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Mom’s key to happiness….

#1. Asking questions

I know the #1 implies I’m building a list, but I haven’t really thought out a list yet. This is just something I was thinking about this morning, during a morning workout (which was my first since my mom passed, and it felt better than I thought).

One of the many things I love/loved about my mom was her insatiable thirst for knowledge. She constantly was questioning the how’s, the why’s, the who’s of the world. People often marveled at her wide understanding of topics ranging from trees to blood vessels. She never went more than a minute without asking “why is that like that,” or “what’s the history behind that?” My whole life I watched her questioning with innocent, childlike enthusiasm the world around her. I believe she knew deep within her that this really was the key to happiness, the key to a rich and full life.

I really believe that the human ability to ask why is one of the greatest gifts we have. It is what drives growth, development, civilizations, companies, families, music, art, poetry, really the human spirit as a whole. Everything man made in our lives today is the result of someone asking a question. My mom loved that, and she lived it.

Her greatest questions involved the topic most people are scared to death to face, herself. Not only did she feels things with such depth and richness, but she also loved to question feelings. She constantly asked “why do I feel like this,” or “what is causing these feelings,” and always “how can I understand me better to love those around me more?” I love that. I’m working to live by that. I mean most people go their whole lives just feeling the way they feel, without ever understanding what’s going on. We are really, really complex creatures, with even more complex thoughts and emotions. Everything in the world around us is filtered through complex, life evolving layers and lenses before being processed in our brain. She never, ever took the answer “that’s just the way it is.”

This is how my mom could tell you a complex history of Appalachian miners, why she believed in astrology, how the lymphatic system worked, what kind of tree this was, how it delivers its seeds, its history, its smells, the texture of its leaves, how the tides worked, all of the planets, all of the bones (I’m serious when I say all), and more in a single hour of conversation.  She always had to know more, the more she knew.  She was really not a fun person to watch jeopardy with, she would answer before I had processed the question.

Question the world around you for growth, for change, for adventures, and for appreciation of this complex universe we live in.  No question is a stupid question, and no answer is a boring answer.  That’s why she loved each day.

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