Last week, after spending two weeks exploring “Is Something Wrong with Me?” and “Am I Losing It?”, we offered you a quote in “Living the Questions” from Rainer Maria Rilke about loving and living the questions. Since that time a number of you and some colleagues and friends have asked us to share some examples in our own lives of loving and living the questions.
So today, Linda is talking about what “living the questions” mean to her, and Stephanie and Heather will share their thoughts in our next two blog posts.
I want to start by saying that words like “living the questions” don’t immediately make sense to me and I always feel a bit stupid admitting that. But I’ve found that if I sit with them, I see just how this plays out in my life. In fact, right now in my life, I’m trying hard to let myself live the questions. I can’t say I love the questions, but I understand I need to live into them.
So, what am I talking about?!?
This summer I’ll turn 66. In my younger world, 66 was OLD, and yet here I am working, writing, consulting, creating, and coaching with the energy and passion I’ve had for the past 20+ years. Yet, the reality is I’m almost 66 and, while I hope I live actively to a ripe old age (even if that is 25 more years), I now know that 25 years goes by fast.
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.
I can find myself anxious that I won’t spend my time well and will have regrets—concerned that if I do what I’d really like to do I’ll hurt our retirement plans, wondering if there’s something else I should be doing, exploring what really matters to me in the world, thinking about how old the kids will be when I die and is there anything I want to be sure we do in the upcoming years; looking at my wife, family, and friends and considering how to connect with them deeply. I’m living the questions! So, so many questions and a lot of uncertainty.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
To be clear, I don’t like uncertainty so I find myself looking for answers, and yet, as Rilke so beautifully says, the answers will take time and questions will emerge. If I had decided a year ago what would come next in my life, I would have been mistaken.
Over this past year with the pandemic, I’ve had a tiny look at a life that is less work-centric and more me-centric. And the me-centric is not selfish; it’s a deep exploration of the ways I want to contribute to the world through some tweaks in my work and some explorations of a new conversation.
And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.
I remind myself almost every day that there’s nothing wrong or wrong with me. This is the process of a reflective life.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
There are still more questions, but I’m starting to find some answers …
We hope you’ve found it helpful to read Linda’s experience with “living the questions”. This week, see if you’re able to see what this looks like in your life.
Let us know how it goes!
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If you’d like support in sitting with the questions, contact us today.