Barbara Emrys

Taking You Everywhere

We’re all explorers in a way. We’re eager archeologists, digging for the truth under a jumble of odd stories. We want to understand the point of it all. We want to know that life has a purpose. We want to know how things will work out in the end. We want to know why….or what…or who. We just want to know.

Life helps us out by giving us the instinct and curiosity to keep asking questions. Humanity has enough genius to solve some of life’s essential mysteries– which makes us pretty cool. Like good scientists, we wonder. We theorize. We dig and dig, and eventually come up with answers. We find proof. Any proven theory leads to new questions, and our search goes on.

It seems like we’re a species that values the truth. It’s too bad we get distracted– I mean, seriously distracted. We’re preoccupied with things that aren’t real and can’t be proven. We stick to our own versions of events, and ignore the obvious. We spend precious energy playing make-believe. We act, and we act out. We fib, we exaggerate. We deny simple truths, even to people close to us. We lie to ourselves, for no good reason. And we wonder why everyone else can’t be more honest!

Storytelling is our amazing talent. It’s an awesome art. How much greater this art would be if we didn’t use it to hide the truth. What if our ideas routinely solved life’s subtler mysteries? What if, in idle moments, our thoughts didn’t make us anxious and angry? What if they posed transformative questions instead? 

“Does a smile really have the power to heal?” we could ask ourselves, and then do some practical research on the subject. “Is it possible not to take everything personally?” we could wonder, and then experiment a little. “What is a belief, and why do my beliefs make so many important decisions for me?” Once the questions start coming, our views of life start to change. And that’s a good thing!

We’ve all been known to ask ourselves questions without really wanting an answer. “Why did I just say that?” we might worry after snapping at someone, and then forget about it. “Why am I so mean sometimes, or so defensive? Why do I judge people?” Questions like these get to the heart of self-importance, a topic that can offer life-changing insights. We can ask, observe, and learn. We can modify our reactions… and then we can dig deeper. This is how transformation begins.

“What makes me so afraid?” A question like that needs to be answered honestly, or the fear will never go away. Remember, no one can challenge you, but you. By challenging yourself, you change. With change comes greater awareness. Wherever you put your attention, you’ll find life is right there, ready to play.

“What do I have in common with a star…or a starfish…or a stranger…?” These aren’t just questions; they’re invitations. Move your attention to new places, and the fun begins. “How can I open myself to love? What is it like to be fearless? How can I change at the speed of life?” If you’re not sure what those questions mean, make an effort to find out. Shift your attention. Dare to ask. Dare to see. 

Rise above the noise and the folly. From a space-like silence, hear your rambling mind. From the vantage point of eternity, observe your little dream. It’s not so hard; life gave you the skills. You were made to ask, to look deeper, and to discover. Your mind was designed to imagine…and imagination, as someone smart once said, will take you everywhere.

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