Beautiful questions

A new friend of mine wrote a wonderful blog entry about asking beautiful questions. As a researcher and Professor of Sociology, questions are critically important in her field. The beautiful ones, she broke it down for us, will always lead to more questions.

“That is the beauty of such a question, it doesn’t stop. A beautiful question asks everyone who comes into contact with it to respond. Not everyone will respond of course, that’s free will. Beautiful questions don’t rest, but rather are generative. These are the questions that create more than they stay still. Beautiful questions inspire discussion, debate, engagement, inquiry and reflection.

“Beautiful questions are also really HARD.”

Tonight, about a week after being introduced to the concept of beautiful questions, another friend asked a group of us one of the most beautiful questions I’ve ever heard.

Silhouette of a person standing with ther arms behind their head

©: iStockphoto / simonmcconico / confused




What would your life be like if you said to yourself:

“I am enough.
“I do enough.
“I have enough.” ?

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Fighting the Good Fight – Letting Go of Your Ego

One of the things that I love about rock climbing, is that I can hold all other things constant and fight the good fight.  There are a number of “good fights” in life, but I’m learning that the primary one is the struggle between my True Self and my Ego.  When I’m on the wall – indoors or out, it’s just me trying to interact with an inanimate puzzle.  I can forget about everything else in my life and practice working through my fears, my perceptions, my emotions.  If you win that fight, you set yourself up with a personal power, a resilience, a method of renewing your enthusiasm to help you in any other endeavor you choose. Continue reading

Can we redesign our approach to mental health?

One of my guilty pleasures is to grab a cup of coffee on the weekend and read over the transcript of advice columnist Carolyn Hax’s Friday live chat. Why guilty? Because when you get your head wrapped around your own axle, it’s sometimes good to be reminded that everyone has their own set of issues. And Carolyn gives such practical, non-nonsense advice, that I almost always learn or reinforce some “get over your own ego” lesson that I needed to hear.

There are times, though, when the problems people face are sobering. Repeatedly, you read stories of people actively resisting therapy or counseling as an option. Just last Friday in Carolyn’s chat, one person wrote in about her chronically unhappy friend. Carolyn recommended encouraging the friend to get screened for depression:

“For understandable reasons, going from zero to therapy is actually more difficult than getting screened, in part because therapy often involves a burdensome search for someone who offers the type of therapy you need; is a good fit as far as location, hours and chemistry; and who is affordable and/or accepts any insurance, much less your plan. Plus there’s the obstacle that I find totally crazy-making, the perception of therapy as an admission of weakness, nuttiness or defeat, none of which is true.” [emphasis added] Continue reading

It takes a community

It was 2003 and I was working at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. I was a brand new officer with my eye on the ball. I made one of my first cold calls as a political officer to an office in the Ghanaian government. I dialed. A secretary answered the phone. “Hello,” I said, nervous, rushing my speech almost without breathing, “My name is Kerry and I’m calling from the American Embassy. May I speak with Mr. Mensah?”

Haste Not in Life

Haste Not in Life

“Good afternooooon,”the secretary sang in her wonderful West African lilt. Then an expectant silence.

I tried again. “Good afternoon, my name is Kerry and I’m calling from the American Embassy, may I speak with Mr. Menshah?”

“Good afternooooon,” the secretary sang out, “How are you?”

Deep breath. Finally, I remembered. I wasn’t in Washington anymore. Continue reading