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There are a lot of questions I’ve been asking recently… to others sometimes, but mostly to myself.  There’s a certain benefit in being able to process life with myself– it makes me constantly aware of things in my own life and teaches me how to help others understand me better and understand themselves better– processing becomes a way of life, a characterization of the soul and self.  

Have been processing– helping others process, helping others help me process, and processing myself– a lot lately.  

It sounds more exhausting than it is… there’s something about the engagement, the listening, the reading of silences and pauses, the breaths and specific wording chosen– it’s all life-giving and affirming. 

 It allows for me to feel heard and understood, to know deeply I am not alone.   
 It allows for me to give to another the reassurance you are not alone; i’m listening and hearing you and going to help you figure this thing out.  
I sent over a list of questions to a friend the other day, things that help me process well. 
It’s amazing what we learn about ourselves and each other when we enter this process with people.   If you don’t have a habit of having others in your life helping you unpack the things in your head, I’d implore you to try it for a few weeks– give it a chance; you might like it.  And if you need help coming up with a list of questions that are helpful, well then consider the 2011 gift to you. 
My list and explanation:

good questions for helping me process, whether or not i’m actively acknowledging i need it, include:
What are you thinking?
what does that mean for you?  
how are you dealing with that?  
is it helping?  
do you want another beer?
what do you need right now?  
what else?  
is that it?  
are you sure?  
is there anything you’re not saying? 
what do you not want to tell me right now?
can you say it?  
is that all that’s on your mind about that?
are you being honest with yourself about that?  
are you sure that’s all?  
do you want a hug?  

…  this is not an exhaustive list.  but any of those questions in any amount of frequency in conversations helps.  I think that sometimes i think i’m done, but it’s just because my brain learns how to protect in conversations… i’ve learned- so well that the bastard has become habit and sometimes it fools me until i run through those questions- to share just openly enough that the other person feels i’m being vulnerable but doesn’t think i’m too crazy.  It’s like my brain has all these false bottoms and i/other people think we’ve hit the bottom when we haven’t.  
Don’t ever, ever, no matter what we’re talking about, feel like you’re intruding or like it’s not okay to ask another question.  There will be times I just plain don’t know the answer, or times i’ll have to search for the words or times it’s going to be kinda broken to answer, but i need to press through that stuff.  If something comes up and i know i can not answer a question, then i’ll let you know that (and if you ask “are you sure” then it gives me a way to make sure i’m actually being honest and not just shutting down).

2 responses to “Who’s asking you questions?”

  1. “It’s like my brain has all these false bottoms and i/other people think we’ve hit the bottom when we haven’t.”

    Great insight. I don’t press thru as much as I need to with people. Partly I’m too ADD or impatient.

    Thanks for processing this week.

  2. Heh, “Do you need another beer..”. I think that was my smile for the day. Thanks, I needed that.