“I want to unfold.
Let nothing in me hold itself closed.
For where I am closed, I am false.
I want to be clear in your sight.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
I'm going to be honest, dear readers, I'm tired. And struggling to find the words and the emotion and the thoughts to carry on, but push forward I must. And thank goodness, Rilke was the inspirational quote today, or I might not have made it this far.
My friend, Kimberly, introduced me to Mr. Rilke and his Letters To A Young Poet, when we were both studying abroad in Europe - she in Florence and me in Paris - how appropriate...and what a lifetime ago. It was one of those books that I couldn't believe had been written and in such a different time and world from the one in which we lived. Because how could it have been written to say the things it said that I identified with so closely so many years and ways away from when it was written. Words. Books. So important to feeling alive and part of something bigger. And. Not. Alone.
So, I've kept the book all these years and just pulled it off the shelf to open up for the first time in years. I needed a spark, something to turn on my writing tonight, to put me in the mood to write, to journal, to SAY something. As I started to flip through, I remembered that I had made some marks in the book when I first read it - connections, ahas, etc.
I opened to this passage that I starred many moons ago:
"But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down. Thus they have a certain security."
There's a lot going on here, but as with the quote of the day at the top, it's about being open and ready. I don't want to be someone who only knows a corner of my room. I want to know the whole damn thing. And not just my whole damn thing, but B's and H's and L's too. Sometimes it's easier not to do that, to push, to open, to expose all the mess and the difference and the things that don't go together, the things that don't fit the neat little narrative that help us think we understand who someone is or predict how they will behave or react or breathe. We all have pretty big rooms, and sometimes the door moves or the furniture gets rearranged and it's confusing to figure out where everything belongs, and whether we want to get a new room altogether. Sometimes my room looks like someone else's room, but only for a minute.
While it feels easier to sit in the corner doing the things and saying the things and feeling the things I've always done, said, and felt, it's not really easier. It's limiting. It's closed. It's stifling. While it feels scary to keep exploring, it's the only way I really want to live, create, love, breathe. Even when I'm tired. Push. More. Open.
And, well, Rilke. I'm not going to put the book back on the shelf quite yet.