top of page
  • Writer's picturePatty McDuffey

The Uncertainty of Mindfulness

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a pickle. I was in the midst of planning the coming weeks: housing, transportation, that sort of thing, and as I hit the "pay now" button, a window popped up from my credit card stating that I needed to input the code that had just been texted to my phone number, in order for the reservation to go through. Well, if I had access to that US-based phone number, this wouldn't have been a big deal. But because of the type of cell phone plan I have, I was told it was impossible for me to access that number without paying an additional $35/week. (I'm a budget traveler, so this was not an option.) And it was impossible to sign up for a different cell phone plan until I was back in the States.

I! You must be kidding! With everything else we can do virtually, remotely, invisibly, in and from space, you mean to tell me that there was nothing that could be done over the ether about which cell phone plan I had?! Well, there wasn't. And apparently, the otherwise great travel credit card I had did not have the capability of having these verification codes sent to my email address. Really?! Well, it didn't. So I started to consider how to get around this situation. I would try to book via PayPal...that should work, right?! Well, it didn't.

So then I started to think about all the ways I could be stranded without being able to access my phone number and therefore my credit card/funding. This was the, previously tested, method to put a roof over my head...and it wasn't working. I wanted to feel secure in knowing that I wasn't going to be without the ability to take care of myself. I didn't know anyone in the town I was headed to. The more I thought about it, the more worked up I became. After hours of talking to AT&T and Capital One, thinking through every alternative I could think of, as well as trying to predict any tough spot I could land in and how I would get out of it, I was exhausted. Then a little voice in my head said, "Just put it down and call it a day. Right now, you are fine. That's all that matters." #mindfulnessinaction

There is nothing quite like travel to remind you of the vulnerability of your humanity. And there is nothing like tough scenarios, particularly when you are alone and someplace foreign (not to mention traveling during the COVID era) to remind you to stay present, and try to refrain from unnecessary worry about what could happen (but probably won't). In the last 2+ years, I've moved 4 times, lived in 2+ cities, had 4+ jobs, and well, you get it. I'm sure it's just a different version of your experience since the winter of 2020. I've spent a lot of time crying and worrying (and that all has its time and place!), but it's been the time spent meditating and #stayingpresent, with a #dashoffaith, that has taught me how to find some inner peace, and therefore resiliency. As the trials and tribulations of life have worked out for the best (at least I hope so! Ha!), I'm reminded of all of the times over the last couple of years that have been anxiety-provoking. So as I struggled, a couple of weeks ago, with the primal fears of being able to care for myself, the fear that it was the world against me, it finally took just a few hours (versus days, weeks, months or years), to realize I just needed to stop #juststopandbe. That day, I closed my laptop and went to bed. And the next day, new opportunities presented themselves. And now I know where I will be and where I will rest at night until July 26th (or so I think right now! LOL!) I'll take it ;)

Where in your life have you struggled with sitting with uncertainty? With staying mindful and present in the discomfort of the moment?

I'm definitely not suggesting we push through pain or danger. This post comes from a place of obvious and observable safety, but anxiety around what the future holds.

What I am suggesting is that we study our discomfort and we question where it comes from. Can we bring ourselves back to the moment, to be mindful, and to trust that it is probably not you or I against the world. But perhaps it's the world working for you or me, putting up roadblocks without which may have resulted in real danger.

This all reminds me of Chinese medicine and the theories upon which it is built. One way I have described the medicine to patients over the years is that we can often times catch disharmonies before they are so pronounced, they land on a biomedical lab or image. Once these disharmonies have progressed to the degree where you need surgery or strong drugs to treat, the road to recovery becomes longer and harder. #chinesemedicineforprevention

What if we routinely practice surfing the universal waves? Going with the flow? Dropping our energy into our core so we can feel our own strength and resiliency and decide what to do from there? After we've done what we can, what if we #breathethroughthediscomfort? (Again, if you are not truly safe, this post is not for you. Please seek safety now.) What if we apply the preventative nature of Chinese medicine to the present moment to create space for the possibility of what could be?

If you are depressed, you are living in the past, if you are anxious, you are living in the future, if you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Lao Tzu

Let's try to live in the present, and consider ease and difficulty as the guiding qualities they, at the very least, have the potential to be. When we give up even just a bit of control, shifting to the left, stepping forward, stepping back, inquiring through curiosity, things can often times work out even better than we could have possibly imagined!

Please reach out if you feel inclined. I'd love to hear more about ways that you manage uncertainty and stay present in what is currently happening in your life. Or if you struggle with this concept, let's talk about it. And of course, if you are interested in receiving Chinese medical care via telehealth, please PM me or email me at Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a great 4th of July!

The World is Your Friend. Namaste!

91 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page