Day 21: “Change”

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“Change”

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame

where everything shines as it disappears.

The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much

as the curve of the body as it turns away.

 

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.

Is is safer to be gray and numb?

What turns hard becomes rigid

and is easily shattered.

 

Pour yourself out like a fountain.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking

finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

 

Every happiness is a child of a separation

it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, become a laurel,

dares you to become wind.

 

Rilke, from Songs to Orpheus II

I realize I’m on a bit of a Rilke jag this week and hope you don’t mind.  I wanted to post this poem in conjunction with Rumi’s poem, “Two Kinds of Intelligence.” They both tap into that same idea that there is a deep wisdom in staying flexible, and allowing things to flow through us and that for some reason, we always need that reminder. Most of us have settled into our comfort zone, and aren’t looking for change. Evolution and growth might be nice in theory, but in practice, we often resist them with all our might. I think we might even over-idealize concepts like “tradition,” “commitment,” and “the way things used to be,” as a way to avoid making healthy, necessary, albeit painful changes.

But nothing in the universe is static! So why would we think that our lives, beliefs, nations, or faith traditions should be?

The key to adopting this wisdom can be found in the final stanza.

Every happiness is a child of a separation

it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, become a laurel,

dares you to become wind.

Nothing good can ever come again if we do not expand and grow, personally, professionally, relationally. It is the resurrection mystery at the heart of the universe. Separation, loss, death – things we do not think we can survive – these are the roots of our future happiness. Even Daphne, who lost her idyllic life and became a stationary laurel tree, invites you to become like the never-still wind. It is always blowing somewhere, changing something. The rustle of her leaves is the only movement she will ever experience. Would you be willing to trade places with her?

 

 

3 Comments

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  1. Thank you, Ali, for these moments with Rilke and your personal reflections on life lived with an openness to change. At this point in my life, this has been so helpful. I am planning to print some of these gifts for referral when I want so to control life and the passage of time. Next week I am going to seek out Rilke at our local library. Bless you!

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