Today is Rainer Maria Rilke’s birthday. I’ve always been drawn to Rilke. I have not read his poems in their entirety but pored over snippets of these. Countless times, I felt like the young poet he was speaking to in his letters. His lessons on silence have resonated with me. I have pondered over how solitude feeds the soul as I sought this in various moments of my life and even in my everyday. His writing on uncertainty comforts me, reassuring me that I’m gonna be okay. That we will all be okay despite these unsure times.
His poignant lesson on loving the other fully by giving space for growth has been one that I’ve tried to truly live by. He talks about how love in a long term relationship is not about seeking to complete the other but stepping back, reveling in how such a beautiful person who chose to be with you is growing into the individual she ought to be. It is about growing together but separately too because we deserve to be whole and true by ourselves.
Rilke has taught me about gentleness, helping me polish my sharp edges a bit. Since today started a little too roughly than usual, I latched on to this. I didn’t get to do my little rituals that gave me a sense of control but I remembered to just pause and gently work on getting myself back on track. Sometimes a quick pause is all we need to pull ourselves together.
I thank Rilke for these lessons and I hope to teach these same guiding principles to my little ones in the years to come.