The answers often come through my journal.
– What are the root causes for certain events or emotions or thoughts?
– How can I better understand the meaning of my life in general and its present circumstances in particular?
– Where do I put my attention so that the answers may flow to me from the depths of my own unconscious as well as from synchronistic outer events that these days I recognize as the profound partnership I have forged with benign, unseen forces?
I am grateful to have a much better understanding of objectifying the confusingly subjective than I did several years ago—specifically when my late husband, Stephen, was on the journey to the end of his life. During that challenging time and immediately following his passing, I was absolutely obsessed with the need to understand what our lives had meant, as a couple and as individuals. And what did this seminal experience mean for my life going forward?
While on a break during a weekend personal growth workshop in Boulder, Colorado, I sat at a picnic table to eat my lunch. As often happens when I have been stimulated by other peoples’ ideas, I started writing some notes in my journal. However, what began to take shape on the page was not thoughts about the day’s speaker but an internal dialogue that posed to me a rapid-fire series of questions that I am still working with to this day.
In the space of an hour I must have written at least forty questions that looked at my situation from many different perspectives:
– What had I lost?
– What had I gained?
– What would I like to have back?
– What am I glad is gone?
– What is my current situation?
– What is calling me forward?
– To whom can I turn for ongoing support?
– What do I want to understand?
– What do I want others to understand about me?
– What was this all for? And on and on…
At that time, I was deep in the work of writing the first edition of my memoir, A Beautiful Death. I was so enthralled with the insights these questions offered that I determined to include them in the book. As I felt they dealt with important psychological as well as practical issues, I sent them to a colleague who was also a clinical psychologist and therapist.
Her response was something between humor and horror. “Cheryl, nobody can answer this many questions!” she laughed. “See if you can come up with perhaps five or six questions that won’t overwhelm your audience.”
So that’s what I did. For that book I distilled the list to five primary questions and then, of course, kept the inquiry going by including another five or six questions for each of those. But at least each question had its own chapter so readers could consider them one at a time.
As my own work developed, however, I found myself returning again and again to the five basic questions that now comprise The LIGHT Process. Even after giving them their own book, each point of inquiry continues to develop and spark new thoughts, feelings, and insights.
I do see the wisdom of my friend. If we can find five essential questions that consistently allow us to move forward on the path of conscious awareness and upward on the spiral of being, we will have a way of showing up for life that will lead us ever deeper and wider into meaning and purpose. And for me, that’s what this life is all about.
Q1: How have I been prepared?
Q2: How am I staying afloat?
Q3: What do I need right now?
Q4: What do I need to let go of?
Q5: Where do I go from here?
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More articles on Cheryl’s PsychologyToday blog: Living on the Razor’s Edge
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