Live long enough and you recognize that some years in our lives ask questions... and others answer them. Let's also face this - there are simply times when we just don't have the answers - yet. It takes patience for us to wait and persistence for us to work through those stages of ambiguity when we're lurking in the dark and holding out hope - when faith is described as the bird that sings just before the light of dawn. Eventually, in due time and if we're paying attention, we reach that realization when we proclaim - "Okay, that's why" - and it all makes sense. The sun eventually rises. For example;
There was an old man and is son who worked a small farm with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away. "How terrible," sympathized the neighbors, "What bad luck. "But the farmer replied, "Who knows whether it's bad luck or good luck."
A week later, out of nowhere, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn. The neighbors heard about this and exclaimed, "What wonderful luck!" "Good luck?
Bad luck? Who knows?" answered the old man.
A couple of days later, the son, trying to tame one of the wild horses, fell and broke his leg.
"How terrible. What bad luck!" cried the neighbors. "Bad luck? Good luck?
Who knows?" said the farmer.
Ten days after, the army came to all the farms to take the young men for war. The farmer's son - with his broken leg - was of no use to them, so he was spared. Good luck? Bad luck?
Retrospect offers us what no moment, in the present, is capable of doing. Time will reveal the reason for the baffling or troubling situations that have dogged our paths along the way. Whenever the road feels rocky or we are confused, we need to trust. Our lives
are not happenstances. There is a performance being staged.
(From Promise of a New Day).
So, if we're paying attention, then Life may be asking you any one or more of these questions listed below - if not this year or at this time, it will most likely be at some time.
What do I want in my life?
What seems to have worked in my life thus far?
What hasn't worked, but I continue to do by force of habit or fear of change?
What is my controlling trait?
What are my fears, and how do they affect what I want in my life?
What are the key successes and failures in each stage of my life?
What are the emotions that allow myself to plague me and that may be paralyzing my efforts to grow?
What was my first significant achievement; my first memorable failure?
How have I felt (measured up) in comparison to my peers as I have "grown up"?
What was my first "heartbreak" like and how did I deal with it?
How have I chosen the significant other(s) in my life? Or...
How have I chosen not to have one?
What is it that I would most like to change in my life?
What is it that I would most like to change in my self?
What actions do I need to take in order to change?
What behaviors, actions, and reactions do I perform "automatically"?
Whom do I admire? What is it about her/him/them that I admire?
What are my expectations of others? Of life itself?
What are my expectancies and beliefs about how life does and should work?
What is it that I resist doing?
What is it that I'm resisting today that could make my life better?
What are my priorities in life?
What are my regrets in life?
How have I experienced risk in my life? What is my step style?
What are my "fixed beliefs" about my self? Other people? Of Life itself?
How would I rate my life manager?
How do I care for my life manager?
To what degree am I ruled by the "tyranny of the shoulds"?
What are my self-defeating behaviors?
What can I do to defeat them?
What are my positive attributes?
What can I do to feed them?
What are some experiences in my life that I need to let go of in order to move forward?
How does guilt play into my life?
What can I eliminate in order to simplify my life?
How does worry play into my life?
How does anger play into my life?
What and where are the resources in my life that will support healthy change?
What is it that drains me?
What is it that energizes me?
What emotions define me?
How will I know when I get where I wish to be in life?
In sum, what is it that you value, how can you control the variables in your life in order to experience what you value, and how will you surrender to and trust those variables that are beyond your grasp in this imperfect control we all exert over our lives?
And, finally, you'll notice in the questions above that all of them begin with "what" or "how". With each new year brings hope for change, for progress, for a more fulfilling life. And with all of this we list our "resolutions" for change. Once we arrive at "what" we need to do, we need to answer one more question - the one that's often neglected and the one that's most critical to answer. This question is imbedded in Victor Frankl's advice from Man's Search for Meaning.
"Those who have a 'why' to live can bear with almost any how."
It's that answer to "why" that will provide the motivation to endure any what or how.