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ASK MERRILY/How do you Arrive at your Answer

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Apr 21,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Dear Merrily,

I enjoy your insightful and forthright responses, and I am curious:  how do you arrive at your answers?  Do you think cognitively about the questions?  Do you meditate on them?  Do you rely on intuition?   I am . . .

Just Wondering

Dear Wondering,
Using all the possibilities you mention, I go through the same process in answering each question.

First, I read the question and realize that I have no idea how to answer it.

I read it again and “think cognitively”, which is not helpful.

The project is then put away until the approaching deadline dictates that I begin.  As I write the first draft, I imagine my answer to be very clever.  But soon I realize that it has come from my head and see it for what it is – a mental exercise of little value only skidding over the surface.  I tangle myself up trying to fix it and then put it away.

Eventually I hear the voice of the person writing the question.  Hearing this voice is the turning point shifting the focus from myself to the other person.

This shift allows me to drop from my mind into the intelligence of the heart, where I listen deeply. [I learned to drop into deep listening during 4 years of intense practice in the ASOS school Integrated Kabbalistic Healing with Jason Shulman (  This is the work I do with clients.]

After writing from this “dropped” place, I reduce the answer to its essential form by meticulously pruning to about 350 words and rearranging.  After a night’s sleep I make obvious “key” corrections and send it to my editor.  

Although intuition plays a role, I cannot rely on it alone.  My training, my work with clients, and my life experience as a ‘child-mother-grandmother-wife-teacher-friend-human being’ all factor into my answers, as does my extensive reading, and studying with many teachers over the past 20 years.  

Although it probably seems that the answer precipitates out of thin air, it is actually refined over and over in an attempt to change lead to gold.

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at

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