This summer I attended a week long Live Conscious Retreat or “Lab” as we call them, hosted by Jake and Hannah Eagle. (We call a retreat a “Lab” because it’s a place to experiment and learn new ways of being.)
I changed my life.
To say that the Lab changed my life is true and it is also an understatement. As a result of the Lab and my continued connection with the Eagles and my Lab mates, I continue to learn and grow myself and I delight in my progress.
One of the perks of attending a Lab is the deep connection I formed with my Lab mates and in order to nurture that connection I signed up for the follow-up conference calls, also hosted by the Eagles. Every Sunday evening several of us take an hour to reconnect and remind ourselves of the power of living in the Live Conscious orientation.
Hidden forces in our lives.
In one of our conference calls Jake talked about Virtual Questions. Virtual Questions, Jake explained, are unconscious questions we ask ourselves that greatly determine how we live—but unless we seek to discover what our Virtual Questions are they remain hidden forces in our lives. He then suggested ways we could examine our own Virtual Questions and their effect upon our lives.
One of us participating in the group discussion acknowledged having trouble with intimacy. He described his Virtual Question as, “How long am I going to hide myself?” During the call Jake shared a story about a time when he was feeling the urge to withdraw his energy from his family members. As he became aware of his urge to shy away from his family he changed his virtual question to, “How generous can I be?”
He had switched his question from “How much (of this family stuff) can I take?” to “How generous can I be?” And in that simple shift he changed his approach. He shifted his attitude and his experience with his family became different. He behaved like the man he wants to be. And as a result he felt better about himself.
After the group discussion I thought about my Virtual Question, but I didn’t give it much effort. I avoided the topic because I didn’t feel clear. Today, looking back, I realize I was uncomfortable with the subject—so I put it on the back burner and went on with my life.
I didn’t think about Virtual Questions again until today, when I read an article written by Jake in Elephant Journal. In the article, he explains more about Virtual Questions and how to formulate them to empower ourselves rather than continue to engage in behavior that keeps us powerless or no longer serves us well.
Will you allow yourself to discover your Virtual Question?
After reading the article I closed my eyes, took a few deep slow breaths and asked myself “What is my Virtual Question?” And the answer floored me and I laughed out loud. My Virtual Question is ancient—and it is: “How Do I Get Out of Here?”
Wow. Really? Yes, really. No wonder I have been so unhappy no matter where I am or what I am doing! I am laughing as I write this because my question describes the tone of my life for the last 55 years. “How do I get out of Here?”
Well, that’s one hell of a question, and when I stop laughing I begin to really feel how sad and lonely that girl was that formulated that question. I have lived my whole life looking to get out. Escape, Run, Avoid, Leave, Go.
I believe the effects of my Virtual Question have tainted and motivated everything in my life. I have been restless, antsy, itchy and anxious as long as I can remember. I grew up feeling unsafe and unwanted and I continue to live in those feelings because my Virtual Question has not changed. Until now, until today, Oct. 30, 2013.
Today my Virtual Question is: How much peace and beauty can I find in each day? When I write that I feel myself soften and I feel like there is a pool of warm honey inside me. I overwhelm myself with gratitude that I still have time, I have the opportunity and willingness to change. Despite my anxiety and despite my terrible stories I can choose to live a life of peace and beauty because I can change my perspective.
My ongoing work with Jake and Hannah and the Live Conscious community is about integration and choosing to live with more integrity and impeccability. I can do this now because I don’t victimize myself the way I used to. I don’t hurt myself with my past anymore. And today I will cease tainting the present and the future with anxiety and insecurity because I am changing my Virtual Question.
I imagine that with my new Virtual Question I’ll be more successful at meditation, happier in my work, feel more grateful in day-to-day living and slower in all my movements. And because I am asking to find more peace and more beauty I will see it everywhere. I will find it within and without, in your eyes and in mine and I’ll cease feeling so anxious.
Can it be this easy?
One of the things that I continue to amaze myself with is the simplicity of the act of transformation. In the few minutes it took for me to read Jake’s article, find my old Virtual Question, create a new one and write this blog, I have changed myself. My old Virtual Question will never have the same affect on me as it did before. I have a new question that is congruent with who I am. My old question doesn’t belong to the woman I’ve become, it is a relic from the past. An unnecessary weight I carried for much too long.
I’ve always been a lover of language. I love books and poetry, I love to write and I love listening to the many languages I hear daily in the magnificent city of Toronto. I love where I live, but I have never been able to fully be here because of my old Virtual Question. I imagine that when I leave my apartment to see my client this afternoon, I’ll feel differently about this city of mine. I will embrace it and rejoice that I live here, because I’ll be looking for more peace and beauty—not an escape hatch.
Jake recently said in his Dating, Relating and Mating video course, “Love is easy.” Well, so is change, and growth, and self-transformation. When I change how I speak, when I change the conversation, I transform how I perceive the world. And today mine has moved from a world of insecurity and anxiety, to a world of more peace and beauty.
Please learn about Live Conscious, please come find a new conversation.