“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
in Letters to a Young Poet
I’ve been struggling lately. Ever since I came home from France, I’ve been almost paralyzed with…I’m not sure what. Some fear, some vague sense that I don’t quite know where I’m going or how to get there.
I’ve been asking a lot of questions – who am I, and where do I fit in? What am I trying to say? What am I trying to do?
It’s all been triggered by my big plans for the next couple of years – to uproot and move to France for part of the year, to continue studying art, to take the time to delve deeper into my craft and creativity.
To do this requires a bigger vision of my life and of myself – I’m asking for more life, but in return, I need to be big enough to receive it. Quite frankly, that’s terrifying.
It means being open. Vulnerable. Awake to myself and the possibilities. Surrendering control. Walking tall and proud, not skulking in the back door. It means taking risks, and letting others see me. Being true, transparent and sharing from the heart. Making meaning.
All of the things that I yearn to do, and yet shy away from at the same time.
As I crawled into bed last night, I mumbled to myself, I have too many questions and no answers.
And my brain whispered back:
Live the questions.
Live the questions. Stop trying to find the perfect answers. That’s about safety, about staying small, about not stepping out until I know exactly what’s on the other side – every pebble, every weed, every piece of litter.
Life doesn’t work like that.
I have to step out despite having no idea what the other side looks like. I have to live the questions.
How to heal.
How to grow.
How to surrender.
How to forgive.
How to receive.
How to love myself.
I struggle because I want all of the answers to those questions right this second. I want to Know, I want unequivocal Answers, wrapped up in a neat package with a bow.
If the Universe could send me a letter that says,
“Dear Sarah, you are here to do X, to share Y and to create Z and oh yeah, here’s a million bucks to do it with.”
that would be fantastic. (I am being slightly tongue in cheek here. Sort of.)
But that would take all of the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?
I want the answers because I’m afraid of failure. I am afraid of wrong turns, of being broke, of losing everything, of making mistakes and falling down and scraping my knees. I am afraid of putting my heart out there for everyone to see and having it returned to sender, shattered.
Aren’t we all?
Despite all of that, I am called to try. To write this, despite being afraid you’ll point and laugh and call me yeller (insert Southern twang here). To make art, despite being afraid that no one will want it. To take less safe web design work, despite being unsure of how I’ll make rent each month.
To keep on trying, imperfectly, with hesitant steps. To search the edges of what’s possible in life, to push for more, even if I’m afraid that I can’t have it.