Recently, we offered you a quote in our post, “Living the Questions” from Rainer Maria Rilke about loving and living the questions.
Many of you asked us to share some examples in our own lives of loving and living the questions. Linda and Heather shared what “living the questions” looks like in their lives, and today, Stephanie will share what it means to her.
The phrase “living the questions” is relatively new to me. Historically, I have used the following quote to keep myself from rushing headlong into answers before letting the questions sit within my bones.
“Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.”
Over my lifetime, I have gone on several raft trips down various rivers and often conjure up those memories when I’m feeling unsettled about an issue or find myself fighting with time for an answer. Let me explain.
When river rafting, the likelihood of falling out of the boat on the really rough rapids is fairly high, so everyone is taught one thing before the raft casts off:
If you fall out of the boat, situate yourself
with your feet in front of you and
ride the river until you safely reach the side.
In other words, flow with the river. Having your feet in front of you will keep you from colliding with big obstacles; but other than that, relax until a way out of the river (or back into the boat) presents itself.
The answers to life’s questions are a lot like the journey on a river. Answers present themselves as you drift and explore the various bends, lulls, or rapids that you encounter on your voyage.
When I have time to let the answers arise, I’m often surprised by what I come to understand.
My first answers are often fear-based, scarcity-based, or limiting. Giving myself time to consider different possibilities allows me to see all the options – not just the fear-based ones. It’s a bit like falling out of the boat on a rapid. At first, I’m shocked, and then I’m frightened; but given a few moments to ride the water, I always find my way back to the boat.
So, when life hands you a question for which the answer is important and the path is vague, take time to let the question settle in your bones and just let the river flow. The answer will be coming forth because the river flows by itself.
As you read about our examples, what are your thoughts on “living the questions”? We’d love to know what it looks like in your life.
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