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Between the Pages of Letters to A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke VII B

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The previous commentary in this series on Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, attempted a translation of a perspective which agrees with what Rilke puts as “it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult”(67). Here the focus remains on the same seventh chapter in Letters and still on the subject of difficulty, however, the interest shifts to a specific difficulty: that common, misunderstood, underrated feeling we call love. Love is a difficult subject to write on. In fact, most poets, if not all, agree that a poem on love is the most challenging of all poems. And I am now at a place where I am beginning to believe that love is not even a feeling but the substance we call life. Hence love is life and love is all there is. Hence nothing is done but in the name and in the perimeter of love. Therefore one would be probably right to argue that it is owing to the benevolent nature of love that there exist variety; in which case one can argue for the nature of love as the most flexible su…

Winter Diary: What Worked Last Year

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HAPPI HAPPI 2018! Of which January is no more. How are you? Not as fly as a fly but kicking it like you were born to be kicking it like a fly? Here, how are you feeling about the new year? What three words would describe your 2018 so far? My words are reflective, cost-of-living-in-NYC-is-way-too-high, and content. But how I am feeling now, has something to do with my practices of the previous year. Here are my favorite five:
+ Decemnuary It is really really nice to create space and time between an old and new year to meditate on that which is past, the now and that which might come. It sounds luxurious but it is actually a basic necessity for a healthy transitioning from one cycle to the other. Also it is not very comfortable because there is a lot of soul searching, self facing, feelings of rawness and you will probably find yourself curling up often and crying your eyes out but you also have a lot of forgiveness ceremonies––of yourself and other selves, dancing like crazy to the so…

Winter Diary: Presently (2017 in Summary)

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Now, my prayers are not to make requests but to give thanks for the strength in facing each day as best I could. I am thankful for the difficulties that make me pause and learn to see in new ways. I am thankful for the comfort state reached, having travelled from a place of discomfort. I am thankful for every seeming rejection: from the death of loved ones to sunless cloudy days––all is good. Beauty is becoming easier to find in that which seemed lacking of it. There are also pains from this novel experience of beauty: I have been suffering happiness. An interesting circumstance that has been challenging to talk about since it often comes across as though one means to toot one's own horn. It is  difficult to communicate to others that you are suffering from excessive happiness because those with whom you might be comfortable to speak on the subject might not be interested, and when interested, may not understand. That happiness is painful is something I have been noticing gradual…

Personal Style: Blonya Atade

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In the days of yore, that is when one was still considered child, one of the things we looked forward to was the blonya atade (Christmas dress)! No one wanted a custom made clothing for blonya. All we ever got all year long was custom made this, custom made that. So for Christmas we all wanted ready-made clothing. First we prayed we would get a blonya atade. Then we begged that it would be ready-made. This is why it is amusing that these days, I will kill a baby elephant for a custom made clothe. Well, I just received a custom made dress––no elephants were injured in the process––and here is the story...
One of my Aunts, living in a suburb area in Ghana, got my measurement for this dress and got it made months ago. When it was completed she sent it to another Aunt who lives in the city. Then one of my Aunts who live here in NY, went to Ghana recently and on her way back picked up the dress and brought it to me. Of course, I am very happy with it... and since when someone makes you a …

Between the Pages of Letters to A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke VII A

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“Most people have (with the help of conventions) turned their solutions toward what is easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition” (Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters to a Young Poet. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. NY: Modern Library, 2001, p. 67-68).
There are two aspects of the seventh chapter of Letters that are worth perusing, the first is Rilke’s notion of choosing the difficult, and the second is his reflections on love. Hence I am splitting the seventh chapter into two parts. This post will focus on the notion of difficulty and part B, next to come in the series––probably in February, that is, if one is still breathing and able to blog––will examine Rilke’s perspective on love. To better explore what Rilke means by “we must trust in what is difficult,” l…