“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 written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given to 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.” -Ranier Maria Rilke
I first heard this quote read by my yoga instructor at the end of one of our sessions. It got me thinking about how much we try to make sense of things that happen around us – especially, when they involve pain and suffering.
We spoke Monday about learning how to ride the wave of our lives. How do we navigate through the inevitable turmoil, stress, and pain that are part of the natural wave? What can we do to nurture ourselves as we move through the challenges? I came up with a few strategies.
1. Take a moment. Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling. If emotions arise, let them come to the surface, instead of pushing them down. Take time out of your day to be still – even if it’s only for a few minutes. Too often, we try to fill our days so we don’t have to feel, when in reality, giving our emotions the space they need, will help cleanse the mind.
2. Move your Body. We all know how closely linked our minds and bodies are. During times of high stress, exercising is a great remedy. Maybe you take a walk outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. Perhaps, you sign up for a yoga class. Maybe you recruit a good friend to be a running buddy. Make some form of exercise a priority.
3. Find Support. Remember, we can’t go through life alone. Lean on the people in your life that you trust and who have your best interest at heart. Share your feelings, and allow them to be your safety net. Often, we will find that those closest to us have gone through similar circumstances and give us solace that we are not alone. Sometimes, that’s enough.
4. Focus on Gratitude. This is such a powerful tool to help us through any tough time. Remind yourself of the things that are going right in your life (and, I guarantee, there are MANY). I have a gratitude journal that I keep. You may want to start by writing 5 things you are grateful for when you first start your day or before you go to bed. There will soon be a shift in your perception.
5. Feed your Soul. There are many different ways to do this. Give your soul the love it needs. What are the simple things that give you pleasure? Maybe it’s taking a warm bath or booking a massage for yourself. Maybe you relish reading a good book on your couch. Perhaps, you spend some quality time with your spouse or kids cooking a meal together. How about that painting class you’ve been meaning to sign up for? Whatever it is that brings you some small level of joy, provide it to yourself.
6. Accept Where You Are. This is challenging for many of us. We want so badly to be out of our circumstance. But when we can fully embrace this time as just part of our journey, we realize that the wave never stands still. It is always moving forward, as we will, too.
Can you create some space to live between the answers? Can you live and love the questions that arise?