Zora Neale Hurston wrote an amazing book titled Their Eyes Were Watching God about 80 years ago. If you have never read it, this is one of those reading experiences that oozes wisdom on every page. But I mention her on this eve of a new year because in that book is a phrase that I think of often, especially as I know that changes often unfold in seasons, or years. Ms. Hurston writes
“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
Which was 2010 for you? Perhaps, if like many others, you were caught in the flux of the great recession, it may have been a year that posed questions for you. Questions like, What do I do now? How do I reinvent myself? What else is possible? Why?
It’s also possible that the uncertainty of the year actually answered your questions. Maybe you didn’t like the job you were in anyway. And this created a much-needed turning point. Whichever way it went, for many of us 2010 was indeed a turning point.
But even if 2010 asked you lots of questions, there is no guarantee that 2011 will answer them. What’s more likely is that you will make a decision to find an answer, or, if not yet ready for one, be open to exploring and searching for the answer, or even lying still enough for the answer to come to you.
In this world of instant gratification and speedy electronic responses, we try to fool ourselves into thinking that we can outsmart nature and speed up the answer process. Hah! Take note that the idea is years to ask and answer.
In order for that to unfold, it requires us to be patient. To listen. To notice. Noticing is something worth talking about a lot more. We have this habit of letting experiences flow by us without taking the time to stop and notice what is really going on for us.
So if even for a moment, stop this new year’s eve and notice. Was this a year that asked, or a year that answered? Where am I in the midst of these questions and answers? How do I feel about them right now? What will I do next with the questions and the answers?
Now you have the foundation for turning the page and starting a new chapter in 2011. Happy New Year!