Backpack Full of Doubt

Today I’m thinking about doubt. Doubt is so interesting to me–this invisible, colorless, odorless, weightless thing that, at times, can be so big, strong, and heavy in our lives. Like a big backpack that we may or may not notice we’re carrying as we journey through our days. That backpack full of doubt can influence what we imagine is possible, whether we view ourselves as capable of tasks assigned to us, or–more importantly–whether we should even bother with the tasks and plans we dream up for ourselves.

Does your doubt have a voice? Does it whisper or shout? Or maybe it drones on monotone like the worst pastor or teacher you ever had, yet somehow that voice–that may or may not know anything that’s actually of value to you–somehow it asserts authority. In this tricky way, an oppressive math equation manifests: doubt = truth.

Hmmm…that’s rough. And when I find things rough and tough in my life, I sometimes remember to pause and ask: What would my most loving Aunties say and do in this moment? How would they want me to feel?

And then I smile. Feel lighter. Because of course my beloved Aunties would never want me to feel, or be, weighed down with the heavy burden of a backpack full of doubt.

“Let it go,” they would say, kindness and care shining in their eyes, the soft skin on their elderly faces crinkling into a gentle smile.

“But…,” I might say, making excuses to defend the logical proof of doubt = truth.

“Here, let us help you,” my Aunties might say, lifting the heavy bag and removing the straps from my arms. “There, that’s better,” they’d wisely observe.

Wow. My mind reels with the new possibilities of the gift my Aunties have given me: doubt ≠ truth.

I stand taller, amazed at the strength and comfort I feel in my body without that heavy backpack of doubt weighing me down. I move my shoulders and arms with ease and joy–remembering this is what freedom and possibility feel like.

“Thank you,” I tell my Aunties, wondering how I can repay them.

They smile again, and their wishes for me are clear: Go. Do. Be.

With my heart full and spirit renewed, I do. I carry their Auntie teachings with me.

If you ever see me on the path of life weighed down with a backpack full of doubt, please remind me to shrug it off.

I’ll do the same for you.

Photo credit: “2018 NST: Backpack mt. Adams” by College Outdoors is licensed underCC BY-NC 2.0

Michelle will be speaking about Indigenous Pedagogies at the UOTeachIN conference on February 22 at 6pm Pacific. Registration is full; overflow can watch this event live streamed on YouTube

Published by Michelle M. Jacob

Owner of Anahuy Mentoring

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