Listen to Yourself for the Big Answers

You most likely associate Descartes with Cogito ergo sum (although I’ve read he expressed that in French, not Latin,) or the “I think therefore I am.” A most influential person on our thinking and especially our educational system.

It’s gotten to the point where too many of us operate like Descartes on steroids.

That’s especially true for those of us who excelled in school. We are so good at figuring out the right answer.

That works pretty well with a lot of questions, but not the most important ones.

It fails us when we ask ourselves something like, what I am supposed to do with my life next?

The big questions invited us to learning the skill and the art of listening to ourselves. The answers to so many questions are not in books, or blog posts (hate to admit it!) neither are these answers in the teacher’s key. Other people usually can’t answer those for us, although compassionate and objective feedback can give you clues.

This has taken me forever to learn. I want everything to be like the multiple choice questions where the right answer would usually just be so obvious.

There is one anecdote I heard in church, of all places, that helped me understand that somethings are figured out without thinking.

The story is about how the disciples picked out a replacement disciple for Judas after his suicide. Do you know how they made this important decision? They drew straws!!!!

How unscientific is that?

I know that was a long time ago, but it worked for them.

I’m not saying you can answer the big questions by drawing straws, but I am saying that those answers are not found in the usual brainiac places.

Those answers emerge at the perfect time…if you’re open to listening.

This is how it worked in my own life this year. I wanted to move to a bigger city that was closer to my family. I had 4 destinations that were the runners up: Miami (love the Latin flavor and the weather;) Savannah (beautiful and my cousin lives there;) Atlanta (family is there;) and Charleston (just because.) I applied to jobs in all the places except Charleston. That city was really my wild card because I didn’t know anyone there. It just sounded so nice and I have wonderful childhood memories of vacations spent there.

Well….where did I end up? In my wild-card choice. I was cleaning out my email on July 29, and noticed a strange ad for a teaching position when everyone knows teaching positions are not posted 2 weeks before school starts.

We’ve been here nearly 4 months and it feels great.

So for those big questions on your mind. Stop thinking about them by immersing yourself in a creative project. Bake a cake or start an inside herb garden. The answers will appear when you least expect them.


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