A few years ago, on Yom Kippur, it came to me to ask four basic questions of myself to redirect my life.
Recently, in view of world conflicts and the rampant divisiveness and lack of common courtesy displayed in the news daily, it occurred to me that the idea of reviewing the direction of life might well be done a few times each year, not just during the High Holidays. So I’m sharing these ideas for your consideration.
What questions would you consider to “push the reset button” on your life?
Here are the ones that came to me:
Who are you?
Who are you in the world? What identities do you take on, hence, what roles are you playing in life? We each have many identities that define how we interact with others: at home (father, mother, child, cousin, friend, mentor, etc.), at work (what I do for a living, leader, follower, student, teacher, partner, volunteer, retiree, etc.), at play (hiker, biker, tennis player, knitter, seamstress, woodworker, etc.). This question asks us to consider if these are the roles we want to be playing in life. Is this who we want to be? Are these the daily activities that I want to fill my days, my precious time here on earth?
How are you?
How are you being in the world? What do you radiate? How do you engage in activities and with people as you go through each day? Are you angry? Happy? Joyful? Egotistical? Humble? Anxious, worried, uptight, impatient? Are you being kind, generous, gentle? With what energy are you living your life? How are you treating other people? How do you treat the earth, air, water, forests, other living things? Is this how you want to “be” every day? Is this how you want to live?
Why are you?
Why are you engaged in the activities that fill your days? Do the reasons you first got involved in those things still apply? Why are you doing what you do? Is the answer to this question OK with you today? Do you even know why you do what you do? Are you happy with the direction of your life? Is it fulfilling, meaningful, giving you the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile? If not, what foundational reasoning is meaningful for you, and how can you change your life to be more in line with that direction?
What are you becoming?
What kind of person are you becoming as you practice each day the radiance of who you are? Are you learning and growing? Studying and learning? Reflecting and changing that you might become more aligned to your core values? Or are you simply rehearsing each day to stay stuck in the “same ole rut” being the same person you were? What kind of person do you want to be? Are you striving to achieve that? Have you looked in the mirror lately?
This line of questioning reminds us that we are in control of how we spend the time given to us. We get to choose who, how, and why we respond to the opportunities and challenges of life. Independent of my responses to these questions, I try to live each day in wonder and gratitude, attempting to be kind and generous. This approach helps me be better at living deliberately, consciously, meaningfully. The answers help me navigate and focus as I face the ups and downs of daily life in the hope that I live – truly live the time given to me.
I hope your answers include respect, kindness, humility, and joy. These help reveal holiness.