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How to Make Friends With the Unknown

Malti, mere moments after I discovered her hiding under a flowering bush just TWO BLOCKS from our casa! She didn’t go far, but boy did she have an adventure into the “great unknown!”

To be honest, I can’t believe I’m writing a post with this particular title.

This is because I’ve never been friends with the unknown.

To me, the unknown has always been like that so-called “good friend” who never wants to actually get together….or the confidante who happily listens to all my secrets, but never once shares any of their own in return.

But then the other morning, something shifted in my relationship with the unknown. I was meditating, or more accurately, I was contemplating the enigma that is my three-year-old tortoise, Malti.

Malti LOVES the unknown. To her mind, the unknown is the stuff of which great adventure is made. It is probably also chock-full of tasty edibles. The unknown is freedom, exploring, growing, discovering, having FUN.

When she was two, Malti ran away from home. She was gone for six days. While I was sobbing and hyperventilating and dumping heaps of guilt on myself and posting giant “LOST TURTLE” posters all over our neighborhood and whacking the grasses in the giant fields next door to my casa with a long stick searching for her, she was having the time of her life.

I know this because I hired not one, but two animal communicators to help reunite us. They both told me two things: she had headed east, and she was having a great time. One communicator said she was getting a picture of lots of munching (apparently, the foliage was especially fresh and delicious where she was at that particular moment).

But then, after much prompting, Malti finally admitted that she was ready to come home. She told the animal communicator she had lost her sense of geolocation because the grass was much higher than she was and she couldn’t see the sun. Together, we came up with a plan to put our little family back together again, which (thank goodness!) worked.

Whether you believe in animal communication or not, and whether you like, dislike, or feel neutral towards the unknown, I can share that this experience changed my connection with my own mysterious future in profound and irreversible ways.

Malti took nothing with her when she left. She had no plan. She didn’t have food or water. There would be no roof over her head at night. While she was gone it rained torrentially (we later called that rainfall the great Memorial Day flood). Great ponds of water formed in the gullies and along the curbs that were much deeper than she was high.

On the day I finally found her (just hours after rescuing a second shelled being from “the streets,” so to speak – this little one was Bruce, and he ended up joining our flock permanently), she was soaked, tired…and unrepentant. She was glad to be found, she said, but not sorry she left, either.

The other morning as I contemplated her courage, I saw something I’d never seen before in myself.

I realized that when I look ahead towards the unknown through my regular “me eyes,” I see a whole bunch of renegade uncontrollable variables. And I really, really, like to be in control of all the variables in my life.

But then, when I shift my perspective and look ahead towards the unknown through Malti’s eyes, I see something else entirely.

I see adventure. I see excitement. I see delicacies. I see nature and connection and sufficiency and an assurance that, as one character says in one of my all-time favorite films:

It will be all right in the end. And if it is not all right, it is not the end.


And now, I would love to introduce you to my new friend, “the Unknown.”

Today’s Takeaway: What is your relationship with the unknown? Do you welcome it into your life? Do you shoo it away with threats or a big broom? Do you not really care one way or the other? 

P.S. This post is from my free monthly ezine, “Good News for Recovery + Life.” Read the full edition HERE.

How to Make Friends With the Unknown

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). How to Make Friends With the Unknown. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Dec 2019
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