Powerful Questions for a More Meaningful Life

I’m in awe of the power of loss as a catalyst for transformation. Whether from the loss of someone you love, a chronic or potentially terminal illness, moving your home, losing a job, ending a career — all these things can throw you into an altered state where you naturally reflect more deeply on your life.

AJ Hess
My mom, Alma Jean Hess

My mom, AJ Hess, died in December. The beautiful memorial my brothers and I created to honor her was this past Saturday. l feel matured to have witnessed my mom’s transition from this life.  Somehow I feel released to be more fully myself. And I’m so grateful, not only for everything she did for me, but also for the way she braved her passage as she braved her life. The force of her will, even in the fog of Alzheimers, was awesome.

Her death has also caused me to question what my highest self wants of me now. Evolution is potentially one of the greatest gifts of loss. And I feel in good company. All around me, friends, clients and colleagues seem to be going through sea changes spurred on by tough events in their lives.

In honor of my mom, I wanted to share some of the powerful questions I’ve been asking myself.

1. Who does my highest self (or God) want me to be now?

2. How would this support or change the vision I have for my life?

3. How would this help me to make a new contribution to this world?

4. What would it cost me if I resist this transformation?

5. Where can I see the seed of this part within me already?

6. How must my mindset change to strengthen this part within me?

7. How must my habits change to encourage this transformation?

8. What actions do I need to take to fully embody this part?

9. What part of myself must I sacrifice to make room for the evolved me?

10. What support systems / mentors /education will help me now?

In many ways, I find that what wants sacrificing — the thing our highest self is longing to release — is often the linchpin of real transformation.

How do these questions land for you? What questions would you add?

When have you been the most reflective? I’d love it if you’d share in the comments below.


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  • bud inzer

    Rhonda, I am sorry for your loss. I am reminded of a line from a poem from Jane Hirshfield entitled When Your Life Looks Back: 
    When your life looks back–as it will, at itself, at you–what will it say?

    At first glance, one might think of purpose or meaning and then I am reminded of another thought by Dostoyevsky: “to love life more than the meaning of life.” I am inclined these days to love life (as it is), to feel deeply into it, rather than understanding it.

  • Camkimdan

    Thank you for sharing both your heart and story, and for outlining some essential questions for us to ponder.  They have, indeed come at a critical point in my life as I am at the crossrads asking myself, “What’s next?” “How can I live my life authentically?” “Why do I feel this fear?” Your additional question have helped me clarify and carve out my path and plans for next steps.  Bless you as you celebrate the life of your mother.
    Aspen Coaching and Consulting

    • Bless your crossroads, Kim!

      For myself — I know I feel fear so that it will mark the moment of crossing a big threshold. But I think fear does hold most of us back unnecessarily. The question itself is beautiful because it allows you to slow down long enough to acknowledge the fear which is half way to moving through it!

  • Lifecoach Anne

    Rhonda, I am sending love and angel embraces your way. May you find loving comfort in your memories . Your questions above are outstanding and provoke inner insights on what we want for our lives. Like so many things in life that happens to us, good and bad, how do we handle those situations is key to our success in growing as a person. Any time we have a loss whether it be a parent, child or even a dear pet, it transforms us into a different mind set. We reflect on so many aspects of our lives with that person  or pet. It’s like we are left alone . I actually see it as a mini rebirth in a way. We soaked in all the love , insights, some times anger, and personality traits from the person who left us behind and now it is our turn to blossom into an even stronger person. Growing on our own once again , like we did when we first went to school as a child, or college. When we took our first trip alone, or got married and moved away from the people we felt comfort with. At first we were scared and felt a little alone, but as time went on we had our loved one’s foundation that supported us, even though they were not actually by our side. I have no doubt that ” what does our higher self want me to be now? ” is a strong person, who is happy, making a positive difference in this world and truly growing , loving who we are at all times. Trust me your GUT knows what you need, so are you ready to move forward and go down the path of happiness ?  

    • “your GUT knows what you need” — so true. Thank you Anne.

  • Rhonda, I pray for God’s peace to guard your heart and sweet memories to fill your mind.  I’ve learned great things from your blogs.  Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • susan

    Hi Rhonda, Thank you so much for sharing this personal journey that you are connecting with. I lost my Dad to cancer 2 years ago on March 3rd and I too asked myself “What is the meaning of this gift of having been with my Dad through his ending journey?”and the answer was walk through the fear of doing something I am very passionate about. I have become a Life Coach in the last 6 months and I still am not sure what it really looks like ,but I do know that I have a gift and I will apply this gift in some way in my life today.Thanks again for your blog it keeps me going, because fear can be very paralyzing for me both mentally and phsyically!

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Susan. I know grief (and transformation) come in waves. If I can help you get your coaching business launched — it’s what I do for a living!

  • Hi Rhonda, I am so sorry for you loss. As others have mentioned in their comments, I am sending love and prayers your way. I know that this is a difficult transition in life for you to cope with but know that you can. I think that is loving and courageous of you to put your journey out here for us to learn from. I really appreciate it. I think that many of your suggestions/questions are great for anyone dealing with any “transition”. Whether it be a divorce, death, change in work, etc. I will definitely be meditating on these questions and passing them along for others to view.

    One thing that anyone/everyone can solace in is that there is a better future ahead. Though the pangs of whatever situation we might be dealing with currently may not leave us entirely, they will lessen and more joy and peace does lie ahead. (Rom. 8:28, 29)

    Thanks again for being unselfish and sharing with us.

  • Keynoncoaching

    I congratulate you for being able to celebrate the life even as you grieve the loss.  Somehow, as we loose our parents, we are left squarely at the helm of the family ship which is a new place for us.  If we use this opportunity to grow and transform, then we have truly used the grief for good.  Kathy (www.parentcarealliance.com)

  • Myra Totten

    Hi Rhonda, I am truly sorry for your loss.  However, I sense that you are at peace with the situation.  Or mostly so, at least.  I for one, have appreciated your consideration for your     readers by keeping in touch from time to time.  You are a very special lady and I know that
    your readers truly treasure knowing you.

  • Darlene


    Thank you for the quality of sharing you do.

    I remember some time back when you asked as a part of your blog post what people thought about sharing personal dimensions of life including our own growing edges.

    What I observe, and feel, is that this fuller picture of who you are brings even greater beauty to someone who already contributes her gifts deeply and mindfully.

    Blessings to you in all the ways that serve.

    • Thank you for your reflection and feedback, Darlene. You made my day!