A friend and I have decided to read Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love so that the next time we meet for coffee, we can discuss it (and our mutual experience of feeling scattered at a time in our lives when it seems we should be more “solidly on track to somewhere”). When we were talking about the book yesterday, I was reminded that a high point of my blogging thus far has been a comment by Barbara Sher on a post on my other blog, and when I found it this morning, I realized that the post, from last December, would be a good one to share here.
Cyndi Briggs of The Sophia Project asks this:
“What’s the question you need to be asked?”
Cyndi’s assumption that the questions we need to be asked are unique and rooted in our individual life and experience is an interesting counterpart to Dan Pink’s Two Questions That Can Change Your Life. Maybe the questions we are searching for are not ones that can be asked of everyone. Maybe they are ours alone, perhaps calling to us from our past. As Viktor Frankl wrote in A Man’s Search for Meaning, “[T]he meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”
Cyndi offers this example:
One defining moment happened my senior year in college. I was sitting with my favorite professor in his office, going over a paper I’d written and generally talking about life. Surrounded by stacks of books, journals, and other symbols of brilliant thought, I humbly accepted his comments about my work, scribbling furiously on a pad of paper to record his feedback.
Quite suddenly, Jeffrey asked me this question:
“Why don’t you speak up more in class?”
My head snapped up, adrenaline chilling the muscles in my legs as I realized I’d been utterly caught. My mind raced as I scrambled to find the right answer to the question…. Read More
I’m guessing that many readers can relate to her experience. It’s probably no coincidence that such questions come back to us years or decades later, asking to be answered or reconsidered. Mary Elaine Jacobsen calls these memories “Evolutionary Moments”:
Strangely, an Evolutionary Moment often occurs unnoticed. Only later, if at all, do we recognize its significance. Even though our dreams, expectations, abilities, personalities, histories, and futures all collide in these unusual experiences, it may be a long time before we admit that “it was all meant to be.” Most often we’re so busy with attending to all the details of flying our lives that we can’t take time out to look back. When the moment occurred, we may have had a vague sense that something of importance was happening, but we were too occupied to stop and make sense of it. That’s why once we’ve reached a certain destination point, usually around middle age, we often decide to take out the map and examine both where we’ve been and where we’d like to go next. ~ Mary Elaine Jacobsen, The Gifted Adult (p. 372)
Cyndi’s posts always seem to come at the right time for me, and this one is no different as I consider what to write next, whether to return to school, which of my several patchwork jobs and interests to focus on and turn into a themed quilt of its own… or if I want to keep stitching and adding to the patchwork. In short, where do I want to go next?
What questions from your recent or distant past or today is life asking of you? What questions do you need to ask yourself?