Although this blog has been concentrated recently on the new Q and A format I am trying in my journal, the comments I have received seem to be about the nature of the questions I am posing to myself each day. That includes one asking for examples of those questions.
My first impulse was to simply list the questions here, but then I had a lot of second thoughts about doing that. The teacher in me was more than willing to go directly to the point. The journal keeper, however, had and voiced a few reservations. In my last post, I said that this format is far more a direct conversation, dialogue with my own person than it has been in the past. That remains true. I also said it was very much like conducting an interview with my own person, and it is.
And that seems to be the crux of the situation. If I present you with those questions, and you use them to begin, then you are, in all reality, having a conversation with me, responding to my questions. That would definitely alter the outcome because I would then become the audience. And an audience does skew the response.
Furthermore, I’m not really sure the questions I aim at my own person would be affective for anyone else, let alone actually understood out of the context of that very personal conversation. They are couched in a sort of short-hand of personal jargon that might not be clear to anyone other than myself. That is not to say that I am not willing to point anyone in that direction.
As is par for the course, as I was mulling all of this over, something unexpected happened. I had an appointment a few days ago, but found myself waiting in a waiting room with nothing to do while I was waiting. I reached for an old copy of a Redbook Magazine, on the coffee table, and opened it to find an article that went something like this: The Twelve Most Important Questions You Can Ask Yourself in The Coming New Year.
I do so love synchronicity. I only had a chance to barely skim the article before being called in for my appointment. And it didn’t occur to me to go back to the waiting room and swipe the magazine afterward, sorry. But, I did find several avenues that would be worth exploring. Those are the things I intend to share with you today. Ideas that you can then interpret into questions you might want to explore.
One of the ideas that stood out for me was about relationships. How one feels about specific persons one is in relationship with. There is a great deal one can explore in that arena, but it would be important to be as specific as possible, naming names and writing out details of situations that show why those particular feelings are present with that particular person. I also think that it would be a good idea not to take on just that one subject matter, but vary it with others.
Journal writing is about getting ones thoughts and feelings out on paper. The answers to the questions are very much dependent on finding the right questions. No one can do that for me, other than me. I know that there are certain questions I simply avoid. And being who I am, those are the ones I chose to begin with because they are the most important ones. But, as I continued, I found that the questions came far more naturally than I had expected them to do. And the result is a flow of actual conversation that pertains to me and me alone.
That means I really believe that I can only point in certain directions, but that it is far more important that you find the steps in your own path as that conversation continues. And you will. You intuitively know where to go and what questions are right for you. But, if this is to be a dialogue with yourself, then it is very important that you voice those questions in your own words, not in mine or anyone else’s.
In the article that I skimmed, there was also an emphasis on how one sees oneself, and on plans, hopes, and dreams for the future. The specific things one is doing, or not, to move oneself closer to making those dreams a reality. That also seemed like fertile ground for exploration. But, what I realized, just before being called into my appointment, was that I was already dealing with most of the subjects covered. Just doing it in my own particular fashion and in no particular order.
That is the nature of conversation. It goes where it will, and not always in the manner we would prefer. It can get stuck, or be wide open, or bounce around to cover many topics before settling down and honing in on what might be the most important one. But, in the meantime we get and exchange a great deal of information, even knowledge.
Furthermore, in this conversation with self, it is actually relieving to be able to say, “I don’t know,” and go on to something else. It will come back, we’ve made a note of it. Personally, when I find myself writing out those words, I also know that what I really mean is that I want some time and space to consider the subject matter. I have a sense of being on a fence, but don’t feel pushed to perform or produce. I can be patient with myself. We will get there eventually. It’s also very important to know where the fences are and why they are there.
There are whole books out there with daily suggestions about topics to write about. My problem with most of them is that they don’t relate well to what is going on in my own experience. They can be interesting, but most of the time I start feeling that I’d rather be elsewhere. And because I have also made up such lists, I already know that some of the topics are simply fillers, never used, but suggested because they fit and sounded okay. Thus I find that they are best kept for suggestions in a pinch only.
Where I would rather be is right where I am, inside this unfolding conversation, and eager to continue. Finding the questions isn’t difficult, one just has to begin. Finding the answers is well worth the time and effort. A very good rule (suggestion) to remember is that there are no right or wrong questions or answers. One last question might be appropriate here, but again, it is only a suggestion: What are you really afraid of?