Rusted Gate

Rusty Gate

Rusted Gate © 2012 Bo Mackison

I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign language. Don’t search for the answers which would not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

There was a time when my whole life was a question. And I couldn’t find the answer.  And that worried me greatly. I thought it was important, as I had been taught in years of schooling, that finding the correct answer to the question was paramount to success.

It took me many years to realize that there is never only one correct answer to any question of substance. That there are many correct answers depending on who is answering the question.

And then it took me a few more years to realize that it wasn’t always necessary or even in my best interest, to answer every question. Sometimes it was better to only glimpse the answer, just as the courtyard behind the massive, woven gate in the photograph provides only a glimpse of the inner goings-on.

The gate is heavy, it may be old if one associates rust with antiquity, or it may only have been specially treated to look old. The passing of years often speaks of wisdom, of knowing the answers.

Is the gate a gate of protection? If so, the gate provides security, even as it allows a view, the flow of air, a sense of art in the simple yet artistically designed gate.

Life is not always what it seems to be. I think of a gate and anticipate it will bar my way, it will prevent me from finding answers to my questions. Instead, the gate is merely an object on my passage through my day. If I continue long enough on my journey of exploration, I just may live my way into the answers I seek.

Do you have questions you want answered quickly? Can you wait for the answers, even if it takes a lifetime?


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo is traveling in Arizona, no longer seeking answers at this time in her life, but simply paying very close attention to the many questions she asks.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Very insightful post.

  2. This quote from Rilke has been a favorite of mine for many years–living the questions. Good advice

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I love the idea of living the questions, too, and then suddenly realizing that the questions have been answered. Thanks Anita.

  3. Thank you very much for this post and quote, Bo. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about my lack of answers to all the questions I had, but gradually I learned to simply accept the questions on their own and be content with not knowing. I do believe that there are some questions that will never have answers, and that other answers will only come after we truly understand and have deeply lived the questions.

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