Is the path I’m on as a writer really what I should be doing to make the changes in the world I want to see, or should I be out on the streets one and one with people? -anonymous Joyfully Bea blog reader

How do things change? Can I affect change? Why do I write? Is it personal, political, both?

Why do I constantly lurch forward into the future? What do I think will happen someday? What is the point of long-term goals anyway? Isn’t the world going to end in 2012? If the word will end in two years should I care so much about getting a new car, paying off debt, setting up an IRA?

What’s wrong with the world? What do I want to be different in the world? What do I want to be different in my life? How can I relate to others with empathy and compassion instinctually, without needing to coach myself into it?

Why is the truth always changing? Are there books in libraries that have never been read? Does the holy dirt at Chimayo Mission really heal psoriasis? How do we heal and what for? Where do we go when we are wounded? What helps us grow new skin?

Where am I going? What is carrying me along? Who is moving me forward? Who walks in my skin? When I leave who will come with me? When I stay who will be there? Who will be part of my life ten years from now? Will I live to be my Grandmother’s age? Will I make it to 40 or 50? What’s happening in my liver? What do my ears hear the sound of? What do I taste with my tongue?

What do I remember about growing up? About being part of my family of origin? About going to three high schools in as many years? About college? Why didn’t I go to any parties when I was in college? Why did I party so much the first year I lived in the Bay Area? Why did I come here to Oakland? Why am I leaving Oakland now? Where am I landing when I leave here? Where is ‘here’? Is it constantly shifting? Do we ever go backwards? Are we always moving forward even when we have déjà vu?

Who will leave the light on when I come in late? Who will run the hot bath so its ready when I arrive in the dark, cold and soiled by the day? Who am I really? Where have I been? Where am I going? What will happen next? How did this or that thing go? Is there anything else I need to do now? Is there something I’m missing that I need to see?

Where? How? What? Why?

How to hold these questions as if precious antiques I wanted to save for my grandchildren who may or may not ever be born?

Writing prompt: Take a question that grabs you from this commentary or elsewhere and let your pen run wild on the page for a set amount of time. You could write more questions, you could postulate your own theories. Just keep the pen moving and make space for whatever wants to come out.

Text and images by Beandrea Terese Davis. Copyright 2009. Check with author before reprinting.

“The right path?” is the third installment in a series called Live the questions that is ongoing through 2009. The question was contributed through the Live the Questions Experiment Portal which is available for your anonymous inquiries here. Based on the idea of learning “to love the questions themselves”, as Rilke put it, this is a space for communal inquiry into Life’s many questions.