Live the questions. This Rainer Maria Rilke quote had landed on me and stuck when I first heard it years ago.
“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. 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 now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
The tarot card reader tells me in a matter-of-fact tone,
“If you feel stalled on your journey know, in your heart, that you are on the right path. It is time to rest before you continue on.”
I breathe a deep sigh. My bursting, grey backpack floats across my mind.
I am supposed to be resting here in Calgary, Canada.
Momentary relief shifts into a grin which spreads across my face.
Don’t the cards know?
Resting is not my strong point.
Unrested and restless is how I feel.
I’m not supposed to be here. I know it in my bones
she tells me to rest.
Doesn’t she know I have a house to renovate?
I am back in Calgary to wrap up a few chapters of my life. To dissolve some roots.
I easily slip back into my comfort zone. This Canadian life is very familiar.
Home for the spring and summer visiting Ontario, Alberta and BC, I treasure the verdant, rolling hills of southern Ontario, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, perpetually calling my name.
I am taken with the familiar Canadian ways filled with “I’m sorries” and over-the-top politeness. I adore road trips, vast open spaces, folk festivals, Canadian food (um, hello my soulmate maple syrup) and most importantly the people.
They envelop me in a beautiful, welcoming web of love, friendship and generosity.
Two years ago I embraced a new identity and lifestyle. Nomad. Traveller. Explorer. I am back, waiting for the renters to leave my house. I have no car, no job. But I have an overwhelming sense of belonging. I am deeply connected here.
Why then, do I resist this life?
It is patiently waiting for me, inviting me back.
Calling to me.
But there is a louder voice.
That sends my heart leaping.
Inner tension mounts as the voices try
I seize my Canadian ways wholeheartedly.
But life is swallowing up my dreaming space.
I am forgetting how.
Oh God, who am I?
Please remind me.
My nomadic identity is fading.
Am I losing my nerve?
Was that me travelling solo on the overnight bus to Guatemala?
Did I walk by myself across that bridge into Panama?
Those French donkeys and the power outage.
Who was that brave soul?
I want to be out living in the world.
But I have a beautiful world, right here.
with family and dear friends.
Live the questions?
They haunt me:
Who am I?
Am I following my heart?
Why am I pursuing this nomadic life?
What is my purpose?
I wrestle with the answers, wishing Rilke had a more concrete plan.
I find solace by the Bow River.
No solid answers come but a breath of wind sweeping down the river valley whispers advice.
Live the questions (oh Rilke – you had this).
Embrace what waits around the corner.
You feel alive when you dream.
Honour your dreaming space.
I wake from a fitful sleep.
A smile is forming.
Maybe I haven’t forgotten.
My nighttime dreams are brimming with buses, boats, backpacks and mazes.
I am on my way somewhere.
I am somewhere.
My mind starts to fill with
the sweet sound of unrecognizable languages,
aromas from foreign markets,
smiles from young children
and waves from elderly women across bus aisles.
I feel alive.
I love the wide world.
My smile broadens.
It lights me up.
I decide to embrace this resting period of which the tarot card reader spoke.
I will honour
the insistent calling of my nomadic spirit
and live my hard questions.
I can hear life calling my name
“the point is to live everything.”
What are your hard questions? Do you have the answers?