It’s been a busy summer so far, not a lot of inspiration this week for blog posts. I thought I would publish a piece that was up on Owning Pink last year on July 4th.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.” – Rainer Maria Rike
Today, on Independence Day, I am speaking in front of the congregation at my Unity Church. It will be my first ever public-speaking engagement. I had what I considered a huge spiritual aha about two months ago and decided to make that the theme of my talk. The fact that I am presenting it on the 4th of July is even more appropriate because for me, the experience has been a ticket to freedom.
Like most other people, I have been inclined to seek answers as quickly as possible when a question arises. I’ve never liked the unknown. I chose my major in college because I knew, without a doubt, jobs would be available no matter where I lived. I always set attainable goals and could easily answer the questions of how and when I would acheive them.
In recent years some of that has changed. I’ve been willing to dream bigger than ever before but I’ve also been clinging to my own answers. In respect to my writing goals, I’ve collected facts and information and decided there is a standard way of doing things. But as I’ve taken those paths, I’ve been met with disappointment, and my answer has always been to give up and look for a new project.
This brings me to the quote in the beginning of this post. By creating my own answers and deciding there is a certain way of doing things I have boxed myself in. I’ve been walking around with blinders on and missing all sorts of alternatives. I have not been patient with the questions, I’ve been filling in the blanks. As I’m sure there have been paths opening before me that I’ve missed, I’ve also missed a lot of living by spending so much time with my eyes on the future.
Time and time again I read books about staying in the present moment. Living doesn’t happen in the future or the past, it can only happen now. When I was so busy visualizing my future career and future life, I neglected the present. This aha came to me because I realized I had nearly lost two special friends. One of them told me she thought I’d moved on from our friendship. That wasn’t true at all, I’d just been so busy with my “answers” and planning how I’d get there that I stopped being here for the people I love.
Embracing the Unknown
Right now I am doing a book study that incorporates Creative Visualization. I opted not to sit down and visualize my life when the book instructed me to do so. I realize that any answer I could come up with would be so limited. I was with my family in NC the other evening. My father asked me if I planned to return to teaching elementary school. I told him no. With a puzzled look on his face he then said “But what are you going to do?” Everyone looked at me, awaiting my answer. With peace in my heart, I simply said “I don’t know.”
“Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.” -Rainer Maria Rike