A Spiritual Questionnaire: A Guide for Being Spiritually Somewhere

Do you ever look at yourself as a person and think, “Oh my god, I’m not the same person I used to be X years ago… but I’m still totally the same person, just with better articulated versions of the questions I used to have…and maybe a few more answers…”? I feel that way all the time. Sometimes I don’t even feel like the same person I was a week ago because of the spiritual and sweaty wrestling with the universe that happens as I blossom in self-growth. What an extravagantly interesting life we humans lead.

The following is a list of questions posed by one of my favorite authors and spiritual “teachers,” Jim Palmer, and my responses to them as a present snapshot of where I find myself spiritually. I’ve found them to be extremely helpful in putting to words what my spiritual experience is like on a daily basis, and I’m sincerely ecstatic about knowing how you, good reader, would respond to them yourself (even if we are on completely and utterly different ends of the spectrum)!

What makes you come alive? 

I feel most alive when I’m feeling. I come alive when there’s a depth to my emotions, almost like an eternal longing for truth and meaning behind them, or a deep, bellowing empathy/compassion for myself and the world around me. I feel alive when I allow my feelings to truly matter to me, to let them really be.

What satisfies you most deeply? 

As a hearty romantic with a lust for life’s intimacies, I love being swept away in the beauty of knowing that I am loved, and giving love in return. Being in love is easily the most satisfying life experience for me. This feels most completely fulfilled in the deepest of intimate relationships in my life–my marriage–but also takes form in my healthiest friendships and familial relationships.

What fills you up? 

In the same vein of the last question, I am most filled up by knowing that I am loved. I find a seriously obnoxious amount of pleasure in observing my life experiences through deep reflection, and experience love in being filled up with understanding and great empathy. However, I am completely filled up when I let go of observation for the sake of receiving what those experiences, those moments, have to offer me as they are happening. Taking in the present moment, I find that love (of self and of other) is readily available to be received each passing time. Observation, then, is the follow-up to my filling up, if you will.

What brings you joy? 

Hands down, my husband brings me the greatest joy. I’ve never known someone to be as selfless, gentle, and genuinely kind as he is. He’s my every day joy, my everything. Outside of our relationship, I get whimsically weird about engaging with people and art of all kinds. Diversity in experience and expression is, as they say, the spice of life, and I enjoy SOAKING my belly in some super mean hot sauce of experiencing it all in whatever way I can.

What centers you?

My sense of self, my sense of identity, and my sense of value keep me grounded and focused. Recognizing that my personality is bound to grow and evolve, I truly center myself in the knowledge that my heart is a good and healthy place, that God is there, that I am not alone, and that I matter in this world. I cannot imagine a greater peace than that.

What is a source of delight and pleasure for you? 

I think of The Giver here: I love to “turn on the color” of life by seeing everything through my emotions, seeing everything as it really is. I fawn over the times when I recognize myself in someone else, when I find myself relating to them and them to me. I absolutely adore that connection, which is likely why I’m not so great at small talk. Can we just share ourselves with each other already? It would bring me great delight and pleasure! …perhaps that would be too forward to ask… do you think? 😉

What areas, fields, or subjects are you interested in exploring?

I spent some time exploring music and ministry, or really art and meaningfully impacting others, and enjoyed that. I then studied global religion for awhile, and enjoyed that as well. Lately I’ve been getting into politics and social education, and I really enjoy that. I think exploring a combination of all of those things is my next logical step.

What makes you feel connected to yourself?

Honestly… art. Music is always my go-to whenever I feel hazy or confused and need some clarity on what I’m feeling or experiencing. Movies would be next in line, followed by poetry or literature. Sometimes I also meditate to get realigned with my sense of self and worth.

What forms of self-expression are the most gratifying?

I’ve spent so much time trying to answer this question myself and presently, I’m deeply rekindling my love for writing. I feel most effectively communicated forth as a person when I write–be it essay, poetry, or even story telling. There are times, though, when writing a song is really the best communicative carrier for what I’m feeling needs to get out.

What would your sense of adventure tell you to do?

“Get up and go out there. Dance, run, sit, walk, listen, taste, paint… enjoy. Be enlightened, both internally and externally. Do you, boo boo.”

What way of being in the world resonates most deeply with your heart?

I want to be a lover, both of myself and of others. I can have my beliefs, values, and opinions, but at the end of the day I want to be love in this world, whatever that means per moment. Self love, selfless love… it’s all the same to me.

Where does your sense of curiosity take you?

Curiosity might kill the cat but it takes me to some super interesting places. My sense of curiosity has led me both into and out of some very unique trains of thought, as well as both near and far from some interesting people. I’m utterly fascinated by way out-of-the-prescription-box ideas, by idealism, by conspiracy, and yet also by realism. I love going all out weird, and then curiously pondering what that means about real life.

How are you most compelled to aid the liberation or alleviate the suffering of others?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m finding that writing is the most effective mode of self-expression for me. So, that means that I’m finding my interest in social justice, meaningful impact, artful experiences, and spiritual awakening, wrapped in my empathetic approach to life, sees its most complete expression through writing. I would love to capture intimate conversations and experiences of social awareness in my words so that I may craft a more complete and wholesome picture of the world we live in to the world that doesn’t understand it.

Where in life are you inspired to be a tangible expression of love, acceptance, and compassion?

Presently, I’m working on reaching out to the Muslim community and the LGBTQ+ community, in light of their fears of president-elect Donald Trump. I am inspired to do outreach because of the empathetic feelings I have about their human fears and suffering, as well as seeing others feeling the same way about reaching out.

What nurtures a greater love for yourself and others?

Practicing self-love is the greatest way I know how to nurture fullness of love. If I am loving myself and allowing myself to be as I am, I can then understand what other people’s needs are as well. If I encourage myself, I can encourage others. If I can cry, get angry, be happy, and get depressed, I can understand when other people feel those ways, too. If I can love who I see in the mirror, I can love who I see beyond the mirror.

Check out Jim’s original post here:

He also has written 5 books, of which 2 I’ve read. Brilliant. Link to those here:
https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Palmer/e/B001JSBR04/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1481208017&sr=1-2-ent

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