Learning to make friends with uncertainty

Published 24, Jul, 2017
Author // Dennis Battler

Dennis Battler on dealing with the uncertainty that arises when someone we love is threatened.

Learning to make friends with uncertainty

... we had a visit from Pat (no writing group for me today). Shanti was quite normal except for heavy breathing. Tried various food, he did eat some - crazy combination of tuna and plain cookie. Brief walk to Pet Valu where he enthusiastically pleaded staff for treats and won. His breathing is way too laboured. 

Posted pics to FB of his pre-vet visit state and post- vet visit state, with Pat warmly and lovingly spooning him the tuna-cookie treat of the day. 

Spoke with my friend Kari in B.C. - an animal energy pro. Interesting perspectives of Shanti mirroring my own journey of body relationship changes "how to be in this body as life changes ... being allowed to be however is needed." Rather than fulfilling external expectations. In Shanti's case, my expectations of non-aging. Of course that barely scratches the surface.

No surprise a FB article I reposted yesterday captures my (and all of our) journey... included 8 pics of Shanti in my post.

"I find a lot of what I am drawn to in the teaching I do, the experiential work, is to help people make friends with uncertainty, and reframe it as a way of coming alive. Because there are never any guarantees at any point in life. Perhaps it’s more engrained in the American citizen that we feel we ought to know, we ought to be certain, we ought to be in control, we ought to be upbeat, we ought to be smiling, we ought to be sociable. That cultural cast has tremendous power to keep us benumbed and becalmed. So it’s been central to my life and my work to make friends with our despair, to make friends with our pain for the world. And thereby to dignify it and honour it. That is very freeing for people."

Joanna Macy


Shanti and I are very much in uncertainty - and I feel my ground shake. Stoicism won't cut it. The reality is Shanti is my world. Has been for 11 years. Being aware of playing out parental patterns - including ones I've not been a fan of - me as parent, Shanti as child. Feeling I've failed his experience of life as being sweet and blissful adds to the pain. 

His breathing has momentarily normalized, now picking up again.

Finding ground in uncertainty is the point of life. Having lived so much uncertainty, having carved out basic stability and its certainty isn't the ground its all cracked up to be. This abyss potentially looming ahead is familiar. Looking at a gaping abyss triggers past experiences. 

Learning to allow those experiences to be, to "make friends with uncertainty, and reframe it as a way of coming alive. Because there are never any guarantees at any point in life." presents itself yet again. Will I find that ground of reframing as a way of coming alive? 

About the Author

Dennis Battler

Dennis Battler

Dennis lives in Toronto Ontario and has been living with HIV for 3 years “I’ve returned to my love for words. Twenty year’s pursuit of connection with my Realized Self, presented in mysticism and Eastern Practices, informs my writing. My intention? To expand consciousness of both self and the audience.

Life's learning? Life’s zenith rollercoaster is normal. There’s nothing wrong. Surprise. Single with Pets.”