A quote I read a couple of weeks ago by Rainer Maria Rilke really resonates with me at this moment. She says, “Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…live in the question.”
Live in the question. Interesting. At the moment I’m wading through questions; swimming in them, drowning in them even. They are questions about my life and it’s purpose. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life after returning from a journey which was supposed to shed light on the answers, but where are they? Why do I feel so restless? “Patience,” I can hear her whisper. It’s a word that I have yet to master the feeling of.
Well, I’ve decided it’s time to get my head together. I’ve been here in Victoria on Vancouver Island for four months now and I’ve finally settled into a cozy old house situated on a park by the ocean on Cadboro Bay.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect really. My bedroom, converted from a sun room, is bright and even has an exterior door that opens right onto the park.
It’s really quite wonderful. I can sometimes see sail boat masts standing tall above the glittering seascape; their white billowing sails trying to catch a fleeting breath of wind.
Children fly along on the zip line in the park; their excited screams and joyful laughter erupt as they bounce back from the end.
I wandered across the park with my mug of chocolate-mint tea one evening and sat down on the fine, Pacific sand against one of the large pieces of driftwood that adorn the sandy rim of this bay. I consulted with the first star that flickered in the dusky sky and asked it, “What was all this change for? Why did I go on these journeys and make this big transition in my life? I pray it isn’t all for nothing; that there is a reason that will soon become clear.”
An owl flew past at that moment, its flat face focused on the length of the distant shoreline. Its wings flapped propelling its light feathery body forward along the beach until it became a tiny speck blending in with the settling twilight.
I share the old white house with four other people, one of whom is a Buddhist monk. Yes, that’s right. Interesting isn’t it? I don’t see him much since he spends most of his time either meditating in his bedroom or giving teachings away from the house. He is a very kind and compassionate man full of the wisdom of an ancient philosophy. Two others in the house are practicing Buddhists and another is a university student.
We also have a dog, a boxer named Harley, who brings an added happy energy to the house. His stumpy tail wags and his head perks up when I come out of my bedroom in the morning to put the kettle on. He is always eager for a morning rub.
This new living arrangement has come after a few months of flitting around between house sitting assignments and my parents place after my return from South America. The constant disruption of packing my bags, emptying them, hauling my desktop computer around and settling myself into a new place, only to be uprooted again, has worn on me both mentally and physically. My mind has taken on the nature of my scattered and displaced living arrangements, but hopefully that will change now that I’m in a house where I can stay as long as I want to.
It has bothered me that I haven’t written much in my blog lately, but that is a symptom of my scattered mind. My lack of focus has derailed my desire to write, but maybe this is the best time to get my thoughts down. Maybe in doing so I can observe them more objectively and bring some order to my life. Maybe then I will understand my direction more clearly.
Now that I’m back from my latest worldly adventure I feel a bit lost and I fear that there really was no special purpose for any of this. But maybe there doesn’t have to be. Maybe I can settle back into a simpler life and just be content with that. Or maybe the purpose for all of this will reveal itself down the road.
Until that happens, I am working at the university, a 15 minute walk from my new bedroom on the bay.
I’m a casual employee meaning that I float around to different departments for anywhere from one to four weeks. The assignment I am in now has kept me in one department for longer than expected. By the end of it I’ll have worked there for nine weeks. It isn’t a busy job manning the front desk and sometimes I feel like I could be doing something more interesting with my time, but I am happy to have an income to replenish what I spent while I was away in South America and also to support my future travel plans. This really is a fantastic arrangement considering I can book off for two months at a time and still have a job to return to.
Another perfect employment situation is my seasonal writing job with the Abbotsford Agrifair and Mighty Fraser Rodeo. I can write from anywhere really which is why they agreed to have me work remotely from the Island. The season is ramping up and I wrote my first press release on Saturday! Exciting!
My living arrangements are flexible too in that the room I am renting came furnished. There won’t be much to move if I decide to leave, however if I wish to come back to this place I ought to pay for it while I’m away. I’m not sure I would find anything more perfect.
As for relationships I have attracted men who want a ‘no strings attached’ type of arrangement. It’s my energy I guess and considering that I plan to travel again in the near future it makes no sense to get deeply involved with anyone. The interaction is nice though and I have enjoyed a few evenings out in Victoria having some good conversation over a glass of vino, dining at a fancy Italian restaurant and enjoying tasty treats at a tapa bar with one tall, dark and handsome man in particular.
For now this is a good set-up for someone who is looking to fly the coop or even for someone wanting to slowly ease into a new life. It provides me with an income, security and companionship yet I’m not tied down to a permanent job, mortgage or relationship. I feel like a bird who has just discovered that she is free, but who is also afraid to fly back to the cage in case the cage door closes. It’s a funny analogy maybe, but it makes perfect sense to me.
So, as I fly I will ponder and live in my questions. What I think Rilke means by her quote is not to rush the answers to the questions that remain unsolved, but to have patience with the questions. It doesn’t mean we have to ignore our questions and settle for less. Living in the question is allowing the question to be present without forcing the answer and by allowing that through patience I think the answers will come. Your thoughts?
I can feel the beach freedom in these pictures. I have had great spots like this in the past, and combined with a drive of purpose it is quite leveling.
I cant wait for the next update
You are right to live in the question and not force the answers. They will come. Have patience. Patience is not just about waiting for something but about your attitude while waiting. Your present situation IS the answer for now. In the future, another situation will be the answer. Go with the flow. Live in harmony with what is.
Life is like a puzzle with an ever expanding edge. Once the central pieces of the puzzle are firmly in place then, although there is still a restlessness, there is a sustaining purpose in what we do each day. The sense of I becomes smaller and the sense of We replaces it. As we awake each morning, there is a gratitude for all of creation and a desire to make a contribution to the rest of life. In fact, as a favorite mystic explains it, “Once we have done what was to be done. Greed has left us and so have anger and fear. We are no longer interested in our personal pleasure so we are not capable of selfish attachment. There is nothing more that we want from life, nothing more that life can offer us except the opportunity to give.” We iterate toward this state of utter self-forgetfulness accepting whatever comes our way with kindness, calmness, courage and compassion.
Hers is a quote I like, somewhat related to questions, with some hint to the answers:
“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself”