Bewildered: Mystified, awed, uncertain

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment

Cleverness is mere opinion;

Bewilderment is intuition”


Beloved Empath

So much of what we are fed is about certainty, about definiteness, about things being one way or the other, about right and wrong. The marketing and advertising industry sells things as definite, cast in stone. Social media can convince us that ‘this way is up’ and no other way will do. It can also convince us that everyone else has it all figured out – so why don’t you?

We seem to have become convinced that if we present as certain we will be listened to. So, in order to sell ourselves to others, we continue to present as certain – things are this way; what I say is truth; this is definite. We are also sold one-size-fits all ideals and ideas of how to be and do and live. More and more we are told to take charge, to slay! We are still being fed a western dog-eat-dog style world. It’s all about the individual conquering.

Yet, does certainty make us right or truthful? While it may be true that certainty sells, it doesn’t make what is being sold right or correct or the truth, and the problem with selling something as truth when it is not or when it is one aspect of truth or when it is mere opinion, is that we convince more and more people of its rightness.

Recently I came across parents demonstrating how they ‘school’ their children. Two incidents are foremost in my memory.

One was a mother in a battle of wits with her sobbing child who apparently wanted ice-cream. She wanted ice cream at all costs and was in an absolute state insisting that she should have ice cream.

Of course mom was having none of this and was holding her own, all the while keeping the camera on her child (The child’s face was blocked out in the final video, but whose purpose did this serve?). From my point of view the child sounded distraught and I ached for her. It’s not that I thought she should be given the ice cream; no, it was that her mother was teaching her a lesson and showing that off to the world. Baby girl had a camera in her face, how could she be expected to come down from her state? The mother’s message was, “See, this is how you do it”.

But what about baby-girl?

Similarly,  there was a father whose daughter was having an absolute fit about something. Again, with the camera in her face, he told his audience ‘This is how you it. You show them who’s boss’. Child was shrieking, dad was being a badass. And the loyal sheep (subscribers and general watchers of social media) cheered him on.

These incidents reminded me so vividly of an incident with my son. He had just started ‘big’ school. One day when I fetched him, we passed by the shops on the way home and he had an absolute meltdown. I was feeling frazzled and you know, eyes on you and all that. So I scolded my child harshly, telling him to stop crying. Of course he couldn’t stop crying. My wise mum looked on and perhaps she said something about him being tired (or maybe her eyes told me what she was feeling, as they often did). Whatever, something shifted in me and I realised I needed to pick him up. He continued to sob but I realised that he was simply shattered. My boy was exhausted. He was what they call over-stimulated. It turns out he was also seriously hungry as he hadn’t eaten anything at school.

Now, I’m not the world’s greatest mother. I absolutely love being a mom but I’m sure I’ve made countless ‘mistakes’ on my journey with Luke. But there is nothing I will say with absolute certainty to anyone about parenting. Other than of course, don’t abuse your child! Hug your baby! Listen to what they are feeling, not what they are presenting. But see, here I go telling truths again.

So what am I going on about? I’m saying, let us learn to embrace bewilderment. Let us stop telling things as if our way is the way. Like we are infallible. Let us please create a world of people willing to not know; people willing to explore rather than have definite answers;  people willing to think before they put forward aphorisms as truths.

And perhaps we need to first start with the mystery of ourselves. Be willing to uncover the layers of who we are and be willing to be bewildered by that. I hope you’ll join me on my journey of bewilderment.


With love,