When my son was little, he and I were driving in the car one day and as I was looking both ways to make a safe left hand turn, he asked me, “What are cheeks for?”
I was probably into some fantasy in my head and concentrating on my driving so I did not answer him that second.
Almost immediately, he asked more adamantly, “Mommy! What are cheeks for?” My mind was blank, I had pulled myself away from my thoughts and I was moving towards his words. It was forming in my mind what he was saying: cheeks…what?
He was frustrated I hadn’t answered in the two second since he asked, “Cheeks?” I mumble.
“What are cheeks for!” he yelled.
Questions can be big or small. We all have questions on our mind: What should I do first? Why does he do that? What should I eat? Why me? Why can’t I fix this? Why did I fail?
Questions and I are intimately acquainted. (I am in love with them.) I help people heal by asking them questions. (I also answer questions).
Here are some things to think about when asking life’s big questions:
1. Questions can take time to answer. We humans can be very impatient when we want our questions answered. We may not stamp our feet and pout like a two year old, but we can come close. Sometimes even losing site of the question because we feel invalidated by the lack of answer. Invalidation breeds unworthiness and this then becomes the bigger problem. When we ask big why questions about what is happening to us, or what we should do about something, it may take time for the answer to reveal itself. Our impatience can extend this time, as it closes us to the answer. Ask and be open for the answer to come. It will eventually. Keep living while you wait.
2. Questioning makes us human. They are how we learn and grow. Curiosity is a way of opening us up, questions dispel our worries, help us get new perspectives on events, and allow us to understand others. Ignorance increases intolerance. Openness saves us so much suffering.
3. Questions keep us humble. When something is upsetting me, instead of assuming and trying to make meaning out of it myself, I ask, “I don’t know what this means. Please tell me.” Instead of looking, I allow. This helps me take a step back from the situation to a view away from the chaos–where I am no longer the victim– and I can see a new perspective, a deeper meaning.
4. To question is to care. Questions portrays interest in a deeper understanding, an a act of respect. (“Re” “spect”= to look again at something.)
5. There are no dumb questions. Kids ask more questions than adults, since adults think they already know everything or are afraid they would appear dumb if they ask. I have been afraid to ask since I worry about imposing on someone. I had to get over this one quick!
6. Questions connect. I like to think of questions as a offering of love or call for love. Either way, they have the potential to connect through conversation and shared interest. The are great opportunities for people to get to know one another because it provides a witness to our most beautiful selves.
7. Questions are invitations to responsibility. Questions not only invite us to new perspective, but invite others there also. Some people are unaware of how their behavior hurts themselves or others. From a position of curiosity rather than judgment, we can invite people to be responsible for themselves.
8. Questions help heal. Learning is healing, awareness is like bring love and compassion into a situation and this always makes it better!
Do you have a question? Ask away!
(BTW in case you were wondering, cheeks are for smiling.)