How ARE you, really?

Posted by on June 20, 2017

How ARE you, really?

how_are_you_feeling_today__by_avatarjessRecently I was walking into the library while an older gentleman was walking out. I smiled and said, “How are you today?” He replied, “I’m blessed. How are you?” As we passed each other, I responded without looking back, “I am, too, thanks.”

While the exchange was pleasant and reminded me to be grateful, there was no pausing to be really present. It was friendly, but absent-minded. I’m sorry to say, I do this a lot. Even with people that I am close to and care about deeply.

I read an article by columnist Omid Safi not long ago, and he wrote:

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.”

What a gift to pause, look someone in the eye, and ask them, “How are you? How is your heart?” And then listen to the answer and accept it, without attempting to change a thing. (This is for you folks like me, who want to cheer people up if they are feeling bad!) What a gift to share an intentional, heartfelt moment with a loved one – or maybe even a colleague or stranger.

Also notice how you answer the question, “How are you?” How many of us answer, “Good” or “Fine” without even thinking about it? I’m afraid I’m guilty of that, too, although I’m trying to do better!

Where are opportunities for you to break your stride, slow down and ask, “How is your heart today?” Or maybe give a thoughtful answer when someone asks, “How are you?”

p.s. I’d love to hear how you are! Your comments are most welcome on this post at

p.p.s. Quick note for young professionals in Memphis… There is one slot left in the career coaching group starting in July/August. Details are here: