Day 17: A – Z Challenge:
“I define poetry as celebration and confrontation. When we witness something, are we responsible for what we witness? That’s an on-going existential question. Perhaps we are and perhaps there’s a kind of daring, a kind of necessary energetic questioning. Because often I say it’s not what we know, it’s what we can risk discovering.” ―Yusef Komunyakaa
Question Your Assumptions; Question Your Beliefs
All my life, I’ve lived the questions. For whatever reason, I’ve known questions were more important than answers.
I think it has to do with a sense of beginner’s mind. I never assume I know. Anything.
I question certainty.
Hitler was absolutely certain he was right. And he was absof***inglutely wrong. About everything.
So was Stalin. And British imperialism. And the hurly burly insanity of the Salem witch trials. And the dropping of the atomic bomb.
And the list goes on.
Being certain you are right, being certain that there’s only one right answer/way/approach to anything, almost certainly means you are completely, astonishingly, gravely wrong.
How can we keep our childlike wonder and our sense of possibility and our openness to the world? How can we not get mowed down by life?
Ask Questions.Wonder about Things. See What Makes Things Tick.
I love Pablo Neruda’s last volume of poetry, The Book of Questions.
In it, he asks questions; page after page of beautiful, arresting, surprising questions.
“Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?
Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?
Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?
Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?”
He sees the world. He examines it with a microscopic eye. He wanders and wonders looking at everything. Everything.
We could all learn a thing or two from exercising that kind of attention to the big and little questions we’re faced with every day.
“Watch everything go. Don’t be afraid. This. This is how you find your way. You don’t notice the changes as they come. You just wake up, one bright morning — sky the color of robin’s eggs — and you realize that you are there. And you open the door and smell the restless air and say a prayer of profound thanks.” — Shavawn M. Berry, A Beginner’s Guide To Change. Live the Questions. Don’t be Afraid.
Why? Why not? What now?
How can we wrestle with the status quo? How can we effectively question and dismantle abusive authority?
How can we not do that?
This world will unravel if we don’t start asking questions about where the money’s going, about the condition of the environment, about the food we eat, about the air we breathe. We must ask questions about militarism and fundamentalism and xenophobia. We must ask questions about misogyny and child abuse and inequality.
We must look at this life on this planet that supports life as a beautiful experiment in tolerance and cooperation and collaboration. All life on earth (not just human life) depends on us doing just that.
Why do the mountains sleep on their backs?
How do babies know they can play with their feet?
Where can I plant my soul and find respite?
How can I help?
What can I do?
Where can I share my gifts?
The planet will have the final say if we don’t start to ask difficult, pertinent, thoughtful, graceful questions.
© 2015 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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