Soul-Shaking Questions And Knowing What You Want

One thing often leads to another. That’s why I’m talking today about two great posts from other bloggers, how they’re connected in my mind and how those posts and this one all lead to approximately the same place.

That’s a lot to cover, so I’ll get right to it.

Soul-Shaking Questions

When I saw Courtney Carver’s post on Be More With Less titled “Ask The Soul-Shaking Question” (I added the hyphen that’s required for a compound adjective) I immediately knew the topic was something I should write about.

To really let simple, minimalist living infiltrate your soul, you have no choice but to ask yourself some soul-shaking questions about what you really want from life, including: Is your current lifestyle working for you? Does it matter?

While I don’t think your soul-shaking questions will taunt you or should cause you to lower your expectations about their answers as she suggests, I think that unexamined lives often go out of control. Those of us who choose to look at life’s toughest questions may find some stress in examining these issues, but we also get satisfaction, comfort and joy from coming through the examination process.

The real purpose of this post is to get you thinking seriously about examining your life even more closely than you ever have before.

Knowing What You Want

Courtney is forever linked in my head to Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, and I’ll explain why after the next big heading, so skip ahead if you must.

It’s interesting that Josh’s February 1 post called “On the Importance of Knowing What You Want to Accomplish” fits right in with the kind of soul-shaking examination that Courtney suggests.

I don’t know if Josh would understand or agree with my logic, but I think many of life’s strangest circumstances can be explained by a simple New Age-y statement: You don’t know what another person’s soul is trying to accomplish.

When you see people whose lives are out of control (perhaps like my neighbors with too many storage building), people whose bodies seem to have failed them from before they were born or good people to whom bad things happen, you may see soul-shaking questions about your faith and your gods.

You never really know what someone else’s soul is trying to accomplish, but maybe you can understand what your soul is trying to accomplish if you ask yourself some soul-shaking questions.

The Link Between The Two

The link between the post Courtney wrote and the one Josh wrote is obvious, I think, but you probably don’t know why these two competent bloggers are forever linked in my mind. So here’s the reason: They are the only two bloggers that have denied my request to write a guest post for them.

Courtney turned me down in June 2010; Josh brushed me off just after Christmas of that year. Courtney said she wanted to get things more established before taking guest posts and would keep me in mind for the future. Josh’s response was harder to understand and made me a bit mad, actually, so I won’t bore you with it.

At the time I wrote to each of them, I wanted to promote my blog to a wider audience, but it didn’t exactly shake me to my soul when those two possibilities didn’t come through. Others did. I don’t write many guest posts anymore (and read fewer blogs than I have in a long time) because I’ve found there are other ways to grow and support a blog.

In any case, there’s a point to point out about this union of people in my minds: Courtney, Josh and I are all still here. We’re all still writing interesting and useful posts, and we’re all still committed to our audiences and to asking ourselves soul-shaking questions about what we really want — and sometimes we even share the answers we’re discovering.

My soul responds well to shaking. Does yours? Have you tried it recently?


  1. Well, Gip, life is a journey and you’re going to get somewhere – period – whether you know what you want or not. Knowing what you want and examining your lifestyle to see if it’s helping or hindering your progress is a simple concept that can be difficult to execute. Then, to top it off, I find that what I want changes with time and circumstances. But isn’t that a key part of the beauty of living? We get to evolve, and maybe even reinvent ourselves, as we move forward.

    1. It’s never too late to tweak or lives or start over again, and that’s a great thing to remember. Thanks for commenting.

      For those who’ve noticed, there was a brief outage of this blog yesterday morning, but all is well now.


  2. Sometimes I have enough trouble figuring out what I want and what direction my own life it taking to be to concerned with trying to figure out what other peoples’ souls want.

    Still, like you I can’ help but see the patterns and relationships, and while my opinion of people is subject to change, first impressions never go away. They can, however, be mitigated by newly learned facts.

    1. That’s a very good way to put it, Mike — impressions are mitigated by new information. Since it’s impossible to know what another soul is trying accomplish, it’s probably best not to try.

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