Live Now!

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

It just amazes me how good questions lead so naturally to good answers, and how beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we’ve opened the doors to discovery and wonder and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that matter every day.

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A friend once told me she wanted her tombstone to be inscribed with two words. “She Lived!” Since that time, I’ve been exploring the deeper implications of that phrase.

Join me this week as we look at ways of being fully present and fully alive, moment by moment. Stay with me.

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Photo: Scott Lennox


A couple of years ago when someone asked how I accomplish all the things I do as a counselor and painter and poet and podcast producer, I glibly replied that I haven’t owned a television for twenty years. I knew my playful answer didn’t really address the question, so I went on to explain that surviving more than a few life-threatening challenges awakened a passion in me for living.

As I worked my way through those struggles, I made a conscious choice to reach deep inside myself and taste life as richly as I possibly can. That means learning all I’m capable of learning and meeting each day head-on. And it means being fully alive and fully in the moment, bringing myself back to that place each time I forget.

Over time, it has become my default state.

Being fully alive isn’t about being heroic or super-human. It’s not about being extraordinary or exceptional. It’s about choosing to experience our lives as vitally and vibrantly as we can, regardless of our circumstance or physical condition, and regardless of what others may think about it. You may know people with disabilities or physical limitations whose vitality and commitment to being alive outshines many so-called able-bodied people.

Such people show up and stay present instead of allowing themselves to shut down and wither.

That begs the question, “Could our mental abilities—could the things we choose to think—open the pathway that will help us overcome or live with our challenges in more effective ways?”

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Around two hundred years ago, the naturalist and essayist Henry David Thoreau wrote that most people spend their lives in what he called “quiet desperation.” In that state, we never reach our dreams, and some don’t dare to dream at all. In that state, we’re not being fully present with the experience of being alive. I’m guessing you’ve met people who fit that description.

Thoreau’s statement inspires me to ask several questions. Principle among them are the two tandem questions, “What does it mean to be fully alive?” and, “If we choose to do that, how do we go about making it a reality?”

Let’s take those questions one at a time.

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As I suggested when I contrasted so-called “able bodied” people with those who have some form of limitation, being fully alive doesn’t necessarily mean running marathons or climbing mountains. It doesn’t mean writing the next best-seller or having a starring role in the next blockbuster film. It doesn’t mean heading a Fortune 500 company. It certainly doesn’t mean outshining other people or thinking ourselves better than they are.

It means opening ourselves to the degree we can, engaging with life as it presents itself from one moment to the next. I’ve known people who are blind or missing limbs who do exactly that. You’ve probably known them too.

Just now, I’m remembering Mike, a boyhood friend who was bedfast for more than a year due to an illness that crippled him. His father built a wide rolling table to span across his bed so they could build model airplanes together. I still marvel when I think about how vibrant my friend’s excitement was as he talked about the squadrons of World War I and World War II models they suspended from his ceiling in aerial dogfights. To add to the realism, his father painted the ceiling like sky and clouds.

The effect was dazzling.

But even more impressive than the lifelike painting of the sky or the intricate models they built with such precise detail, what struck me then and still fascinates me is how utterly alive Mike was even though he was unable to walk or stand or leave his room without someone helping him.

He confided in me that his legs and back ached constantly and that the pain would awaken him in the night, often bringing him to tears. He told me how much me missed going to school and missed playing with his friends, most of whom stopped coming to see him. He also told me that he was often afraid he might not be able to heal, and that when the thoughts came, he pushed them out of his mind and got busy doing something else.

For all he was going through, he was somehow able to accept what was happening to him without giving up and without giving in. With the encouragement of his parents and by focusing his will, he learned to use his mind to set himself free within his limitations and in the midst of the multiple things he couldn’t change.

I’ve often wished I could tell him how much he inspired me to savor my life when my own struggles came. How many times have I reminded myself, “If Mike could do it, so can I”?

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Using my friend’s remarkable situation as only one example among countless others, let’s return to the question: “What does it mean to be fully alive?”

What would it mean to you—what would be different—if you made the conscious decision to be as present in your life as you can be? What would change in your relationships with yourself, with the people around you, or with the world? What would have to change in your thinking or your attitude to make that a reality?

And asking even deeper questions, what things have you been keeping yourself from doing for some half-hidden reason? What imposed rules or prohibitions have you accepted from someone else that are keeping you from being vibrantly alive? What dreams have you put away for whatever reason you abandoned them or let them go?

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Leaning into the question about how to make the choice to be fully alive a reality, I won’t make the case again for the direct interplay between what we think and what manifests in our lives. That becomes more than obvious to anyone who is willing to look there. On the other hand, I will point to the fact that living fully and being as fully present as we can each rest solidly on the choices we make and are not dependent on the things that have happened to us or may be happening now.

We ALWAYS have the ability to choose.

That being the case, I invite you to take all the time you need as you consider this week’s Beautiful Questions, which are crafted to help you become more alive and more present.

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Question One: What small and deliberate steps will you take to keep yourself more in the moment, instead of allowing your moments to drift past you unnoticed or unappreciated?

Question Two: Since it’s completely possible to reclaim them, what dreams are you willing to do to bring back that you’ve put away or talked yourself out of?

Question Three: What will you tell yourself—over and over—that will allow you to stay present with yourself and other people, responding instead of reacting or over-reacting?

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When you’ve sat with them a while, write and tell me where your consideration of these questions have taken you. I’d love to hear your thoughts about them.

As I say each time,
My Light with Your Light!

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I’m happy we can engage this way as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world. It’s a great way of spreading peace.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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