Live the questions now…

Queen Anne's Lace at dawn

I am still pondering this August theme of peace and simplicity (announced assuredly and confidently in the first blog of this harvest month.)  Naively, I assumed it would be a breeze, a piece of cake, an easy assignment to contemplate peace & simplicity during this month.  To somehow integrate it more fully into my life–and this blog.

Alas, I feel like it’s…not…quite…working.  Here’s why.  


Every day, I vow peace & simplicity.  To think about it.  To embrace it.  To ponder it.  To ask more questions about intention and motives.  (Well, not every day.  But every day I remember that this is the August theme.) But peace & simplicity are not easy things to categorize. It seems like there more often exists a dance between peace and tension, simplicity and abundance.

For example.  Today I worked during the morning.  Fairly peacefully.  Came home to pick garden beans.  Our garden overfloweth.  This is a good thing, right?  Except…somewhere in the midst of canning Dilly Beans…I got a little cranky.  Well, a lot cranky.   

Because The Husband suggested that we need to make some freezer pickles.  Try to use up the thirty green cucumbers lined up on the kitchen counter.  It felt like A Little Two Much Work at the very moment of dicing, measuring and canning.

Not very simple.  And any sense of peacefulness dissolved with the thought of doing more canning/freezing.  Plus, the brocoli needed to be picked.  And I had a meeting tonight.    

Opening up

OK, let’s forget about busy-ness and gardening and canning and freezing.  Let’s just talk about blogging.  I have cut WAY back on photos and words in an effort to honor the aforementioned theme.  Pruned the content, shall we say?  Attempted to express many of these blogs in a way which touched on peace & simplicty…but…but…haven’t quite succeeded.  

My vision was:  post a couple of pictures, say a couple of words (OK, paragraphs) and press “Publish” quickly.  But here’s the dirty truth:  too many words leap at the corral of my brain and beg, beg, beg to come out and share.  Some nights the words are in rebellion.  They are like a herd of wild horses about to tear down the fence.  They shall not be fenced in!  They shall not! 

Shall still continue to contemplate simplicity & peace this month, although maybe more in my head than the pages of this blog. I want to keep asking more questions about everything.  What is really needed?  What can be let go, released?  What preconceived beliefs create tension?  To look more deeply.

Wanting to share a precious quote with you.  About asking more questions.  About learning to love the questions themselves…without even needing the answers.  Until we suddenly notice we’re living them.  Living the peace and simplicity we were once questioning so earnestly.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart  

and try to love the questions themselves.

Do not 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 answers. 

  –Rainer Maria Rilke, LETTER TO A YOUNG POET 

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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29 Responses to Live the questions now…

  1. You cranky? Naw, I just can’t see it.

    We just had fresh cucumber salad for dinner — that wouldn’t take care of 30 cucumbers (unless you had the whole town over for dinner), but it would take care of a few.

    I’m so glad that the words wrestle themselves out of your brain and onto the page. I think that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

    I laughed when you referred to Barry as “The Husband.” I often refer to Len as “Himself.”

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, cucumber salad is good…very good…I do tend to get cranky when I feel out of control work-wise. But it all ended very happily. The Husband and I even enjoyed some time together out on the deck before dinner. With all chores done before the meeting.

      This was a very hard blog to write. It didn’t flow out effortlessly. It took a lot of thought and editing and re-writing, trying to express…Something. I like it when the words come out peacefully…when they’re not wrestling. lol.

  2. Kathy
    Yes the questions nag us..

    Although I have been only blogging a short time, I feel extremely peaceful to communicate and really commit to a type of journal that I could not keep going in a bOund journal…


    • Kathy says:

      Kim, those questions, those questions… I like questions best when you keep going deeper and deeper and start feeling like they’re bringing us to a new place of living more fully. Wonderful to hear your blogging on-line journal fills you and that it’s been so peaceful… blogging has been a joy to so many of us.

  3. Asking what I call the 5 why’s always intimidaes some or really. Most, probably because changing and living more fully is scary to them….change even scarier.
    Why Why Why Why Why

    • Kathy says:

      Kim, one of my favorite questions these days comes as I reach for a frozen cookie (even though it’s a healthy cookie): “Am I really hungry?” It’s surprising how often the simple answer is, “No.” Then the question becomes “But what am I hungry for?”

  4. Carol says:

    For me, my time for peace and simplicity is my coffee time in the morning and the glass of wine time before dinner in the early evening – on the deck during warm weather, in the morning room when it’s not so warm. No thinking about what must be done, just time to let the mind wander about as it wishes. I think one cannot really control peace and simplicity. We can work towards it, but we can’t control it. It’s easier for me now – I’m retired, I allow myself a certain amount of laziness (no more big vegetable garden, weeds are allowed to grow taller before I pull them, for instance), and I guard ferociously my time for me.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, it feels peaceful just listening to you and imagining your quiet time on the deck. Our deck is peaceful too… Love your words about working toward peace and simplicity, but not controlling it. That distinction is probably key. Thank you!

  5. Dawn says:

    Perfect timing. I have many questions right now and am actively seeking answers. Perhaps I should just wait and see how it all turns out.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, sometimes it seems too much to write a personal blog–blah, blah, blah about personal feelings and impressions–but then I think “Other people are going through the same things. Maybe sharing my process will assist others in theirs.” It’s good when we can share with one another.

  6. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Oh, Kathy…..I do so understand what you are saying. Trying to define simplicity, to find words that describe what it means, what it is, how it feels. I found I couldn’t do it when you asked this question a few days ago. I was really lost. Without words and with thoughts and feelings that seemed to be just the opposite….not simple at all, or peaceful. Oh my goodness, not peaceful at all!!
    And that’s been OK. All of it is there….a package deal, so to speak. The beautifully simple and peaceful and that which isn’t! And the funny thing is, this has brought me closer to a sense of what simplicity is, or what it feels like, than anything else has (if this makes any sense at all).
    Yes, maybe the point IS to live everything. To live the questions without needing answers. A beautiful quote!

    • Kathy says:

      Interesting, Colleen, isn’t it? How this topic was actually bigger than it seemed upon first thinking about it. The package deal seems to be key. To somehow hold it all as one, to allow that to be OK. I loved that quote. To live the questions without needing answers. It feels like a soul-sparking match. Thank you for understanding.

      • Colleen Lloyd says:

        Kathy, I wonder if “living the question now” is simply being ourself. And if simply being ourself is really all that there is. That maybe, just maybe… all of the “rest” doesn’t matter much at all. To be able to let it all go and just for a moment rest in this place. Oh, it seems as if this must be a wonderful place to be 🙂

  7. OM says:

    All of a sudden, as I contemplated what you were saying, Kathy, I had a new realization: That simplicity is not a matter of amount, nor is it a matter of or opposite to complexity. It’s an opposite to conflict, or disharmony, or some internal inconsistency in whatever.

    Something fighting within itself is what is not simple. That inner tripping itself up makes the matter very unsimple!!!! Yukky feeling!! Blocks, frustrations, hesitations, self-sabotage….

    So perhaps for me, simplicity is peace is harmony is flow.

    Now isn’t that nice, because I don’t have to struggle to keep those word-horses out of it, and all the complexity in the world is allowed to be in my Simplicity. I bet I can even make room for Inconsistency (as changeableness, not as internal contradictions) in my Simplicity, if I ponder some more!!!

    And maybe if I could get a big enough Picture, even those unsimple things could seem simple. Nah……

    Wow, these are really important for me, because now my inner critic is now more at peace in its constant kvetching about how complex and unpeaceful my life is!!!

    Thanks, Kathy!!! Blessings to you!!

    Hey, Laurie, I think that “Himself” stuff is from the Scottish culture, and used to be used to refer to the Monarch (male) and “Herself” was a female Monarch. But I could be totally wrong about that, it’s just an impression I got somewhere! Anyway, those are fun to use, and I use them, too!!

    • Kathy says:

      OM, this was a really sticky blog for me to write. There were lots of messy feelings squirming around, confused, not knowing what needed or wanted to be said. I think you spoke it very clearly when you said, “Something fighting within itself is what is not simple.” Perhaps it’s not as much about the externals of it all…but whether our internals are feeling simple or conflicted.

      To allow it all to exist! To allow the inconsistencies all their space and crazy beauty! I feel like intellectually it’s easy to do this…and sometimes even in the heart…but when it comes to a body-level it gets more precarious. That is where the teachings of the last year are meeting: in the body. To bring down into the body all that we know, all that we feel. That’s where I feel confusion these days.

      So happy whenever you stop by with your wisdom, OM. My heart smiles to see you.

  8. Elisa's Spot says:

    lol ty!
    what joy morning giggles!
    Sometimes, being simple for me, is simply expressing/doing exactly what I am doing, and to do or to think or to attempt to organize becomes un-simple, crashing, and can feel then, quite complicated!

    Also, I too have noticed when thinking directly upon simplicity and peace, I can shift to comparisons and measurements of each thought and thing. (which for me inside isn’t simple at all). You asked me if I were having a blogging strike. Another of the reasons I wasn’t writing or expressing my ‘normal’ self was that roil of input and it seemed false to force one or the other out onto printed fixed form, because simply on the inside I was the wind, dancing along whirling and puffing and buffeting along. Doing exactly and perfectly simply what the wind does, but WOW the expression of that appeared to be so jumbled to me that I sat stuck, waiting for some vision of the moon above my willow, for a still calm breath. Does simple equate to calm? If some are bothered by a feeling of clutter–meaning within it they feel a lack of peace, then I suppose by removing sensory input of clutter and sounds might equal simple and thus be expressed as a feeling of peace. For those humans who do not require such, perhaps peace and simple are not at all related, thus simple means more things?

    • Kathy says:

      And your wisdom too, Elisa. What a great definition of simplicity. And a great example of the opposite in our need to organize, think, etc. (Except sometimes doing the thinking and organizing creates peace as well. Hmmm….) Those comparisons and measurements sure get us, don’t they?

      Love what you said about the wind. Feeling what you’ve said. Loving your little heyoka-self. What a gift you are!

  9. Cindy Lou says:

    I wonder if it would just be ‘simpler’ to let those horses out of the brain corral and onto the page – instead of attempting to rein them in which would not be simple for a writer like yourself?!?! Sometimes if I try to focus on something like simplicity, life gets even more complicated.

    Oh – and about those cucumbers….just ran across a crazy-easy recipe for “Almost Hands-Free Dill Pickles”. Haven’t tried it and they don’t last forever like the other kind, but it might be worth a try.

    1# cukes, quartered lengthwise
    *Put into 1 qt. jar w/ tight-fitting lid
    3/4 C white wine vinegar
    1/4 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
    2 cloves garlice, smashed
    2 T sugar
    1 tsp dill seed
    1 tsp black peppercorns
    1 bay leaf
    2 tsp. salt
    3/4 c hot water
    *Mix until sugar dissolves.
    *Pour over cucumbers, cover and frig for at least 1 day before serving.

    Might be worth a try to get rid of some of those lovelies on your counter!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy Lou, I’m of two minds about those horses. You are so right. It could be simple. But sometimes I get tired of all their words (um, I mean their horse droppings). So the two inner parts get into a tug of war. “Stop!” “No, you can’t make me!” “Stop!” “No, you can’t make me!” It’s sometimes exhausting being so aware of two inner parts who seem to be opposites. Although it almost always turns out that they’re not really opposites at all. I suspect it’s more a timing issue. I have sometimes been terrible at timing. Learning when to ride the horse, free, and when to let them rest in the corral. Yes, that seems to be it.

      As for the recipe, yes, yes! Can’t wait to try it! Hurray! (Although would have to buy some white wine vinegar. All we have is regular white right now. Do you think that would work?) Thank you.

      • Cindy Lou says:

        Yup…..I think regular white vinegar would work just fine. That’s what is usually used for dill pickles anyways. Let me know how they turn out! You’re welcome!

        • Karma says:

          Cindy, do you think they would have to be pickling cukes for this to work? I have quite the abundance of regular cukes coming out of the garden right now and I hate to let them go to waste!

        • Cindy Lou says:

          Hey Karma,

          I do think regular cucumbers would work as long as they’re not huge ones. I’ve often used the regular ones instead of the pickling ones and they’ve turned out. Now you’ll have to let me know, too!

  10. OM says:

    Totally with you, Kathy. If it doesn’t reach the body, if the body can’t “BE” “it” — whatever “it” we’re having in the mind and feelings, then “it” isn’t fully “real” to us. That’s what’s happening to me, too, this long while, all that coming into the body.

    For me, gradually as tingles, in a process I can only cooperate with, as the Divine Intelligence operating it so lovingly and carefully moment to moment is something my human mind can only dimly even appreciate, never understand! It’s a happening, not a doing, while I do dishes and buy groceries and write comments!

    So, pickles and stones, flowers and lakes, embodiment is the name of the game.

    Love you, and sure did resonate with what Elisa and others said, too.

    Sure wish I had a garden again. Someday I will again. One time I had enough endive to supply a city, and the carrots never did come up!!

    • Kathy says:

      OM, I feel like I’ve understood this in the head so long…and even in the heart…but the journey in the past year has something to do with integrating it into the lower chakras and the body and experience and action. Last night, sleeping on the sand, feeling the body, hearing the waves, I suddenly felt the energy so strongly in the body and wanted to live from this place always, always! Of course…that feeling had disappeared upon awakening (almost) but I felt like the spiritual awareness did descend into the body. Maybe will sleep outside under the stars and in the rain for the rest of my life. JUST KIDDING!!! “Embodiment is the name of the game”….yes…would have loved to have taken some of that endive off your hands. We’ve never planted that. Perhaps you will get your garden someday.

  11. flandrumhill says:

    It seems that children struggle less living simply and joyfully in the now than we do. They’d be the last to worry about too many cucumbers or too little time.

    I’m with you in the struggle Kathy. At least we have good company 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Amy Lynn–by the way, congratulations on your blog hitting the front page of WordPress!!–I think you are right. Children haven’t “added on” so much yet. So many people speak fondly back to the time before they learned so much, when they felt free to move and live simply and joyfully. I dream that this struggle will end some day (not that its always a challenging struggle. Some days are very joyfully.) If not that it will end: that I will embrace the struggle itself more fully and live it more fully and authentically. Glad we’re in this together.

  12. Wow, Kathy. I really enjoyed this blog post…and the comments are like an additional post, after the original!

    I’m late reading this, actually I’m late with everything this week. I’ve had a messy brain myself. Must be something to do with the planetary alignments, etc. etc. etc….hmm, could be My Husband, or The Kids, or….whateva. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, I am glad you enjoyed this post. Planetary alignments were weird. I was in such a challenged space for a couple of days…and then it just sort of shifted with the meteor showers. Hugs to you! (And the comments are just as good or BETTER than the original post. ALWAYS!)

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Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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