Gray matters are those murky matters that invite deeper thought. These correspond with each chapter of the Momentous Living book, and are here for you to contemplate while reading.
Contemplation #1 Meditation: remembering to breathe
–Close your eyes and take a long, slow, deep breath. Hold it for a few seconds and then release it. Do it two more times. Do you think if you paused long enough to do this (even once) before engaging in a heated argument, it could help the outcome of the discussion? Explain.
–Why would breathing be such a big deal to our health and well-being?
Contemplation #2 Lost: navigating winding paths
–How do we know the difference between winding paths and wrong turns? Does it matter?
–How do we know when it’s best to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” and move past hard stuff, and when it’s okay to be in it, learning how to navigate pain and discomfort while gleaning valuable lessons from it?
–How do we determine when to extend grace and forgiveness to others (or to ourselves), and when to hold someone accountable for their actions? What’s the difference?
–How do we define self-destruction? How can we support someone who is being self-destructive? How would you want support if you were the self-destructive one?
–Imagine yourself waking up in a foreign land––a place unfamiliar, uncomfortable, overwhelming, and quite frightening. In your wildest dreams, you never imagined being in such a place. Your smart phone has gone MIA. You feel very lost. What do you do?
Contemplation #3 Dignity: the center of self
–Dignity has to do with our worthiness as human beings, but what exactly does that mean?
–What do shoes have to do with dignity?
–How would you describe dignity in your own life? What does it feel like? Look like?
–Can dignity be stolen? If so, how?
–What’s the difference between involvement in an outreach to fulfill a civic duty vs. fulfilling an inner passion? Is one necessarily right or wrong?
–In what ways can we positively contribute to society?
–What is the difference between helping, fixing, and serving?
Contemplation #4 Religion: examining taboo topics
–What role does religion play in your life?
–Is there such a thing as being too intent on walking a religious walk?
–Can we believe in a creator, a higher being, a god, the God, but not be religious? Or are they one and the same?
–Who’s to say how religion should be lived?
Contemplation #5 Life: one step at a time
–Describe a situation that seemed too big to overcome. Why did it seem so big? How did you handle it?
–What fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decisions have you made in your life? How did they turn out?
–Describe a situation where you focused on the “cans” during a “cannot” situation. How did it feel? What did you learn?
–Why do we beat ourselves up over choosing to put forth less effort into something we could be better at if only we tried more? How do we not guilt-trip ourselves but also not ignore the fact that we “could” be trying harder. Where’s the balance?
Contemplation #6 Vulnerability: naked and unashamed
–What does “trust” mean to you?
–Can we trust someone with our physical wellbeing, but not our heart and soul?
–Are there different levels of trust?
–What makes us feel vulnerable?
–Is vulnerability good because it challenges us to be more authentic, while exposing more of our parts? Or is vulnerability bad because it challenges us to be more authentic, while exposing more of our parts?
Contemplation #7 Believing: the sacredness of self-care
–What’s the difference between selfish and selfless endeavors, and self-advocacy?
–How do you practice self-care?
–Have you ever experienced a moment where you thought you were moving along better than most, only to get a wake-up call to examine how you’re navigating through this world? How did you handle the situation?
–“I am worthy and capable of being all of me.” Do you believe this to be true? Why or why not?
Contemplation #8 Community: doing life with others
–How do you define community?
–What does a healthy, prosperous community look like? Who determines the standards?
–What does it mean to embrace diversity?
–Are diverse or homogenous communities better?
–How do we measure fair contributions and distributions, and determine their value to our community, whether it be within our family, the town or city in which we live, or our state or nation?
–Imagine you live in a community (family, town, city, state, or nation) that you want to move out of because it’s either unsafe, or oppressive, or you simply disagree with the laws or expectations, but you do not have the means or freedom to leave. What do you do?
–How do you define unconditional love?
Contemplation #9 Voice: courage to converse
–How do you define healthy communication?
–What barriers create challenges to communicating well?
–What topics do you find difficult to talk about? Why?
–What types of people/personalities are hard for you to talk to?
–What can we do to improve communication?
–How can we be heard well?
Contemplation #10 Shifting: peace in the middle seat
–How do you define peace?
–Describe a time you’ve been in transition. How did you feel? How did you get through it?
–Do you ever find yourself pushing through the now to get on into the next? How do you catch yourself in those moments and come back to the present?
Contemplation #11 Vision: pursuing our dreams.
–What holds people back from pursuing dreams?
–Are you living out your biggest, boldest dreams? Why or why not?
–How can we live out dreams, yet miss out on life?
–What costs are reasonable to fulfilling dreams?
–Do you think dreams, the ones we have while sleeping, can provide meaning when awake?
Contemplation #12 Expansion: exploring, learning, growing.
–How do you define respect?
–Words conjure different meanings to different people. Think of some words that easily stir up emotions and egos and discuss them.
–What’s the difference between reconciling and reuniting?
–What areas in your life could you expand? And how?
–What would momentous living look like in your life?