Questions. We all have them from time to time. We learn ‘Why?’ as curious little children and ask it about everything from the color of the sky to the reasons we have to eat things we don’t like. For some of us that curiosity stays with us all throughout our lives. Interestingly enough though, at a certain point, that question turns on us and we find ourselves on the other side of the question mark struggling to offer answers. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ is another tough one that lingers long after the childhood years and even resurfaces in adulthood when we’ve already taken great strides to become our grown up selves. My experience is that the questions get bigger and deeper as we grow into ourselves: What do I want out of life? What is my purpose here? Who am I really underneath all of this confused thinking? It can all become a bit overwhelming. Especially considering that life is always changing, which means our answers are always shifting, and sometimes some same old question, already resolved, rears its ugly head again and we find ourselves not knowing.
Anyone who knows me, even a little is completely certain that I’m going to offer yoga as the be all end all answer to every question and everything that ails you, and it’s true, I highly recommend it. My yoga practice and the strength, flexibility, and clarity that grow out of it have been my medicine for everything for the better part of 10 years. There are thousands of ways to come back to center though, an endless list of ways to deeply connect with oneself. For some people, it’s playing music. For some, a walk in the woods. For others, it’s digging in dirt and planting seeds. I’ve seen people surf waves with such awareness and precision that I’d be hard put to say they weren’t in a state of yoga. But what, for me, has become the answer to every unknown is greater than even my yoga practice. It’s the thing that makes me get back on my mat even in life’s most difficult moments. It’s faith that there is a force greater than my teeny tiny self that allows things to cycle and turn out exactly how they should, and a longing to be connected with it. If a singer doubted her song, it wouldn’t sound quite as beautiful. Nature, freshly planted seeds, waves, they don’t get stuck in asking questions. They rise and fall all in their own good time, growing up and out and then blending back into Source. They simply are how they are without confusion.
There is a passage by Rainer Maria Rilke that always comes back to me when I’m feeling lost.
“…be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given, 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.”
The answer, it appears, after all this long searching, is in simply not asking, not rushing to find the answer, but being content with just not knowing. The journey of life can be a long and winding one and the best we can do is let go of the notion that we can control any of it. Live the questions. Do whatever makes you feel most whole with passionate abandon, do yoga, make music, plant a garden or walk among tall trees, surf the waves of everything rising and falling, and just enjoy the ride.
Nicole is a yoga teacher and freelance writer from Philadelphia, PA currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An explorer at heart, she travels quite a bit, but wherever she goes finds herself at home in nature. She’s happiest barefoot, loves chamomile tea, chocolate and enjoying the simple things in life. Read more about Nicole and her journey at: pacificyogaba.blogspot.com Also, follow her on Facebook and Twitter! Photo by Federico Di Fresco.
hot on elephant
The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. These People are Rare Gems—Keep Them, Fight for Them, don’t Give Up on Them. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.” Waylon shares 10 transformingly beautiful Quotes about Love. My Marriage had to End—for my Life to Begin. 40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years. Why your Yoga Goals are (Probably) Irrelevant, if not Downright Dangerous. The Day I Stopped Running.