Tag Archives: asking questions

the beauty of candour

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 11.21.31 AM (click on image to go to video)

Yesterday (heh, who am I kidding… constantly, lately) I spent a good amount of time online reading content and watching vids. (To be fair, I am also creating content, too.) I absolutely love that there is so much accessible literally at our fingertips. And I get to do it with no pants on (#nopantsdance). Oh! How’s that for candour (or perhaps TMI)?

The video of Liz, above, speaks to me as a creative person, but she also has a way of demystifying celebrity to me. Jennifer Lawrence does much the same thing. They are real people, not fictitious characters in books or movies, and they lead real lives (mostly, on an essential level, just like yours and mine).

I think the cult of celebrity started with the term “TMI” – the pressures of offending no one – as a person in the public eye – creates a sort of bland homogeny that has people wanting to mine a little deeper to see what you really are about. (Well, and then there is Lindsey or Britney or Paris, who clearly we’ve already seen more of than we’ve ever wanted, but who show very little substance despite that, and we are still washing our eyes… but I digress.)

Perhaps Jennifer and Liz (similarly to me) suffer from a lack of proper boundary recognition, or a touch of Tourette’s (just kidding), but it is refreshing to see people articulately express themselves in a way that allows us to identify with their humanity yet still understand that we are separate and possibly different in many diverse ways.

On another note, I was having a discussion online with some folks about the art of conversation. The thread, of course, led to formulating a set of rules around how to engage in the process of exchanging ideas. The list is pithy, but: no interruptions; active listening; debating issues rather than attacking the speakers.

Personally, I didn’t take a public speaking class in school (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t offered, but even if it was, I would never have signed up for it – I was too shy). Debating is an art form and many of us don’t learn how to do it on our own (and learn as we go along through lots of trial and error). Some people debate not to gain better understanding of another’s viewpoint but to push through their own agenda. I have little patience for such conversationalists, because essentially they are not listening to what you are saying anyway – they are merely trying to shift your perspective to theirs (with a steamroller).

Communication is what all of our relationships hinge on. Articulating our thoughts clearly and really hearing another’s opens up the dialog to a greater insight into each other (and self, too!). It brings about a sort of compassionate understanding – a paradigm shift. Many years ago I attended a HeartMath workshop at my workplace in which a method called Freeze-Frame was taught.

The ability to shift our perspective from our own to another’s is invaluable to diffusing the intense emotions that arise when we are only viewing the world from our single perspective. Empathy arises. Compassion grows. And that’s a good place to start from when seeking viable solutions.

What Questions Do You Ask?

This morning I awoke to my usual hundred-something emails, which, of course, ninty percent of are junk. I do get good ones too, though, and I found the Digest version of posts from one of the Yahoo groups that I am a member of, Belle Papier. One of the members, Judy Carlson, writes:

I received a post from my dear friend who is battling lung cancer, and doing very well, to my eternal joy. I would like to share part of it with you.

Human life is a quest. We are on a journey the end of which is not in sight. Searching, longing, questioning is in our restless genes. The practice of philosophy is a way of life that results from falling in love with questions—-the great mythic questions that can never be given definitive answers. Who we are and what we will become is determined by the questions that animate us, and by those we refuse to ask.

The difference between Einstein and Hitler depends on the questions they asked. What you ask is who you are. What you find depends on what you search for……. Imagine the different type and quality of life you would have if the main question you asked when you got up each morning was each of the following: Where can I get my next fix of heroin? How do I serve God? What will the neighbors think? What happened during the big bang when the world was created? Who will love me? How do I get power? How can we destroy our enemy? How can we end violence? Where will I spend eternity? How can I make enough money? Who are my friends? How can I be comfortable? Is my cancer curable? How can I become famous? How do we heal the earth? Where can I get food for my children?

What is your quest? Your question?

* What is the purpose of my life?
* What ought I do?
* For what may I hope?
* Whom do I love? Why?
* What curtails my freedom?
* How can I escape from the constricting social, political, sexual, and economic myths that were imposed on me by my family and culture?
* To what cause, idea, faith, may I surrender without destroying the integrity of my self?
* What does it mean to experience the sacred?
* How can I live a spirited life in a world dominated by a secular-technological-economic vision of reality?
* What is my credo? My philosophy of life?

Such thought-provoking questions… things that I wonder about, on and off, all of the time… and also wonder, likewise, how others’ questions differ, and why? Why is it that I wonder about ‘the purpose of my life’ while others wonder about very different things, if they wonder at all?