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Great Inner Solitude

It’s amazing how much time it takes to catch up after hosting a guest (as lovely as my mother was…we did love having her!)–unpaid bills, dirty laundry, thirsty plants, unread books, neglected tasks and errands–so you’ll have to forgive me for a couple of days while I regroup and get organized.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a timely excerpt from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, which everyone should read at least once in his or her lifetime.

“What you really need is simply this–aloneness, great inner solitude.  To go within and for hours not to meet anyone–that is what one needs to attain.  To be lonely as one was lonely as a child, while adults were moving about, entangled with things that seemed big and important, because the grownups looked so busy and because one could not understand any of their doings–that must be the goal.  And when you realize one day that their activities are superficial, that their careers are paralyzed and no longer linked with life, then why not look at the world as a child would see it–out of the depths of your own world, out of the breadth of your own aloneness, which is itself work and rank and career?  Why should anyone wish to exchange a child’s wise incomprehension for resistance and disdain, since the incomprehension is aloneness, and resistance and disdain are an involvement in the things you seek to escape from.

“Think, dear friend, reflect on the world that you carry within yourself.  And name this thinking what you wish.  It might be recollections of your childhood or yearning for your own future.  Just be sure that you observe carefully what wells up within you and place that above everything that you notice around you.  Your innermost happening is worth all your love.  You must somehow work on that.

“Do not expend too much courage or time to clarify your position to others.  I know your career is difficult and I anticipated your complaint and knew it would come.  Now that it has come, I cannot reassure you.  I can only advise you to think seriously about this: Are not all careers the same, filled with demands and people filled with animosity toward the individual, at the same time absorbing the hatred of those who have silently and sullenly adapted to dull duty?  The situation that you are now obliged to tolerate is not burdened any heavier with conventions, prejudices, and errors than any other situation.  If there are some who outwardly give the impression of granting more freedom, know that there really exists none that is related to the important things that make up real life.  The individual person who senses his aloneness, and only he, is like a thing subject to the deep laws, the cosmic laws.  If a person goes out into the dawn or gazes out into the evening filled with happenings, if he senses what happens there, then all situations fall away from him as from someone dead, even though he stands in the midst of life.”

Have the loveliest of days today, observing all that wells up within you.  Notice it, honor it.  Life is too short not to.

[Post image: The most exquisite flowers in our backyard–the first time they’ve shown their lovely faces!]

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The quote I live by

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.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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