The answer I've been seeking
This is me and my dad. I am three and I am helping him paint what would become library bookshelves for our house. I use the term "help" loosely, as I have a bucket of water and a paint brush, but I am sure I added a little flair to those shelves.
My dad's book collection would grow to thousands of books by the time they sold the house 20 years later. These shelves covered every wall of one room, literally floor to ceiling. This may have something to do with my book obsession. (Note the obvious sarcasm.)
We lovingly referred to the room with the books as the library as though we were 19th-century aristocrats. This was also where I spent almost every night discussing life with my dad. These discussions continue to this day, but now we text. Because it's 2017.
I grew up in a family where inquiry was just as important as introspection. If you were going to ask a question, you better be prepared to also seek the answer. This may also have something to do with why I entered a field where I ask questions for a living.
I love a good question. The entire basis of a good coach is a good question. Really. That's all we're made up of: questions. (And coffee. Lots of coffee.) We don't actually have the answers to the things we ask. (Sorry.) But that doesn't mean these questions shouldn't be asked.
A great question can be a guiding light. It can be the thing that transforms you. It can open new doors and close old ones. A good question can inspire action and motivate you for many years. But too many questions can make your head spin.
A question I have been asking my dad for the past three years was, "What is the meaning of life?" You know, nice and light. Until five days ago when he mic dropped this statement --
"Don't look for the answer, create it."
"What? Wait...what do you mean, CREATE it?" I stuttered over this revelation. He replied, "Life isn't about seeking so much as it's about creating. You can't take your questions to some all-knowing source. YOU are the source."
So there it is. Thousands of books, thousands of hours talking, one BIG question, and the answer was hiding in plain sight all along. They like to do that.
Which, of course, opened a floodgate of more questions. I can't help myself. Questions like:
How do I know I am valuable?
What is a calling, really?
How do I know I am on purpose?
Am I really helping?
What is the meaning of my work?
If there's no one to tell me I am on the right course, how do I totally trust myself?
And still, the answer was all the same.
The glaringly obvious answer to the most asked question was there all along. So, of course, I feel a bit righteous for even thinking this is THE answer. But it's a pretty good one. Just think how liberating this is!
If you could create the answer to every question you're asking about your life right now, you could put down the seeking and just look in the mirror and see what's there.
Who do you want to be?
What do you want to experience?
Where do you want to go?
What do you want to have?
How do you want to feel?
What kind of success do I want?
Why do I want to live?
What is joy? What is happiness? What purpose does my pain serve?
More questions, I know. However, if you are the source of the question AND the answer, then you get to actually create a life YOU want to live. Because the truth is, no one can even pretend to answer these for you. Others can live their lives and you can see examples of possibility through them. But it doesn't make it true for you. Truth is relative to your own choices.
After this conversation with my dad I experienced a really rich meditation and the symbol of a key came to me. Afterward, I wrote this in my journal, and I want to leave this with you as a kickoff to 2017:
"I want every human being, who is willing and aware, to discover their own key. To discover that they are their own key and they already have wholeness locked inside of them. The path of having access to their wholeness is personal and our only life purpose. So go now and create yourself with abandon and you won't just discover your key, you'll discover how to unlock your life."
Happy New Year!