Are you finding it hard to giggle and hoot, wiggle and skip? What about a hint of a smile? Is that even hard? Do you remember laughing all the time when you were a kid? When did you buy the idea that you had to give up your non-stop hysterical giggling and “get serious”? Do you still believe that? Do you think it wouldn't suit you? That you're too old to be silly? That you've got keep things organised and on track? That you're the responsible one and if you don't do it, who will, and there's no time for frivolity? What if you could run a well-oiled machine, help all the ducks and kittens do what ducks and kittens need to do AND smile, giggle, hoot, wiggle and skip at the same time? What if a bit of a giggle even made you look and feel younger and gave you more energy? Like to find out? Then ask “What if I didn't take myself so seriously?” and start with a smile.
Feeling anxious? Panicky? Worried about something or someone? Is that yours? Or someone else's? How many people around you do you hear or see fretting about one thing or another everyday? A few, or almost everybody? And even if they're not talking about it, or showing it obviously on their face, can you feel it? So it should be no surprise that even if your life is actually pretty darn awesome, you somehow feel anxious. If you'd like to change that, next time you start to feel or say “What if this X terrible thing happens?” instead STOP, acknowledge how clever you are to be able to pick up all these feelings, and ask “Whose anxiety is this?” If the feeling lightens, then you know it wasn't yours. Now invite your smile back to the party of life.
Thank you for understanding I chose to take a short break to be with my family at the passing of my father.
Are you having a rough time, facing something tough? Do people around you say or do things that just get up your nose? Does it seem like everything going to hell in a handbasket? Do you frown all day, walk around with stooped shoulders, and snap at everyone (if you can get out of bed, that is)? Would you like to change that? Even if you don't think it's possible and can't see a way out, ask “What if I just smiled all day today?” This requires no thinking. Just pull those lips back into a smile. No matter what happens, no matter who says or does what, smile and be "interesting point of view". If you choose to stay in bed all day, smile at the ceiling. If you need to, pull a big rubber band across your mouth and hook it up to both ears to keep you smiling. Believe it or not, science shows this actually works to change your mood. Are you ready to change?
Do you have someone in your life close to death, or who has just passed? Are you overwhelmed by sadness or buried in mourning? Are you exhausted by trying to help them hang on? Would you prefer another option? If so, ask “What if death wasn't what I thought it was?” What if birth and death were two sides of the same coin? Both transitions into something new, unknown, undefined. We honor and celebrate birth. We smile with joy when we see the limitless possibilities of a newborn baby. What if death brought us similar freedom and possibilities? And what if your smile and conscious choice to celebrate and acknowledge the memories of a life lived, no matter how great or small, created space and peace for the transition beyond? Would that bring greater ease for you around death? What gift could it be to the person passing?
The Questionnaire will be taking a two week break to be with her family at this time. Dad, we know you're in a great place now.
How old are you now? How old do you feel? What do people tell you about age? About what will happen when you turn 13, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and beyond? Does every decade come with a set of rules that people tell you you'll follow? Your body will change. You'll have mood swings. You'll be obsessed with sex. You'll want children. You'll get tired and get fat. You'll lose interest in sex. You'll grow more and more wrinkly, weak, frail, confused and sick. Have you ever seen people that naturally look and act years, even decades younger than their physical age? So you know it IS possible. What makes them different? And what if it were were possible for you too? Like to find out? If so, ask “What if age did not mean what they say?” Then STOP listening to the stories other people like to tell you about what age means and start listening to your body. Do you still feel 5-18 years old inside? Then be it.
How comfortable are you in your skin? Do you feel that you are the complete, natural expression of who you really are? Or do you sometimes feel confused or uncomfortable, not quite yourself ? Whenever you feel a little (or a lot) not like yourself, ask “Who am I trying to be?” There is nothing wrong with acknowledging other people's greatness. But will unconsciously adopting other people's traits create that same greatness in you? Maybe. And you would adopt not-so-great traits for what reason? This question will help you see more clearly the behaviour, thoughts, loves, fights, sacrifices, hopes, dreams or other that are not naturally yours, that you are taking on as yours. Once you can see them, you can let them go if they don't serve you and rediscover yourself. How? Ask, “If I were me, who would I be?”
Do you feel your world is more complicated than you like? Do you feel compelled to make things more complex than you think necessary? When you do a presentation at work, do you make it the simplest, cleanest, to-the-point version? Or do you feel obliged to add all the bells and whistles? When you write an essay for school, do you feel you have to include the most difficult sounding words and concepts? When you find people you like, do you try to impress them with fancy things? Nothing wrong with complex if it's fun, easy, feels light and works for you. And if it doesn't, ask “What if simple were right for me?” Are you willing to be aware of what works for you – simple, complex or in between – and choose that? If simple works for you, it might just work for many others too.
How often have you been told life is a roller coaster? That you have take the good with the bad? That without downs there would be no ups? What if your life had no ups and downs? Do you think you'd flatline? Have you decided that without the thrill of the up-down roller coaster you'd be dead? Do you enjoy being down? If not, then ask “What if my life just got better and better?” What makes your up times? What makes your down? Is it what happens? Or is it your point of view about what happens and your willingness to change? What if your point of view was that you could simply choose to be happy, without needing to be unhappy to experience the difference? What if you remembered to ask "What's right about this that I'm not getting?" What if happiness were just a choice?
Have you ever had a moment's peace in your life? When your life seemed to be coasting along nicely? No? What about times when you think all your problems were just about to come to an end, and then something else happened? Did you scratch your head and say “My troubles just NEVER seem to end?” or “If it's not one headache, it's another!” Now here's a different question. Do you bore easily? Do you always like to have a few (100) things going on? Nothing wrong with that. With ten fingers and toes, you can do at least 20 things at once brilliantly. When did you decide that you'd rather problems to solve, than nothing to do? So if you'd like to create more fun things to do in your life, than endless disasters to solve and people to help, ask “What part of this have I created to keep myself entertained?"
Have you ever had something go majorly wrong in life --a disaster? Like frying your $12,000 car engine and having to scrap it for $100? Like failing an interview or exam that was going to make or break your life? Or twisting your ankle in the final of your own Olympic equivalent? What was your disaster? Looking back, was it the disaster you thought it was? Or did it create space for something you had never imagined possible? In fact, what is a disaster? Is it what happens? Or is it how you receive it? So next time something goes wrong, after you catch your breath, smile and ask "What if is better than I can imagine?" Then with no expectation, keep smiling and breathing. At the very least, you'll avoid the stress and frown lines.