Poet Rainer Maria Rilke, former secretary of August Rodin Česky: Básník Rainer Maria Rilke, kdisi tajemník Rodinův (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke exchanged special letters with a young, doubtful and novice poet.What he then wrote to Kappus , at the beginning of the twentieth century, is still true today.
Love your questions
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart
and try to look at your questions lovingly,
like locked rooms.
Or like books written in a very foreign language.
Do not now seek the answers .
which cannot be given you ,
because you would not be able to live them yet.
It is about “living” everything.
Live your questions now.
And perhaps you will then gradually,
without noticing it
in your answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke
from :Letters to a Young Poet
Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Soms is het beste antwoord een vraag
Every day, for the duration of a lifetime.
So many questions. So much doubt. So many thoughts.
Newspapers tell us about possible paths to take.
Friends give advice.
Books give insight.
What happens when you empty your head ?
What do you feel when it is quiet?
When you close yourself off from the outside world?
When you make everything go quiet, very quiet, as in hibernation.
The intense silence makes you restless at first.
Your thoughts go on raving.
And that is allowed.
Accept your doubts and your fears.
But then, listen…
Your inner voice becomes powerful.
You can quieten yourself.
In the Great Silence you find your own voice again.
And also your own answers.
Every now and then, become silent.
Be at home in yourself.
Silence is not an empty space, but full of answers.
Dutch original / Nederlands origineel: De stilte is niet leeg maar vol antwoorden
sign for being quiet (Zeichen für Ruhigsein) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Do you recognise this ?
The good intentions at the beginning of each new year?
We make lists of
that which we will never do again
of what we will do more often
of what we will do less often
of that of which we will eat less
of whom we would like to see more often
or less often.
We think about our dreams
and also about the bad luck we had in the past.
We stand still. Just for a moment.
As soon as the bottles are empty, the snow has melted, the wishes for happiness have been distributed, we return to the issues of the day, life zooms by and very quickly the list is forgotten in the bottom drawer.
What would happen if we would read that list again every day?
If we would ask this big question to our reflection every morning :
“why am I doing what I do”,
If we leave that list in the sunlight on our working table ?
What would happen if we would ask ourselves every day, and not only the first day
of the year : why am I doing what I do ?
Let us stand still more often.
A few moments every day.
Look into the mirror.
To dare to ask that one question, to dare to hesitate, to try, to fail, to get up, to choose.
And then to try to live like we réally want to.
Dutch version: Waarom doe je wat je doet
There is a beautiful text by Peter Handke in which he says ‘Fail calmly’. Fail, yes. Calmly, no. We did not learn that it is o.k. to fail. Let alone that we stay calm while failing. To fail calmly is an art of living, a constant balancing between trying, exercising, and daring to stumble.
Daring to stumble is showing your vulnerability.
To show that you don’t know either.
Socrates already said : ‘I know that I don’t know’.
That wisdom is centuries old .
Why is it so difficult to take away the layer of veneer?
To show who you really are, hesitating and stumbling?
Maybe it helps when we choose.
To choose to dare.
To choose to love stumbling people.
To choose to surround yourself with warm people who do not reject you when you stumble, but who on the contrary reach out.
And to offer your own hand or shoulder when someone nearly falls.
To get up and continue.
It sounds simple, but you never do it alone.
On top of your restored self confidence you need others.
Warm, encouraging others who also believe in your ability, your resilience and your talents.
To believe in yourself is to allow yourself to stumble.
Stumble calmly, struggle to get up and accept those hands, smooth your hairs and try again.
Not how you fall, but how you get up.
Original Dutch version / Originele Nederlandstalige versie: Niet hoe je valt, wel hoe je opstaat
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This is what you see.
Your neighbour has recently arrived in the street.
His children are passing by on their bikes. You don’t know their names.
This is what you know.
You congratulate your long-standing girlfriend by text message but you haven’t seen her or heard from her in ages.
That family close-by, they need help, but you are afraid to knock on their door.
This is what you feel.
Your own heart is bleeding or palpitating and you would love to air your feelings, here or there.
Maybe we are scared, you and I.
Of the world and of each other.
Because you are different from me. And I am different from you.
Because the world challenges us every day.
In the humanitarian, economical and climatic field.
What makes us strong is that you can knock on my door and I can knock on yours.
That I say hi and you say hi.
That you are allowed to share sadness and me too.
That we don’t always have to understand each other, that we can be who we are.
People with a warm heart who want to listen to each other’s story.
I would like to hear yours.
Come in and sit down.
Say this also to your neighbour, that long-standing girlfriend, those children and that family.
Come in and sit down.
Dutch version /Nederlandse versie: Kom binnen en zet u
” I miss the simplest things the most during my detention. To see the horizon! A nightly sky full of stars! Sleeping in a tent, far away from concrete that wears me down here. After many years of detention, I was allowed my first “day out”. I took the train to the coast and, on top of a dune, I stared at infinity for hours. My soul and heart were filled with so much beauty”.
A prisoner of our thoughts.
Is there such a big difference between what we need – outside the walls – in order to be a better version of ourselves? Can we still do it, break through the walls of our thoughts and take a little while to relax? Even on holiday we seem sometimes caught in our everyday thoughts, our mobile phone which is never quiet.
And yet to do nothing for a little while is just as important as to write off your to-do list. Check the most recent books on management, burning the candle at both ends, can have serious consequences. Because our mind – just as our body – needs a break every now and then. When year in year out we continue, we run the risk to get a burn-out or depression.
A chill-out day is then the valve with which you release the tension.
A right to slow living
Full Steam Ahead Thoughts of escaping life in the slow lane as this steam traction engine heads north out of Pontefract towards the M62. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everyone of us knows the feeling : a whirl of thoughts in your head which stops you from sleeping, the pressure of the things you still have to do. When we have high expectations, we increase our inner stress. When something is not going according to plan, we cannot be creative anymore. In the poem ‘Recht op traagheid’ of Alexis de Roode in ‘Gratis tijd voor iedereen’ the question ‘why all this is required’ is raised. Who is asking this and why today?
Another pitfall can be that we hide behind a full agenda. Because the place – where nothing is required and where it is quiet – can be quite confrontational. In that way we do not have to think about our own uncertainties and fears. We avoid the confrontation with ourselves. But this confrontation can be very revealing in order to have a positive attitude to life.
A detainee has no problem with a full agenda . To stand still is a must. It is not possible to escape from yourself and the ways in which one is stuck.
Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Gun jezelf een dagje lummelen
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