One of the tools I have used on my own personal journey out of the depths of blah-hood is to ask, ask, ask for what I want and trust that what I need will show its face when the time is right. Sometimes I am looking for support, sometimes I am searching for wisdom. Often I don’t know exactly what form the response will take but I trust I will recognize it.
I picture myself standing at an open door and casting my questions into an abyss. It’s a liberating image; I am essentially offloading my worries and uncertainties into a wide open space – and just like a bungee jumper trusts that her rope will hold, I count on a Greater Power to do its part. It’s not always easy to trust in something you can’t see, but really, what do I have to lose?
As I mentioned previously, I don’t think I have super powers or that I am the only person with this kind of reciprocal relationship with something Greater. I think the difference between someone who receives answers/information/guidance/support and someone who claims they don’t is the ability to recognize these gifts when they are granted.
Here’s a beautifully simple quote from author Stella Terrill Mann “Desire, ask, believe, receive.” Essentially these are the steps I have outlined above. They are powerful verbs – but how do we translate these into actions we can take in our daily lives?
Enter today’s task! I had a fun time planning out this week’s activity! Usually when I throw my questions out into the abyss, I scribble them into my journal and then launch into a free-writing session. Or I ask the questions mentally when I find myself having a quiet moment, like when I’m breastfeeding my son. The answers sometimes float toward me from that abyss via the words I am writing in my journal or as thoughts. But there are other ways to incorporate this question-answer activity in our daily lives that might be a little more fun.
Grab a container of some kind: again, as in the journal, don’t get so hung up over the container that you end up stalling this activity! Your container is going to hold little scraps of paper so even an envelope will do. Take 10-15 minutes today and write down 2 questions or worries (anything you want to offload from your system) on separate scraps of paper. Here’s an example of a thought that plagues me: Where can I find more patience for my daughter who I love so deeply (or why don’t I seem to have any in the first place)?
If you’re wondering where you’re going to find the time, here’s a quick idea: whatever it is that you do before you go to bed, stop doing it 10 minutes sooner. Use those 10 minutes to write on your scraps of paper. Stick them in your container and then look at your daytimer for the coming week. Choose 3 days, and specific times on those days (i.e. first thing in the morning, morning coffee break, while the kids are at their after-school lessons, just before bed etc). On 2 of those days you will do this next step:
Select one piece of paper from your container, read it and then:
A) Sit quietly and run your mind over the words of your question or worry. What thoughts are stemming from this contemplation? DON’T DISMISS THEM NO MATTER HOW STRANGE OR UNRELATED THEY MAY SEEM! After a few minutes of just listening, jot down some of these key thoughts in your journal or task binder.
B) Pull out your journal or task binder and immediately start writing down the thoughts that come to your mind when you ask yourself the question or read the worry to yourself. Your thoughts may not seem profound and you may not hear a booming voice giving you clear directions, but please, just write! Try to focus on the question but don’t be concerned about your grammar, sentence structure or word choice. Keep that hand moving!
On your third scheduled day, read over your questions and your “responses”. See anything valuable in there? Anything curious? Does something trigger a reaction of some kind? Would you try this again? Which part of the process (desire, ask, believe, receive) do you find easiest? Most difficult? Explore these reactions in your journal or task binder. Keep your mind open and your eyes peeled over the next little while to see if you get more responses to these questions in other forms. I’ll log these prompts with the others for your reference.
I would encourage you to keep adding to your container over the next few weeks (and indefinitely if you find this helpful) and to practice this activity at least weekly to give it a good try. It’s a great way to strengthen an already existing relationship; it forces you to become conscious of the process.
If you have any questions or feedback, you can leave a comment here or send me a private note!