Closing in on “Why”

Little Miss Muffet.
Sat on a tuffet.
And her name was Krista Tippett.

I’ve got it bad for Krista Tippett, and I don’t mind saying so.

Stratospheric IQ. Profound spiritual curiosity, and a vocabulary that puts mine to shame. Aces.

Krista Tippet is the NPR radio personality for the show, “On Being.” If you’re unfamiliar, it is a program, usually from a first-person perspective, that is, Krista’s perspective, on religion, spirituality, philosophy, and ethics. Krista’s perspective is often an enlightening one. A former Fulbright scholar with a Masters of Divinity from Yale, her show won broadcasting’s highest award, the Peabody Award, in 2008 for an episode on the poet, Rumi.

Absolute crack for my mind. It’s everything I love, hold dear, obsess over, stay awake in the middle of the night musing about, and generally just plain dig.

Despite being an NPR fan-boy, I hadn’t heard of her show prior to hopping in the car one day, turning on the radio, and being absolutely mesmerized by the combination of her voice (the way she enunciates charms me; her erudition is, well, sexy) and the topic being covered. On Being talks about wildly polarizing topics in a way that is immersive, expansive, expressive, respectful, and open.

All my life, philosophical questions were the norm. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me to learn that I was always dubbed the “weird kid,” asking questions that my friends and parents would tell me either had no answers — or worse, shouldn’t be asked.

Of course I would go through my preteen and high school years actually believing that I was the weird kid. It wasn’t until after college, the birth of a few kids, and the onset of midlife crisis when I discovered JRR Tolkien’s writings. And when I came across, “not all who wander are lost,” I realized I had been sold a bill of goods.

“And so the angel told Tom / if he’d be a good boy / he’d have God for his father / and never lack joy.” William Blake

Wandering, exploring, and becoming saturated in your current moment isn’t weird, it’s being alive.

But it’s awfully hard to realize that when you’re young, approval-seeking, and simultaneously labeled by a duplicitous culture.

Anais Nin wrote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” I certainly understand now, that I looked at the world through the lens of my Self then as an overwhelmed and fearful child who was raised not only to never question authority, but rather, to seek to gain its approval by being thorough, committed to excellence, and trusting that devoted service would always elevate the faithful.

Suffice it to say, I’ve become a different person, and my lines of sight have changed. You could also say, I’ve switched lenses.

Subsequently, it bares noting that, as physicists have proven, as we observe things, we change them.

Here’s hoping some open, vulnerable introspection can do a body — and soul, a little good.

Currently, I’m enrolled in Simon Sinek’s Why University. Why University is a straightforward course that leads you to uncover developmental patterns in your youth. As a result of the exercises in this course, I’m unearthing long-repressed emotions, names, faces, and experiences that are forming a very clear pattern. Some very well-meaning adults along the way, in combination with the aforementioned overwhelmed and fearful child, led me in the direction that I would ultimately pursue with my work and career before these patterns had completely taken hold.

My current work and career, probably like yours, bears little resemblance to my early natural inclinations and feelings toward what I held — and hold — dear. I am attempting to identify my most natural patterns and affinities so as to be able to declare what Sinek calls my “why.”

He compellingly states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

People who identify with, articulate, and are attracted to the same beliefs maintain the most enduring and fruitful relationships.

Understanding your Why, your personal cause if you will, is applicable not just in a business sense, but towards being able to ultimately inspire those around us. As a storyteller, I seek to unify and develop, and nothing unites and builds like inspiration.

So. Simon and Krista, thank you for the work you’re doing. Please continue.

Chico: “The garbage man is here.”
Groucho: “Well, tell him we don’t want any.”

I feel as if I am delving deep in a spiritual and historical hamper of my own dirty clothing. I’m convinced that something of value is down amongst the orphaned, smelly socks and the stretched-out tidy whities. I am undaunted. I will find my treasure. And I will emerge, dressed in my inspirational Sunday best.

Well, ok. Maybe not Sunday.


2 thoughts on “Closing in on “Why”

    • Clearly, we expats need to stick together. We’re surrounded, ya know. It’s one thing to search for meaning, it’s another altogether to attempt to use the forces around you to bring meaning to bear for others. And that’s the frustration for The Mindful who have day jobs in advertising and marketing. The tools at our fingertips are so powerful, but their current applications can be…disappointing. Thanks for the encouragement and the read. Stick around a bit.

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