Five queries for anyone

Sketch of a woman's thoughtful face

The queries are for you, your family and friends, your community, or your cause.

They’re queries, not questions – they’re not so much for answering as for dwelling on.

You can ponder them on a walk, on the bus, while cooking, waiting at the doctor’s, whatever.

They can make for a good conversation too.

1. What are you living for?

What do you love? Whom do you love? (Not like but love.) Don’t stop at the three or four things you love the most. If you can, keep going – get to thirty things you love.

Is there anything essential they have in common?

If what you love simply means what you commit to, what are you committed to, actually? How does this show up in how you live and work?

2. What are you thankful for?

As you move into the future, whom do you have with you? Who stands by you?

What else do you have on your side?

It might not be much, but are you glad of it? Can you be thankful for it? Try saying ‘Thank you.’ (Actually say it, rather than just think it.)

3. What is hard to face?

Imagining the future, what is difficult to face? What hard truth is hard to accept?

What will be difficult to overcome? Many things, perhaps. For now, just focus on one. Can you accept that it is hard? Try saying ‘I accept that.’

4. What do you need?

To move forward, what do you need? Not want, but need. How much of what you need is already with you?

Can you say, ‘I have everything I need, we have everything we need?’ If so, do. If not, what is missing?

5. What now?

Maybe, having pondered these queries, you have a little more of a feeling for what you’re living for, what to be thankful for, what is going to be hard, and what you need to face the future.

So here’s the hardest query: what do you need to do next? What do you do know that you need to keep doing? What one thing do you need to do differently?

That’s hope’s work.

Looking to go a little deeper? Try these queries for cultivating hope.



‘To hope’, from Old English hopian, to trust, to hold faith. Origin unknown, poss from hoffen, to hop, to leap.


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