live this question

Have you ever read something that just won’t let you go? It happens to me frequently. Passages in a book which resonate or stay with me are written in a book journal that I keep. Not every book that I read has passages that I wish to commit to memory – or to my book journal – but those that do are written in a book that I return to from time to time, to remember and reflect. It’s a great way to carry in your heart the essence of a book long after you’ve read it and put it on a shelf or passed it along to someone else. Writing these passages in a journal is a meditation itself.

I have several books, that I’ve collected over the years, which offer daily readings. I keep them and move from one to the other throughout the course of a year. I feel I receive wonderful reminders, ideas for contemplation, appreciation for things I had forgotten, etc. And by moving from one book to another, I have an opportunity to hear from different voices – authors who have devoted significant time in their lives to creating the passages, sharing the wisdom and awareness in these books.

The passage below is from a book that I discovered a few months ago. The December 21 entry is one that I feel drawn to and have read twice a day nearly every day since. I feel that it captures so much of what I am feeling now, and have been for quite a long period of time. I had not found words to describe the way I felt and what I knew –  the challenge of finding a middle place to be with all of the sorrow, suffering and devastation that so many are experiencing.

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

– Percy Bysse Shelley

I am an incorrigible optimist. I’m aware of the threats that surround us, but I haven’t lost my faith. I haven’t lost my hope. And I haven’t lost my confidence that people working together harmoniously can bring about a change for the better in the world that our children will grown up in.

It’s not for governments to improve our lives. It is for each individual to ask himself or herself, “Should I continue to make things which destroy life, or can I lend my expertise and my experience to benefit life, to help life?”

We get discouraged because we don’t see life as it is. We feel we can’t make a difference because we don’t see things as they really are. When we see life as it is, when we see people as they are, all sorrow will fall away, all suffering will come to an end. This is the great message of all religions. When we see life as it is, all sorrow falls away.

From – Words to Live By: Daily Inspiration for Spiritual Living, by Eknath Easwaran: December 21, p. 380.

I find so much here.

I care deeply about so much and I find the times we have been in for the last many years, and in particular the one we are in now, to be painfully difficult when I consider all who have been or are hurting. I am often drawn to the news to see if things have happened to support those who need it most. And I know that I must step away from it. I cannot unsee things I’ve seen and I cannot forget much of what I’ve read, as it relates to the pandemic, the multitudes of losses of life, income, homes, access to necessities in a country that supposedly is so wealthy. 

As I focus on the second paragraph of the above writing, I feel as if there are many answers there for each and everyone of us. Will all, who have the power and resources to help large numbers of people, find this question and take it to heart? Not likely. However, all of us who read this, might consider asking it of ourselves and then asking the question of four or five people that we know, and then asking them to do the same. I wonder what could happen if we all asked ourselves:

“Should I continue to make things which destroy life, or can I lend my expertise and my experience to benefit life, to help life?”

I already know there are many who will shrug this off as being useless as they are not involved in anything that destroys life. I would argue that each and everyone of us participates in an aspect of this when we do not care for ourselves, or we utter a judgmental word or phrase to ourselves or antlers about yet another human. There are many things we do that contribute to destroying life rather than benefiting or helping life.

Yes…it’s one of those questions. One that has a different answer each and every time we ask it of ourselves.

Let’s keep asking it anyway. The changes we make as a result of asking are so very important. And if we are serious about “…bringing about change for the better in the world that our children will grow up in,” how can we not attempt to ask ourselves this question, again and again and again?

We must live the question.

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.
Rainer Maria Rilke


Photo of Blackwater Falls near Davis, WV, by Locos Photos.




12 thoughts on “live this question

  • I love the question, Carrie, and agree with you that it is one we should be asking ourselves every day. And passing on to others. One by one, maybe we’ll get where we need to be.

    I step away from the news, too. Do you read David @ Raptitude? He recently wrote a great story about the news and how it impacts us. It’s a bit like a fable or fairy tale and full of truth. Here’s the link:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Robin. Thank you for the reference. I’ll definitely check it out. I remain hopeful that there are more of us who are waking up than who are still in unconscious slumber. And I feel that if we remain curious…asking ourselves important questions and speaking with those whom we know to be like minded and open hearted, we will facilitate the evolution to a much kinder way of being. I look forward to checking the link you provided.


  • Excellent words of wisdom Carry, thank you.. and the quote you chose so apt.
    “It’s not for governments to improve our lives. It is for each individual to ask himself or herself, “Should I continue to make things which destroy life, or can I lend my expertise and my experience to benefit life, to help life?””

    If we all served others asking ourselves that very question and following through.. What a different society we have..
    Another way to look at it is from another well known name of whose words I too quote here #

    ““With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
    ― Wayne Dyer

    I think we now have to choose….

    Loved your post and your beautiful waterfall photo 🙂 🙏💛 Happy New Earth Year! ✨

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sue. Wayne Dyer is a favorite and one that I often reference when I read other authors or when I write. He left us with much to reflect on. This quote in particular is a powerful reminder of the freedom we have to choose. Happy New Earth Year to you. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      • He left a great legacy through his wisdom and I think I have most of his books. He was and still is through his words a great inspiration, I totally agree.
        Much love your way Carrie. 💜💙💜🙏

        Liked by 1 person

  • This is such important question, Carrie. It’s something I often ponder when I consider the small choices I make each day. It’s an incredibly mundane list.

    When I see the overflowing garbage bins my neighbors roll out each week, I look at the waste I produce and think about how much I contribute to polluting my community, even if it’s one partially filled bag every week, or how many plastic containers I put in my recycling bin, not knowing where they will end up given that most of recycled materials in the US were shipped to other countries, at least in the past. Small things add up. I can tell myself – “others are contributing more to the problem” but that doesn’t do anything to address a serious multifaceted problem that ultimately effects all of the earth.

    The food I harvest and freeze from my gardens is stored in plastic bags, and takes gallons and gallons of water to process. I wonder how to do things with less waste, yet because I work alone, I find myself with few options because of limited time and resources. I wonder what it will take for communities to discuss these and other issues in a thoughtful way designed to come up with real, practical solutions.

    This, of course, does not directly address the corporations that have recently been approved in my area to expand tar-sands pipelines and begin mining, threatening the water supply for thousands as well as for fish, wild life, forests, and wild rice beds. The issues feel way too big for one person to solve, and too many environmental groups only focus on one issue, like pipelines or mines, without addressing taken-for-granted lifestyles that ignore the bigger issue. How do we develop and transition to sustainable, nonpolluting energy sources and building materials? I wish I had answers, And I wish more people were asking this question. Thank you for giving it voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol, thank you for your very thoughtful comment. As I have read and reread it, I’m aware of the multitude of possible ways we might answer that question – from the issues you are speaking about here – to the thoughts that each of us have and how those thoughts contribute to our choices. The myriad ways we can answer this question keep me asking it of myself. I also do all I can…on the things you mention here. I know that by myself, I cannot change all of it. I do know that if all of us do one small thing, each day, it can all add up to make a difference for us all. We are on the cusp of the potential for great change and it will take our little steps – together – to make the differences for the future. We are preparing the ground for those who are the ages of my grandchildren – which are twenty years from the eldest to the youngest. I wish to make a difference for all of them. 🙏🏻💖

      Liked by 1 person

  • Carrie,
    Thank you for this essential question. I continue to ponder how and where to best take action as I step forward into this next year.
    Currently, I am in conversations with my oldest son about actions to take to combat climate change. It is his number one concern and I am partnering with him. It has often felt defeating for me to think about challenges such as these. But I believe that each action counts. Just like I did when I wrote letters and called voters this year so that we could elect a new president.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    I appreciate you,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ali, “…I believe that each action counts,” is where I begin. I feel that the answer to the question is contained in the question itself. If we each make choices which honor ourselves, each other and the planet, we are making powerful, positive and loving contributions. I also feel it is important that we choose our words thoughtfully. For example, anything that we “battle with” is resistance energy. Therefore, working for, toward or with feels like forward movement. Environmental and social justice, are BIG umbrellas…and have many, many choices. Specifically FOR climate change, there are many choices there that any individual can make, each and every day, from food we eat to how we dispose of waste…and that’s the tip of the iceberg. We are individually quite powerful, as you saw when you were writing letters prior to the election. That was forward momentum FOR a new President, not promoting voting AGAINST the sitting President. These two, in this case, are mutually exclusive. However, it is the energy, the words, the way we step into anything that has the impact. Collectively we can do anything we choose to do! As always…I appreciate and am grateful for you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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