Outsourcing Wisdom


Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.
– Rilke

In some seasons, usually the one’s wrought with the pesky and uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, frustration, grief, sadness, I notice I have a tendency to outsource decisions. I attempt to crowdsource wisdom of all varieties:

  • I ask my hair stylist (or hair sorcerer as she likes to be called), “Should I cut my hair, and if so, how short, and how can I look more like Jennifer Garner?
  • I ask my friend, “Should I potty-train Oak now, or wait a while?”
  • Hey google, “What should I make for dinner with these 5 ingredients that will take 45 minutes or less?”
  • Dear therapist, “Can you please tell me what to do in all my relationships so I feel less anxious and burdened?”

Whether it’s a decision to cut your hair or break up with a partner, take the job, pursue a hobby you’ve secretly awed or what to eat for breakfast, I get it. It seems less risky to put the burden on someone else.

But, what if we turned inward first?

What if we stayed there, stayed quiet and still until we do know the answer?


Let’s experiment together:

Get quiet.
Turn the chatter down. Literally. Turn the music and podcast off, the tv show you’re binging (come on, I see you trying to catch just one more episode). Turn off the notifications, and leave all tech tools in the other room. Find a comfortable spot. Close your eyes. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Stay here for 10 breaths.

Be still.
Bring the question you’re pondering to the forefront of your mind. Stay in the stillness. Let your intentional breathing keep you present in the moment, and in your body.

Turn inward, and tune in.
Ask the question to yourself. What is your reaction? Stay quiet and notice how you answer. Notice the signals in your body; is it heat in your palms, a clear voice in your mind, tension or relief in your shoulders, a shiver down your spine? Wait for the answer… keep breathing and see if something shifts.

Trust the wisdom within you.
You are wise. You have access to deep truths through your own lived experience and the divine indwelling within you.

  • What does it feel like to sit with a question in this way?
  • What’s at stake if you outsource your wisdom? What do you gain?

Check yourself the next time you pick up your phone to google an answer, text a friend or vent to a coworker about a decision you’re trying to make.

Experiment with this practice and let me know what you think!

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