artists, awakenings and new age perfectionism: what Rilke might say

 

Dear Artists,

Artist? Yes that’s you.

Today I have a good word and it comes from the one and only, Rilke.

In the book Letters to a Young Poet, a harmonious exchange of letters between Rilke and a nineteen year old “young poet” seeking Rilke’s guidance, Rilke speaks to a young man plagued by the urgency to get it right: his art, his understanding,  his life.

Sound familiar?

Read on for Rilke’s words to this young artist (to this you and to this me)


“Everything is gestation and then birthing…with deep humility and patience wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

In this (new clarity) there is no measuring with time. A year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force it’s sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast.

I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!”

Ahh. Thank you, Rilke.

Rilke’s words speak for themselves so I only would like to present a quick word of caution as it relates to  current times…

If you’ve been keeping a pulse on our culture then you’ve certainly noticed we’re living in a time of intense transformation as collective consciousness is rapidly awakening to higher levels of awareness, love and light.

This awakening is wonderful…

until, of course, it’s not.

From where I’m sitting it seems that as we awaken to lights and truths meant to set us free, we’re dangerously and simultaneously imprisoning ourselves with the urgency of upgrading NOW into these higher ways of being.

Yes?

While the desire to evolve is natural, without patience, we’ve just re-packaged traditional perfectionism into what looks a whole lot like new-age perfectionism.

Where we once chased a picket fence, we now chase “enlightenment”. Either way we are chasing and without humility and patience we perpetuate the lie that WHO we are, WHERE we are and WHAT we have is not enough.

Dangerous.

If Rilke were alive today I imagine he’d say the same thing to our culture plagued with this urgency to “get it right”:

“Everything is gestation and birthing…patience is everything.”

King Solomon seems to lament in Ecclesiastes as he speaks of this unavoidable call to patience:

“There is a time for everything…I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time”.

King Solomon seems to support Rilke’s claim that yes we can apply our effort and will, but in the end there is no forcing or bypassing the natural gestation of all things.

With this wisdom in mind, if you’re awakening to new truths about yourself and your current way of being, hold them close, be grateful, act anew and by all means be patient as you allow yourself to grow into your new understandings.

How sad it would be to take these lights meant for freedom and accidentally re-work ourselves into the prison of perfectionism?

Let’s not lose our minds judging where we are or rushing our evolution.

Rather, like great artists, let’s relax into the natural process of things “not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force it’s sap”

And finally let us not forget to have fun.

After lamenting over the meaninglessness of men’s striving for an entire book , Solomon (whom the Bible refers to as the wisest man to ever live) concludes:

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.”

So here’s to us and this exciting time we live in…

Here’s to our ongoing awakenings, may we meet these great lights with equal parts patience.

And may we not piss off King Solomon by forgetting to have fun.

Shalom and peace to you,

Mary Catherine

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2017-06-26T14:54:00+00:00 By |On Creativity|0 Comments

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