Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Question

The road to health and contentment is paved with questions. (That's a pretty good opening line, huh? Alright, Hemingway don't get cocky. It's one line.) Anyway, I suppose life is about questions, really. I think a common misconception is that we only ask questions when we're seeking answers. I've discovered that the questions on my road have often functioned more as pot holes and road blocks than informative signposts.

The question I'm writing about today is one that has nagged at me whenever I have considered turning my life in a healthier, happier and more content direction. When I allowed myself to think about the specifics of anything I might want to have, or be, or do, the same question popped to the fore...

“Do I really want this or do I only WANT to want this?”

It seems such a simple thing to decide whether we truly want something or not, particularly when we're talking about a question like “Do you want a full, happy, productive life?” Do you want to step up, take the wheel and experience all that life has to offer or slink down and allow decades of twisted emotional baggage to push you around through life?

It's not exactly Sophie's choice. So what's the problem here. Why did I spend years struggling with this question?

I think the answer lies in the fact that there are certain questions that my emotional issues simply won't let me ask because they flat out don't have a good answer. The whole question of whether I merely want to want a better life is a way of silencing or minimizing my intrinsic self. The question adds an extra layer, something to muffle or strangle out any answer that might lead me away from the pain, confusion and withdrawal my issues provide. But underneath the layers there remains an echo of a voice that knows the answer to the real question, the question I'm not allowed to ask.

So my issues have a problem. That intrinsic self is never going away, and that echo is getting louder. The extra layer is melting away and I'm more and more able to actively think about the real question. The useful question. You see, I've discovered that clarity comes when we not only ask the right questions, but refrain from allowing our emotional issues to whisper insidious and inaccurate answers.

These days I'm in charge. I'm asking the questions, and enjoying discovering the answers. The road's less bumpy and all signs point to go. Now I just need a bigger gas tank.

1 comment:

bookhabit said...

"It's not exactly Sophie's choice" Love the reference. I can identify with a lot in this post. Thanks for putting it out there.