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(from Within My Illusions)



chooses the


lollipop, even when

her favorite, blue

raspberry, is












My daughter surprised me every time she chose a lollipop after a haircut. But maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised by this child of mine whose curiosity tends to outweigh the need for familiarity. My son was a different story when he was that age. He always wanted to know what was in store. Who would be at the birthday party? What would they do and in what order? And what kind of cake would it be? We would check the Evite for the guest list, speculate about the activities based on previous experience, and, if I knew the other parents well enough, I might fish around about the cake.

In a conversation with a friend this week, it occurred to me that the path from discombobulation to combobulation is a movement from confusion to mystery. Can confusion and mystery be two sides of the same coin? Both imply a sense of uncertainty and disorientation. Confused, I might spin myself in dizzying circles, trying to make sense of a problem or circumstance and figure out the next steps forward. Mystery feels more like an invitation to be open and curious in the face of disorientation, to allow solutions, synchronicities, and new pathways to emerge in unexpected ways. A perceptual shift, perhaps, that invites letting go of a familiar way of organizing the world and being open to not knowing.

My curious daughter has always been full of questions, many of which I don't have answers to: Do you think they'll make a sequel to my favorite movie? What will happen if we're late to dance class? When will I see my cousins next? Over time, my standard reply has become, “I don’t know. It’s in the mystery.” She seems perfectly content with this response. I’m learning to be as well.

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