August 9, 2015

Living with Questions

Imagine a typical conversation and a question asked. Do you imagine a pause and internal reflection? Probably not. We don't often sit with questions. Because uncertainty is uncomfortable. And answers seem certain. 

I'm trying to live more with questions; to not know. This process is difficult--it goes against my long-held habits. But it also feels alive. When I sit with a question, my mind is exposed: a flood of judgment, doubt, or longing, followed by "the answer." When I make more space, in an honest yet gentle way, I settle down. I find an answer that feels genuine, and might change as I change.

Each night, I reflect on my day. I gauge whether my actions were in-line with my bigger intentions. I see where I make mistakes and how I can start again.  And I often sit with questions. 

This practice is described beautifully by poet Jeanne Lohmann:
"Questions Before Dark"
Day end, and before sleep
when the sky dies down, consider
your altered state: has this day 
changed you? Are the corners 
sharper or rounded off? Did you
live with death? Make decisions
that quieted? Find one clear word
that fit? At the sun's midpoint
did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites
the possible? What did you learn
from things you dropped and picked up
and dropped again? Did you set a straw 
parallel to the river, let the flow
carry you downstream?

Today my corners are more round. I lived a few powerful moments with death. I found no clear word, and that feels okay. I allowed for possibility. I learned bits of patience and self-kindness. I occasionally let things flow (my life is layers and layers of letting go). Tomorrow, who knows?


  1. Joy!
    Thanks so much for your ongoing mindfulness support. It always seems to come at the most perfect time. So wonderful to see you this past weekend!


    1. Angie, your words mean so much to me. Just as I support you, YOU support me. :) Yes, it was wonderful to see you and give you an in-person hug.

  2. Tomorrow who knows. Thank you for your beautiful words Joy. Now I'm back from a long vacation and I have a computer again : ) I struggle with letting to too.

    1. It's good to see you, Agnes! I think we all struggle with letting go, releasing control--it's part of the human condition. And it's a slow but worthwhile process. :)