Living with Questions

Imagine a typical conversation and a question asked. Do you imagine a pause and internal reflection? Probably not. We don't often sit with questions. Because uncertainty is uncomfortable. And answers seem certain. 

I'm trying to live more with questions; to not know. This process is difficult—it goes against my long-held habits. But it also feels alive. When I sit with a question, my mind is exposed: a flood of judgment, doubt, or longing, followed by "the answer." When I make more space, in an honest yet gentle way, I settle down. I find an answer that feels genuine, and might change as I change.

Each night, I reflect on my day. I gauge whether my actions were in-line with my bigger intentions. I see where I make mistakes and how I can start again.  And I often sit with questions. 

Day end, and before sleep

when the sky dies down, consider

your altered state: has this day 

changed you? Are the corners 

sharper or rounded off? Did you

live with death? Make decisions

that quieted? Find one clear word

that fit? At the sun’s midpoint

did you notice a pitch of absence,

bewilderment that invites

the possible? What did you learn

from things you dropped and picked up

and dropped again? Did you set a straw 

parallel to the river, let the flow

carry you downstream?
— Jeanne Lohmann, "Questions Before Dark"

Today my corners are more round. I lived a few powerful moments with death. I found no clear word, and that feels okay. I allowed for possibility. I learned bits of patience and self-kindness. I occasionally let things flow (my life is layers and layers of letting go). Tomorrow, who knows?