Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sprouting the Questions

As spring emerges, some of my favorite moments are when, as e.e. cummings put it, “the world is mud-luscious”.  Buds are beginning to appear on the trees but they aren’t quite ready to blossom, and the earth is softening in order for the vulnerable process of sprouting to begin.  I remember gardening being one of my favorite activities as a child.  I loved the messy feel of the moist and musty smelling soil in my hands as we made the mounds for planting the seeds.  Not knowing how it was all going to turn out made it a pretty magical process for a child.  Days and weeks later, fragile green threads of life would mysteriously emerge, still not clearly shaped into what they were to become.  I learned during those few weeks of sprouting that too much watering would drown the plants and not enough would cause them to shrivel up before they could take root and fully grow.

When I think about those moments of vulnerability that nature experiences year after year, season after season, never knowing the outcome until it’s already happened, I laugh at the contrast with our human nature whenever we create anything.  How often is there a dream seeded within us that we give up on too early because there is no guarantee for success or a high rate of return for our efforts?  How often do we attend with full abandon to what uniquely inspires us beyond meeting our basic human needs in life?  As a culture, we are at a cross roads, questioning what has real value and meaning to us.  The answer to that question has six billion unique answers which makes this an exciting time both individually and as a society.  The structures that once gave us reference points for where we “should” be in life are dissolving, and now the answers must come from within.

There is a vulnerability that one experiences when they take the risk to start something new, whether it be returning to school, starting a business, getting out the paints from art school or training for a marathon at the age of fifty.  There are times when we can experience this vulnerability with ease and grace because the process is more interesting to us than the results, while at other times we can experience various states of anxiety caused by not knowing the exact outcome.  Just as Mother Nature shows up every spring (though a little late this year) to begin her creative process anew, we as humans are meant to show up for our creative process despite our uncertainties.  When we plant the seeds of intention and see something emerge, that is the moment to surrender the questions and be compassionate with the fear and uncertainty about the outcome.  That is the time to step back and allow the mysterious part of the process to unfold.

There will always be questions and unknowns in life.  In learning to live out the answers without knowing them beforehand, we begin to thrive in the face of vulnerability.  Success is something defined by the ego, where learning to thrive is propelled by the higher self, the source from within that yearns to create through each of us as a unique human being.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Rainer Maria Rilke:

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.

Have a beautiful spring everyone and no matter what is sprouting in your life, may there always be joy in your heart.