Whether you are facing an incredible opportunity or a paralyzing challenge, three simple yet powerful questions can help you get centered, focused, and grounded. They cut to the heart of the matter quickly by transcending intellect and going straight to the larger intuitive mind for answers. From there, clarity emerges and you find a next step.
Before asking the first question, however, it will help to pause and take three deep breaths. Let each successive breath be longer, slower, and deeper than the one before. Breathe as deeply into your body as you are able. For the first breath, it may even help to bend over as if you would touch your toes. This will assure that you breathe all the way into the bottom of your body. Then slowly return to an upright position and take two more slow, deep breaths.
Notice that as you take these three slow, deep breaths, your inner pace slows down. If you feel it will be helpful, take three more slow, deep breaths before you go to the questions. Allow your breath to help you drop down underneath what is happening to a quieter place. Trust that in this quieter place, you will access another layer of clarity and wisdom.
When you are ready, continue to the questions.
From this quieter place, ask the opportunity or challenge: What is important for me/us to pay attention to in this moment?
Notice that you are asking the situation to talk to you rather than asking yourself the question. This is key to the Transformational Presence approach. The answers and guidance are actually in the energy field of the opportunity or challenge. That’s where we will find initial answers.
Therefore, it is important to let the opportunity or challenge talk to us before we start imposing our thoughts, opinions, or desires on what is happening. Our job is to listen, sense, and feel what is trying to get our attention.
Variations on the question could also be: What is the invitation that is presenting itself right now? Or, What could be the gift or opportunity of this moment?
Ask the question or questions that feel most appropriate to your challenge or opportunity. This first question, along with the preparation breaths, can help bring your attention to what this situation is really about. It can also help you step beyond your initial emotional reactions into deeper awareness and response.
Trust that you will receive what you need in the moment, even if it is not what you expected. As you receive answers or guidance, you might ask another question. Enter into dialogue with your opportunity or challenge. Accept whatever information is available to you in this moment.
When you sense or feel an answer to this first question, pause to take three deep breaths again. Let the information you receive land deep within your awareness. Then when you are ready, move on to the second question.
From your deep awareness, ask the opportunity or challenge: What is the learning that is available to me/us in this moment?
From a big picture perspective, life is about learning, growth, and development. Whatever is happening right now – opportunity or challenge – is a vehicle for learning and evolution for everyone involved.
Sometimes that learning is difficult and painful; at other times, it might be joyous and giddy. Most of the time, it’s somewhere in between. However, focusing on the learning can be centering and grounding. It helps us find a greater purpose in what is happening.
As you sense or feel the learning that is available to you, pause to take three more deep breaths. Let the learning land. Then when you are ready, move on to the third question.
You now have a sense of what is important to pay attention to in this situation and the learning that is available to you through what is happening. This brings us to the last question: From this awareness, what do I choose?
Perhaps your next step is a decision or action. Or it might become clear that, right now, the challenge or opportunity is calling for a particular way of being with what is happening – a particular quality of presence. Or maybe both.
As your choice becomes clear, pause once more to take three deep breaths. Let your choice land inside of you.
Follow That Choice
Following that choice may be all that is needed for now. On the other hand, it might feel as though you have just scratched the surface. It’s all OK. Follow your choice as far as it takes you. Then return to Question #1 and begin the cycle of these three questions again. Each new cycle will take you to another level of awareness.
The power of this approach lies in engaging your challenge or opportunity in dialogue. True dialogue begins with listening, sensing, and feeling before speaking. Trust that there is wisdom waiting to be discovered within your situation, and invite that wisdom to speak.
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