it is a scared child that once got bullied, shamed, or judged for not knowing what it was doing. Give that child some love, and join me in celebrating all the areas on our lives and in this world where we really do not know what we are doing.
This super duper powerful meditation will help you to gently let go of that anxious part of you that feels it needs to know and control everything. Some of my more recent subscribers may have received this meditation already, but this version I am sharing is a new one with healing sounds created by my friend Giovanni Bonelli aka Notte Infinita. Please check it out!