I went to a residential training program a while ago. When I first spied the quantity of chairs in our class room (150, in fact) I began to fret: how can we have meaningful exchanges in such large a crowd. Little did I know.
During our first assembly the teacher asked us to reflect on what had brought us: “Why are you here?” He then passed around four microphones and invited comments. After a few responses he changed the question to “Why are you really here?”
Unsure of what to say, I nevertheless reached for a passing mic. The reason I’m here is to learn new skills, to be able to offer this training to … halfway through my earnest declaration, the teacher expanded the question once more: “Why are you really really here?”
After five years in end-of-life care I want to shift to being alive. Directly from my heart, bypassing reason and expectations, the voice of truth. In an instant, I felt as if the burden of and self-imposed penance for ‘being with dying’ had been lifted — replaced by fresh air to fill my longues.
“Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question,” writes e. e. cummings.
What would you say if asked, “What do you want to do? … and then … “What do you really really want to do with your life?”