Searching for Answers

via_Flickr Creative Commons_Roland-UrbanekI’ve been cleaning and organizing lately. Sorting through old paperwork, re-working my filing system. Keeping what’s important. Shredding and recycling in large quantities. I’ve been dusting little corners that usually get ignored. Rearranging books and artwork and photos. 

In fact, I can’t seem to make myself do much else with my free time. I can think of lots of reasons why this feels so good and why I need it, but honestly, the motivation doesn’t come from any logical thought. 

Even though I feel a bit like someone else has inhabited my being (I am not compulsively clean by nature), I long ago agreed to surrender to the lead of my inner guide. And the results have always been good. So I’m cleaning, sorting and getting rid of stuff I don’t need!

It’s easy when it’s this obvious. When you simply must do a particular thing. No questions, no debate, in fact, no choice. 

The real challenge is what to do when the right action is not demanding attention or blazing in neon. When you feel that urgent need to know, and no answer comes. Or worse yet, the answers you think you’re getting change every other day.

For me, the only way out of that infuriating cycle is to do the exact opposite of what our culture has trained us to do.

Quit trying to force a solution and allow it to come to you.

Here’s how I allow the solutions to find me.

Step away from the energy of urgency.  I know, it’s not easy. A few deep breaths helps. Doing a reality check helps too. Do you really have to have an answer right now?

Settle into stillness. If you have a reliable way to get to this place, great. If you don’t here are some ideas. Meditation is one way to practice stillness. If that’s not for you, spend some time in nature. How about a cup a tea under the tree in your backyard, sitting on a bench in the local park, or hanging out by a window where you have a view of the wind blowing in the trees. You might be surprised how quickly the mind can rest when open our awareness to the natural world.

Listen. Often the messages come in unexpected ways, so learn to listen with all your senses. Maybe the sound of a laughing child will trigger an idea or you’ll suddenly find a special meaning in a falling leaf. Maybe the words you write in your journal or the image that shows up in a dream is just exactly what you need to “hear”. 

Follow the bread crumbs. It’s not uncommon for big answers to come in small increments. If you tend to prefer a clearly delineated plan before you make a move, try just taking the next right step. A single step will offer a new perspective, a new view of the world around you, and will lead you to the next right step from there.

It’s great when inspiration strikes and you’re swept up in a tide of energy that moves you along. But when that’s not happening and you still need some answers, try this soft, gentle approach. You may find it’s all you need.


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  1. Rhona November 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    How true this is. It seems impossible to let go and not force an outcome in pressing and dramatic situations, But, to quote Martha, the best course is getting wordless and then trying to sense where the situation wants you to act (or not) next. I remind myself of this every day. When I can do it, it works! Thanks for the encouraging words and reminder.

    • Kelly November 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Glad you liked it Rhona!

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