Learn to love the questions

QuestionMark "And now let us welcome the New Year full of things that have never been." -Rainer Maria Rilke

May we learn to love the questions themselves, as Rilke also reminds us:

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day." – from his Letters to a Young Poet


  1. Frivolitea January 1, 2009

    I like that. It reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem, “First Snow.”

    The snow

    began here

    this morning and all day

    continued, its white

    rhetoric everywhere

    calling us back to why, how,

    whence such beauty and what

    the meaning; such

    an oracular fever! flowing

    past windows, an energy it seemed

    would never ebb, never settle

    less than lovely! and only now,

    deep into night,

    it has finally ended.

    The silence

    is immense,

    and the heavens still hold

    a million candles; nowhere

    the familiar things;

    stars, the moon,

    the darkness we expect

    and nightly turn from. Trees

    glitter like castles

    of ribbons, the broad fields

    smolder with light, a passing

    creekbed lies

    heaped with shining hills;

    and though the questions

    that have assailed us all day

    remain — not a single

    answer has been found –

    walking out now

    into the silence and the light

    under the trees,

    and through the fields,

    feels like one.

  2. Becky January 1, 2009

    I just blogged today about reminiscing about the last year and looking forward to the next year. Part of my blog was about what will greet us in the new year and to expect the unexpected!

  3. Amanda January 1, 2009

    What a wonderful way to start this new year…Rilke and Oliver…I’m headed for David Whyte’s Poems of Self Compassion that reminds us to have patience with ourselves, with our own coming and going. Happy New Year!

  4. frances January 1, 2009

    my absolute favorite Rilke quote. thanks for the reminder. happy new year!

  5. honeybee January 1, 2009

    This is the perfect quote for me as I am in the midst of trying to find the “answers”. Thank you for reminding that living with the questions is the first order of business.

    Happy New Year!!


  6. Carolynn January 1, 2009

    Very timely post for me on this, the first of a New Year. I find myself very filled with questions and unsure of what direction to move in. Someone once said to me “It’s okay to be in the struggle.” I believe it’s the same sentiment. I’ll relax and let the Universe lead me on to more peaceful places.

    All the best to you in this New Year!

  7. John Ptak January 2, 2009

    Thanks for this from Rainer. Questions *are* important; answers are overrated (unless you let them lead to other questions).

  8. janet January 2, 2009

    Love it. My new year’s resolution is to live in the present moment — which given my vivid imagination and strong escapist tendencies is going to be very hard to do.

  9. Anitha January 10, 2009

    Happy New Year Patti!!! That was a wonderful quote on questions of life.

    I missed out on your blog for a long time. Very glad to catch up again!!


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