Before the unexpected day when a simple question from a career coach rocked my world, I’d been doing everything possible to avoid asking myself what I really wanted. Questions felt uncomfortable because they reminded me of all the unknowns in my life. I was ashamed that I didn’t have even basic answers for what should come next. This one question lingered for several days, then weeks, and wouldn’t release its hold on my thoughts.
A small spark had been kindled—an insistent whisper pointing out the course for my future. I came to know with utter certainty that I’d found my answer, my greater Truth.
I embraced the notion of living within the questions, allowing answers to surface in their own time. I wanted to share my journey with other people who might be struggling or in need of a well-timed question. So I took a small step of action right away (securing this site), in order to make my dream a reality before inspiration could fade.
How long have you avoided asking the tough questions? The ones you know grow more insistent every time you push them down…the ones that scare you just a little bit (or quite a lot)? Feeling fear, nervous anticipation, or self-doubt happens to all of us. We don’t have to let those feelings control our options, though. I’m going to walk you through the process of how to use these weekly blog posts to start working towards the life you deserve.
We can all get bogged down by commitments and general busyness, leaving little time for checking in with ourselves about our deeper desires. I created the following acronym to remind me how to slow down and look inward for life’s answers. Use it with each blog post, to break free of stagnant or unexamined choices.
Ask the question
Sit in silence
First and foremost, you have to get still and reflect on how things currently are, before you start moving in a new direction. So commit to making the time. It only takes 15 minutes a week, and a little prep work. Look for a few moments when you can be alone, with no disturbances and no distractions. Maybe that means early in the morning or late a night, but it could also be a quiet lunch break outdoors or a couple minutes in your car before the start of your day.
Get comfortable. While sitting or lying down, notice the connection between yourself and your environment—the surface that is supporting you, any background noise, or other sensations you might have missed. Take a deep breath, and set your intentions. It could be something as simple as, “These moments are for the me I long to be.”
Read through the current article, or any post that speaks to your inner longings. Each one presents my thoughts and experience, but also leaves room for your heart to guide how the question speaks to you.
Some may resonate at once as being relevant to your present moment. Others may fall flat. Try not to skip over them too quickly though. Ask how the question could be applicable to your life. You might be surprised.
Occasionally an answer will ring out immediately, but sometimes it will take days, weeks, or months for your intuitive voice to find the courage to speak up. Keep asking though, as it becomes easier to hear your Truth the more often you listen for and act upon your answers.
After reading the post, give yourself a few moments of silence. Consider pausing for at least 10 minutes to allow the question to linger. Set a timer if you like, but avoid distractions of all sorts (no screens, no books, no music, no conversations).
Stay open, and try not to use your thinking mind to problem-solve. We’re not looking to engage our decision-making, logical brain, but rather connect with something more instinctive—our gut sense, our heart-centers.
This is often easier said than done. Don’t worry if stray thoughts keep popping up, including the voice that says this couldn’t possibly work. Let them float away like clouds drifting across the sky. Keep focusing on your sensations…the view in front of you, the sounds of your breath, the feel of your body against the chair or bed.
If a response does come to you, welcome it and repeat it to yourself. Question it, if needed, to ask for more specifics or guidance.
Once you have an answer, even if it’s just a tiny piece and not the complete picture, you can move forward based on your new knowledge. Sometimes the next step is obvious. When it’s relatively easy (under 5 minutes), do it right away.
Other times, the needed action can be more complicated. It might involve multiple steps or require a reprioritization of your time and energy. That’s okay. Take a few moments to break it down into pieces, small enough so you can accomplish them in 15 minute intervals. It seems less intimidating that way, and checking them off will bring you a sense of satisfaction.
Either way, taking any action sends a message to your subconscious Higher Self that you’re listening AND you’re serious about seeking change. Instead of remaining stuck in your present situation, one small step forward opens up the space for more answers to transform your life. Time is going to pass anyway, so why not work towards a brighter future?
Afterwards, it’s time to get up and move on with your life… Thank your Higher Self (or the Universe, or your source of the Devine), and encourage it to keep communicating what’s right for you. Write down any wisdom that came to you in the silence–whatever feels particularly true or moving. Then you can return to the busyness of life, knowing you’ve taken a positive first step towards change.
What if you didn’t experience any sense of an answer? Because a lot of times you might not, at least not right away.
When this occurs, simply come back to it later. These inquiries are a great practice regardless of whether or not you felt anything life-altering in your response. Some of my best insights occur after reflecting on a single question multiple times throughout a week.
Find moments of activity where your mind isn’t needed for intense focus, such as when you’re doing dishes, folding laundry, taking a shower, or going for a walk/run. Repeat the question (out loud if you’re alone). Wait for insights as you do your task. Consider asking, “What else do I need to know?”
See what happens… Maybe nothing. Other thoughts might intrude and take over. Yet the question will remain active, working away in your subconscious.
Repeat this process, taking a PASS as often as you can, until you discover an answer that rings true. Give it time. If you feel stuck or your answers don’t seem to resonate, put this particular question aside for a bit. Write a reminder down on your calendar for 1-3 months in the future. You might find yourself in a more receptive or creative place by then.
Sometimes a question can spark a small but immediate shift, leading you into an effortless course correction. At other times, you may ask something so profound that the resulting answers and actions will take months to play out. Remember this is your life, and your pace of inquiry is entirely up to you.
After you’ve witnessed your heart’s revelations and are settled regarding any life shifts, come back here and try out something new. And if you’re comfortable, share with us your experience about living within the questions.