“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
– Zora Neale Hurston
Speaking of Beautiful Questions, New Year’s Day has to be one of my favorite “beautiful question” kind-of-days. The start of a new year brings the opportunity for a fresh start, a time to regroup, set our intentions for the upcoming year. Since I’m also a procrastinator by nature, I’ll note that it’s perfectly ok to also leverage Chinese New Year, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other milestone to do this. But New Year’s Day is a freebie. The world has slowed down, so why not seize the moment for yourself to do the same? Continue reading →
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.
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 →
This Thanksgiving, I believe we should not only give thanks, but we should recognize that sometimes it’s damned hard to give thanks. Some of us may be unemployed. People are occupying squares around the world to vent anything but their gratitude. Some of our loved ones may be deployed in a war zone. We ourselves, or our loved ones may be hurting with illness that may or may not go away. Maybe nothing’s really wrong, but we’re just stubbornly holding onto that thing that’s not going the way we want. Yes, I know that today is not supposed to be the day where we count the number of ways that the we are or our world is broken. But what if that’s all you can do?
Sometimes, you just need to sneak up on it.
Well, if gratitude eludes you, you sneak up on it, of course.
The first head-fake into gratitude is to try the opposite. If gratitude eludes you, try longing. Continue reading →
Sometimes, someone comes at us with something we can’t really understand. There’s a word or concept that’s new to our vernacular. There are a number of possible responses. Maybe we cast a furrowed, skeptical brow in their direction. Maybe we nod, as if we want to seem knowledgeable, when we really have no idea. Maybe we take it on board, like tapping our feet to the rhythm of a song to which we don’t know how to dance. Maybe we even recite it back, like poetry whose meaning escapes us, but we like the sound of the words. Perhaps we discount or ignore it, even if it perks our interest just a bit. We’re busy, so what’s your point?
One day, four of us were hiking to a climbing spot when I heard a rumble. “Was that a motorcycle of in the distance“, I asked my partner, “or was that what I think it was?” The thunder rumbled again. Now might be a good time to note that I am petrified of being outside during a thunderstorm. Our other two friends caught up with us. We discussed whether to make the last bit to the top of the mountain, or start heading down. ”Start heading down! Start heading down!” my neuroses cried out. The two guys wanted to finish the short distance to the top. With a slightly louder rumble and a widening of the whites of my eyes, my friend Z said that she would go down with me. One should never go alone, she said.
Thank god. Soon, the heavens opened up. A sprinkle turned into a torrential downpour, and the thunder rumbled with increasing frequency. I started to run-walk. “Slow down,” Z urged. “Don’t panic. You’re going to fall and break an ankle, and then where would you be?” Continue reading →
So far, I’ve blogged a fair bit about my passion for climbing and what it’s taught me. However, one of my first real head-fake lessons came from Bikram yoga. Bikram is a series of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises done in a 105 degree heated room. Yeah, that’s hot. (No, not that kind of hot – if you think about doing yoga to catch the eye of that cutie, Continue reading →