Day 87 – two VERY good questions

I was out to dinner with a fella a while back, he asked me a couple of very juicy questions:

Who are you?

What do you really want?

I think they were just meant to be those getting to know somebody new kinda questions. I’m not sure I really answered them at the time as the conversation drifted in other directions, but the idea of them stuck with me for months. I felt if I could really answer them, really answer them, then, well, that would be really something.

I’m sure I could easily knock out 1,000 words on the subject but maybe in part because of the influence of twitter, and that desire to present a full idea in a few short sentences; or maybe because I think when you really know something, it’s simple to say, I thought a lot about how to answer those two questions in two sentences.

An answer came to me in the middle of the night this Spring while I was on holidays (downtime makes for juicy output!) and I jotted it down in a notebook somewhere. It wasn’t until now, as I am rebuilding my life, that I thought focusing on the answer to those questions could be foundation to build on as I recreate my life. So I went hunting through my notebooks…

I am a chick who went so deep she got light.

I want to help people follow the whisper of their hearts.

Incidentally I totally stole the whispering heart thing from Salman Ahmad. He did a lecture at Google and said two things that totally captivated me, and put into language something I knew but never knew how to say:

Everybody has a whisper in their heart.
….that whisper in your heart has strength.

It is an idea that grounds and centers me, puts me back on track, much like the Rumi line: There is a voice that doesn’t use words, just listen.

Anyway, that’s it, that’s me, that’s the force of my life – in two sentences. And it’s a great touchstone to keep coming back to as I make choices about what I do (and not-do) from here on in.

More interestingly though, I’d like to put those questions out there for all of you. In two sentences, answer the questions: who are you and what do you really want?

Take your time, it took me months, but when you can answer them, I think you’ll unveil something about yourself you maybe never really knew. And THAT would be something!

3 thoughts on “Day 87 – two VERY good questions

  1. The choice and resonance of questions is interesting. Who are you? is a question I got almost sheepish about caring about. After intense searching. Then I got very at peace with not answering “Who are you?” I made this peace as a teen, and it’s lasted. Translated for roman script and the internet, my answer is “I am Jyanti.”

    I don’t think that’s me giving up on words or process, I think that’s my answer.

    I do need to learn more about “What do you really want?” Mmm, for a while as a young adult, my answer was “I want to give an adequete response.” (To this amazing planet, including myself, and every bit and being, need and gift of it.) But that’s no longer my answer. I have tried to give an adequate response. Various positions have given me various chances and powers to respond.

    It is interesting, and sweet, that your answer, Valerie, is something that begins with “I want to help people…” People, including yourself, I assume. Which Buddhism (translated?) has helped me to understand. Such an extroverted answer, a little more extroverted than where I’d guess you at. I can relate to wanting more than the whisper of your own heart.

    The fella’s use of the word “really” is interesting too. Almost as if it’s a completely different kind of wanting.


    1. Content with not answering ‘who are you’ … Awesome! That’s so: the Tao that can be named is not the true Tao. Brilliant!

      Yeah, the question of what do you really want changes it powerfully. If he’d just asked me what I wanted, I would have answered: spring rolls!

      And the whisper of my heart calls me to help people listen to theirs. I don’t know if it’s extroverted, maybe more in my introversion I went deep and came out the outer side. What you do for yourself you inevitably do for others.


      1. dear Valerie,

        You’re right, ‘what you do for yourself you inevitably do for others.’ Maybe even, ‘what you do TO yourself… ‘ Yikes! I use the ideas of extro/intro version quite loosely, because I disagree with some of the common and some of the deeper ideas around extro/intro version, but still find the concepts somewhat useful.

        I realize, I can’t answer with ‘I want to help people… ‘ I don’t trust people in general enough to allow everyone that close to my heart, nor to set my pole star by people. Nor do I trust my people judgement, nor my boundaries with friends, friendly aquaintances, family. Even if I could trust most people. I set my pole star by river, earth, sky, mountains, maybe even trees… beings much bigger and steadier than animals.

        But I’m still a friendly person, everyone!


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