Episode 103 On Reckonings and Beautiful Questions

August 28, 2023

Good morning from New York City. In the Friday episode, I was talking about putting myself on airplane mode. While we often think of airplane mode as shutting other people out, for me it was about intentionally coming back into myself. Choosing to stay with myself, I become the observer of my thoughts and notice the cadence of my energy throughout the day.

I want to talk about this word that I love reckoning which is therein related.  I looked up the definition of reckoning and one of the things it says is that it is an action or process of calculating or estimating something. I think of reckoning as something that most often happens around a major life event, when we have a breakup, a divorce, when we lose a job, or become ill, It’s those moments when we’re at a crossroads. We know we have to dig deep, perhaps put on our big girl pants and get back in the driver’s seat to redirect our lives. But I don’t think reckonings only happen when we have our back against the wall, though that’s usually a catalyst for it.

In my life right now, I feel like it is a moment of reckoning and I think that is what is making me feel a little bit uncomfortable. I feel like that’s why I felt this desire to go into airplane mode. I thought it might be helpful to share the first thing I did when I went into airplane mode. I got out a piece of blank paper and I started generating as many questions as I could. I didn’t overthink it. I simply started writing down everything that came to my mind. At the end, I generated about 20 questions.

While this is a very personal practice, I’ll share with you a couple of the things that I wrote down before I close, but the point I want to first make is that asking questions activates our subconscious. I’m not a neuroscientist and I don’t know how to say this, but I do know that we are hardwired to start looking for answers. So, I think of question asking as not only tied to our subconscious, but it’s also tied to the conversational nature of the universe. It shifts our focus. It opens our mind.

One of the people I’m dying to talk to and share with you is my friend, Stephen Morris. He’s done a lot of work with the poet philosopher David Whyte, and they talk about beautiful questions. I don’t know how to articulate it except for to say that beautiful questions open the door to wonder. They are invitational in nature. I know David White talks about following your own questions.

Here’s something that David White says about beautiful questions. He says this:  asking beautiful questions in unbeautiful moments is one of the great disciplines of a human life.  The beautiful question starts to shape your identity, as much by asking it as it does by having it answered. You just have to keep asking. Before you know it, you will find yourself actually shaping a different life, meeting different people, finding conversations that are leading you in those directions that you wouldn’t  even have seen before.

So to bring this full circle, I’ll share with you a couple of the questions I wrote. Now bear in mind that my questions are coming from a place of feeling that I’m in a moment of reckoning in my life, and I consciously choose not to operate from a place of fear. I want to live a life of curiosity. I want to cultivate my sense of positive expectation. So the questions I formulated were with that in mind. I’m sharing mostly because I think this is a beautiful practice and I get questions from listeners like talk to me about journaling, how do you journal?  So, I want to anticipate the questions about what I mean by generating questions.

As I said, I probably wrote 20 or 30 questions. Then, I went back and circled several of them. These are ones I circled. What comforts me and helps me come back to myself? What can I look to in my past as evidence to reinforce my resourcefulness and self-trust? What values and character traits do I want to lean in to right now? And one of my favorites is something my father used to always ask me. What is the worst thing that can happen?

I find that to be one of the most important and powerful questions that I ask myself on a regular basis. I think that’s an important question because fear is something that can loom large that we don’t actually take the time to look at. And oftentimes when you think through that question, what’s the worst thing that can happen to me? – when you examine your fears, it can be extremely empowering. So thank you, dad.

The last question I’ll share, which is one that I really love, is what can I do to cultivate my curiosity? Curiosity is certainly one of my highest values. It’s something I took away from Liz Gilbert’s book, ‘Big Magic’. When I read it, it was like, wow.  I was thunderstruck, and I immediately adopted it into my thinking I choose to live a life of curiosity. The other side of that coin is I choose not to live a fear-based life.

I do feel like this is a moment of reckoning and step one for me was to generate this list of questions to communicate with the universe and to trigger my subconscious to be open to possibility.

So there you have it. I’ll leave you with that today. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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