Intentional Living Week Two: Asking the Right Questions

by Christine

"Sometimes questions are more important than answers." - Nancy Willard  

Or Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees.

Last Friday was the start of your commitment to intentional living. The first step, my dear friend, was to dedicate some time to being alone with your thoughts in a comfortable place. You also needed a tool to capture your thoughts whether through words or images. Were you able to make time? Did you find it comforting to spend time alone in thought or did it make you antsy? I am glad you are back for a second week because this week we will explore how to make the most of your "Think Time".

I was working hard to make the right decision but felt I did not have enough information. So I decided to go to the source. My ex-husband gave me permission to talk directly to his doctor and I immediately requested a meeting. My ex-husband's father, Hank, asked to join me. Larry (my ex-husband) was dying. His father wanted to hear that his son was not going to die and I wanted an exact date and time of his passing. The doctor was in a no win situation. Hank's questions were asked to illicit a positive response and mine were just the opposite. The doctor told Hank that medicine could not predict the end but when he looked at me, he said directly, "hospice has been called in." He answered us both truthfully but I did not understand the "code". 

I was gathering information so I could answer my daughter's one heartfelt question. "Will daddy be at my high school graduation in June?' On that grey November afternoon when I asked the doctor that question he replied, "hospice has been called in", I did not understand that mine was the wrong question. Too much emotion, too many personal and professional obligations and no time to sit with my thoughts and the information I was being given. Larry died less than two weeks later.

What was the question I should have been asking? Should I allow my son and daughter to spend the next couple of weeks with their father? I believe if I had asked that question, the doctor would have given me a simple yes but I could not see the forest for the trees. There was a little voice in the back of my mind that was trying to get my attention but I was bogged down in the details and could not see the bigger picture. While most life decisions aren't life and death questions they are important to our happiness and well-being. Unfortunately, many of us are making key decision on the fly without dedicating focused time on an issue. 

Think time is the commitment to taking the opportunity to ask the right questions. That is not always easy but it is possible if you want to improve the quality of your life and the life of those you love. So what are the right questions? Only you know your values and dreams but I will help you get started by setting up a few key questions that you can explore next week. 

Week 2 Assignment: Make a list of key life questions

There are three basic questions that you can build upon as you start this process:

1. Do you feel you are in control and/or gladdened by the way you are living?
2. Are you content and/or heartened by the way you treat other people including your significant other, children and other family members?
3. Do you sense that change is coming your way? 

These are open-ended questions for a reason. This is your opportunity to personalize your journey. If you feel in control in one area, explore why. If not in control in another area, do the same. The assignment is to help you examine what is important to you. The objective is to live an intentional life through conscious thought and action. Be as specific as you are able when answering these questions.  If you are not content with how you treat people, specify who and if so why. Now is the time to sit quietly and answer the above questions. 

As you examine these questions, be sure to capture your responses so that you can refer back to them as you progress. We will move forward next week with framing the answers. 


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