Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

15 Open-Hearted Questions for the New Year - Practice Challenge

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell


There is a quest in every open-ended and open-hearted question.

Who am I?

This is just such a questing question.

What is my destiny?

This is another.

If these questions seem daunting, remember that a true response is always a good response.

“I don’t know,” can be just such a true response.

“I don’t know” can be the beginning of a great adventure. It can create an openness to learning and growth, to more open-ended, open-hearted questions, such us:

  • How do I find out who I am?
  • What makes my heart full?
  • What breaks my heart?
  • When do I experience joy?
  • When I am still, what arises within me?
  • When I am in nature, what arises within me?
  • How do I serve others?
  • How do I listen to others?
  • How do I like others to listen to me?
  • Who is a true companion to me?
  • How do I companion others?
  • What makes me feel dead inside?
  • What makes me feel alive – body and soul?

Practice challenge

(bring a pen and journal or paper):

  1. Find a place of stillness and peace - and invoke stillness within.
  2. Welcome what is.
  3. Let go of thoughts and judgments. When they return, greet them fondly and let them go again. As often as you need to. Lovingly. Each time you let go, you may feel lighter.
  4. When ready, write out each question above, saying it as you write. Then without hesitating - or thinking, if possible - just write down whatever truthful response arises, saying this aloud, too, as you write.
  5. Go through all questions in this way without pause, answering them all.
  6. Then invoke stillness again.
  7. What arises? Note any new open-hearted questions that come. Add them to your list.
  8. If you like, do it again. But don't try to give a "correct" response or attempt to be consistent. Simply embrace what is and what arises. Truth is infinite and enduring but it also evolves - as we encounter it.
  9. Note: if you do not have pen and paper - and you do not have the memory of a computer - no worries. Just choose one question from the list, invoke stillness and truth, say the question outloud and then answer it aloud. Sit in stillness and witness whatever arises. Explore what arises if you wish. Note any new open-hearted questions that arise.

Happy New Year. Happy questioning.

Blessings to you all in all you do, in all you are, in your truth and your questions. May you be truly free and may you witness the light  that is already within you and feel emboldened to share it.

P.S. If you are curious about delving deeper into open-hearted questions, you may wish to learn more about spiritual direction and companionship here and here. And you can even look for a spiritual companion in our Seek and Find Guide. You may also be curious about our upcoming webinar: "Set Your Sacred Intentions for the New Year - With the Interfaith Amigos. More here.


Steven  Crandell is the director of content and communities for SDI. He guides SDI's storytelling and local community-building -- on our website, our blog, social media, in our webinars and through our SDI Communities program. He sees spiritual companions as the catalyst in an ongoing "contemplative revolution." His unofficial job title is "Director of Encouragement."

Add new comment

Two for the Price of None

Learn. For. Free. Discover and Listen. One signup, two great resources. Free.

Help Us Serve More People

Become an SDI member. Great benefits, discounts, and networking. Learn more...