Oh, the Questions…

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Photo by airpix via Flickr Creative Commons

By Tiffany A. Potter

I’ve mentioned many times before that I am a seeker, a ponderer extraordinaire. I am a lifelong learner, infinitely curious about all things. I am someone who spends what free brain space I may have questioning just about everything that relates to this life, and to my life, more specifically.

What triggers me and why? Why do I laugh at some things and (usually) not at others? What makes me angry? What makes me sad? In what do I find joy—and why in those things? Why do I love the music that I do but despise other types? Why do I hate exercising as much as I do, yet am completely devoted to Netflix and bad “reality” TV on Bravo? Why can I be so completely committed to my company, while questioning other commitments that seem no less important? Why do I love coffee and loathe tea? Why am I drawn to some people and repulsed by others? Why? Why? Why?

You can imagine that with all these thoughts swimming around in my head that I have little free time on my hands. Deep in thought is my natural state of being. It can be exhausting to be sure, but truthfully, I really don’t mind. It’s been stated that Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Given that all of his examination and questioning was in pursuit of wisdom, I have to believe he and I would have gotten along swimmingly.

And Yogi Bhajan has said, “When you don’t go within, you go without.”

Here’s an authentic glimpse into my head; on April 23, at 2:23 p.m., I typed into the notes on my phone, “Questions I’m sitting with…(1) What does success look like to me? (2) What do I consider living a successful life?-not the same thing as question #1. (3) What is my relationship with, and to, money? (4) Do I believe in ‘Happily Ever After’?”

A few months ago, I went to see a high school play. The kids were cute, some were even talented, and I was reminded of myself at that age. In high school, I was into what felt like everything. Theater, cheerleading and a number of clubs were my life every year; sitting in that auditorium watching the spring musical I realized that 1) all auditoriums apparently smell the same and 2) that used to be me, 23 + years ago.

Somewhere in the beginning of Act II, I found myself falling down the rabbit hole of questions: “What did I want to be when it was me up on that stage when I had my whole life in front of me? And do I have the life that I had hoped that I would at this point in my life?” The answer: From what I can remember of what I dreamed of, I don’t have the life that I thought/hoped that I would have at 40.

Follow-up question: Is that okay with me? Is my current life better, or worse, than I had hoped? And the follow-up question to the follow-up question: What would I do/could I do differently if my current reality doesn’t match what it is that I want for myself? Or, is life a matter of learning to love what you do have instead of endlessly hoping for something that you don’t? Where does that thin line between desire and contentment live? It goes without saying, I can’t tell you exactly what happened to Shrek, Donkey and Fiona between the end of intermission and the closing number, but I’m sure that it was adorable.

Some may consider this inability to stay in the moment neurotic. That it robs me of this very moment in time, and perhaps it does to some extent. But if I really believed that in my eternal quest to find wisdom (can wisdom be found? Or only gained? See?! I can’t stop) was impeding a happy journey, I would train myself to turn it off. But to be open to all the questions that come my way and not slam the door on my growth and evolution is a way of life that I have come to embrace and feel comfortable in. At one time in my life, I felt weird about it like there was something fundamentally wrong with me. Now, I have learned to embrace my inquisitive nature (and have even been told by some that it’s actually endearing).

And here’s the good news, I actually do find resolution in my seeking, which is an exciting moment when it happens, when I am able to connect the dots that I couldn’t prior to. There are no quick or easy answers, and it’s an effort to not become paralyzed by them for sure, but oh when the answers come is it ever so sweet.

It’s my belief that if a question shows up in my life it’s my soul’s way of pushing me to become more of myself, to dig deeper, and be brave enough to sit with the uncomfortableness for however long is necessary, all in an effort to live more fully. And if I seem stuck on a problem that I can’t figure out on my own, I’ve learned to seek help elsewhere. I put no time frames or expectations on the end result, except to learn more about myself, and the world around me, in the end.

The questions don’t scare me. The answers don’t scare me. Not paying attention to them does. Questions are neither positively or negatively charged; it’s only the meaning we assign to them that gives us anxiety surrounding them. Although the questions I’m currently pondering as of April 23 are heavy in nature, I’m honoring their place in my life, working through them to find some resolution, and staying open to the answers as they come to me.

So my loves, may you also learn to love and honor the questions that arise in your life. They have come to you for a reason.

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Tiffany Potter is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and change agent. Find her at www.TiffanysTake.com on Instagram: @Tiffanys_Take.columnist or on Twitter: @T_Tcolumnist.