January 2016: Questions About Your Voice

Happy New Years!

As is typical, a new year begins for me with a reflection on the past year.  I am truly thankful for all the people who have allowed me to be a part of their lives this past 12 months.  It is a true honour and privilege to journey alongside so many glorious people and to witness their strengths and healing within struggles and difficult spaces.

And, of course, if you have known me for even a short time you will know that I also begin every new undertaking with a philosophical and contemplative thoughts and questioning all sorts of things. To begin this year’s ramblings…a quote from Mary Collins:

One of the best gifts for the critical mind and for a living tradition is the gift of a new question.

And, then, this quote from Carolyn Heilburn:

[Agency] is the ability to take one’s place in whatever discourse is essential to action and the right to have one’s part matter.

In beginning this New Year, I am trying to connect ideas around the gift of a question and an individual’s place in public (and relational) discourses within their contexts and systems.  Some examples of my wonderings:

  • How can people be “voiced” into conversations that lead to identity, meaningful action, and intentional living?
  • How can we ask more questions and give fewer answers in our relational discourses [dialogues, self-talk, writings and posts]?
  • How can we create living traditions for what is most life giving and restorative to our self, others, and the Earth?
  • How can we listen more often to the voices inside of us (intuition, spirit, collective wisdom, past knowledges) and less to the clamour of others?

These questions begin with the words “How can…” for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I feel that the verb is quite important to the process of working these questions out.  The verb should could indicate an action motivated by guilt or obligation, will could indicate getting things done by gritting our teeth, and might could speak more to indecisiveness than conviction.

The second reason for the “How can…” is that it contains the idea that we already have some agency (belief in our ability to act) and that there is important space for us to inhabit in our spaces, contexts, and systems.  It also implies that we are moving in a certain direction, one that elicits critical thinking and generosity for newness, learning, and change.

This year, my hope is that we take the time to pause and ask a really challenging question (or questions) about how we are interacting and living amongst others in the world and how we are spending our hours and days.  Not in a gritty resolution-ish way but with a compassionate, generous, and grounded gaze inward and outward and a framework that upholds health, healing, and deliberate living.

I end this post with a few simple questions that I hope will connect you to your existent voice, way of being in the world and toward respectful and dignified spaces to stand and be heard.

Q? When you consider the year ahead, what contexts and conversations will be involved in the forming and informing of your life? How will these influence your life and the lives of those around you?

Peace and grace to you this year.

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