We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.
What makes asking the questions and working on their answers such a courageous act is its potential to shatter our status quo. Yet, it is precisely by plumbing our depths that we move towards greater self-compassion, self-knowledge, and self-actualization.
Abandoning the idea that there is one, right answer is also crucial, as many paths may lead you to the same place. Different answers are just better suited to different ages and stages. By consciously detaching from seeking the one, perfect answer, you can let the ebb and flow of changing thoughts, feelings, situations, and sensibilities encourage greater openness and flexibility in your journey.
Naturally, your responses to these questions will shift and morph with time. Thinking about your answers grounds you through increased awareness of thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Bolstered with self-knowledge, you are more likely to make better choices.
As you look at the following list, it is helpful to have an almost playful attitude. They may be serious questions, but you can approach them in a more light hearted way. Be open to devoting a minute, a day, or a week to each. Alternatively, you can intuitively pick the one that speaks to you now and allow your mind to freely meander around it. As you do, you might find it useful to write down what comes up. It may be a thought, bodily sensation, memory, or feeling; all are worth exploring. Another illuminating option is to come back to the same question later and answer it again, without first looking at your previous responses. This can be especially enlightening and surprising if you have waited months between writing, as it shows you, in your own words, how you have grown.
If you are part of a self-help group you may want to choose a question and allow everyone to share their responses within the safety of a deep listening paradigm, where each person speaks without interruptions or comments from others.
Think of the questions as catalysts to greater self-knowledge. Choose a way to work with them that speaks to you. Running through the list like a locomotive may capture immediate uncensored reactions, while savoring each one separately gives you time to mine it for all its potential. Feel free to add any other questions that occur to you.
1.What makes my spirits soar?
2. What makes me feel safe?
3. What reliably improves my mood?
4. How do I show myself compassion?
5. How do I nurture myself?
6. What, or who, helps me unburden myself?
7. With whom do I share my deepest thoughts and feelings?
8. What parts of my shadow am I projecting on to others? (You might want to read the Demons chapter for more on this Jungian concept.)
9. What do I do every day to replenish my spirit?
10. How do I support myself: emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, intellectually, socially?
11. How often am I truly living in the moment?
12. What are my hot buttons, and how do I allow other people to press them?
13. How do I want to approach the challenges in my life?
14. What am I practicing? This could be a formal practice like yoga or meditation, or an informal one, like taking a daily walk.
15. What am I unconsciously practicing, my automatic behaviors and knee-jerk reactions?
16. Assuming I get to choose my thoughts, what would I like to think about myself, work, family, home, body, friendships, nature, and spirit?
17. What can I do to increase my financial stability? (You may want to check the book: “Your Money or Your life” by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez and Monique Telford.)
18. With whom do I spend my time? Is it gratifying?
19. Am I comfortable with solitude?
20. How do I relax?
21. Whose company nourishes my spirit?
22. What makes me laugh?
23. Am I paying attention to everything that is going well in my life and taking time to feel grateful?
24. How often do I consciously choose thoughts that help me feel positive, balanced, or peaceful?
25. How can I anchor myself in this moment?
26. Am I creating the life I want?
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang