Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Calling forth life's riches...

“If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no indifferent place.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

I've fondly used the above quote for many years, without questioning what the author was saying. So, I decided to take a closer look and was pleased with my discovery. It seems to me that in his journey toward creativity and self-definition, Rilke used his passion as a poet as a starting place for constructing meaning. He understood a rare truth that many seem to miss --- that the only human being capable of making life meaningful is our own person. Only you and I can plug ourselves into that vital connection each day. The poet is a great example of a devoted kind of proactivity. He/she uses laser-like observations to arduously seek abundant riches that at the same time feed and inspire the writer as well as the reader.

So what? Well, whenever I feel like drifting into a mood of indifference or selfpity, it’s time for me to be asking: ¨Who is responsible for my sense of well being?¨ In the midst of the demands and challenges of daily living it’s easy to lose my way. In order to begin today with freshness and perspective, I need to remember I'm responsible for my feelings. Internalized motivation is what enables me to progress in order to withstand negative external influences. Without this development, I fall prey to victimization... either of circumstances or to the fickle nature of those around me. I therefore, make my decisions based upon what I want, and not the approval I may gain. Internally-defined (God-defined or God-valued) persons are aware of their imperfections, yet they know who they are. They are clear about the values they believe in even when they mess up and have to start over again.
As simple as I seek to make the idea of responsibility sound, the spiritual life is chock full of paradox and so any easy explanation about responsibility for our emotions can run the danger of becoming too simplistic. It’s easy to stray to either extremes than find a balanced understanding. Some people for example, err by externalizing their feelings (locus of control) to such a degree that they blame everything that has gone wrong on everything or everyone except themselves. On the other hand, some err on the other side by internalizing their feelings to such a degree that they blame themselves for whatever has gone wrong and that too is not healthy (Phil McGraw).

I have come to appreciate John and Mary Valentis's masterful quotation below because I mature through honest self-awareness rather than seeking to understand how others may or may not be operating. Self-awareness allows me to stay focused upon my perceptions without getting enmeshed in what I think others are thinking. I know this is difficult for me because I often forget that God has not given me mind-reading powers. At least not yet.

"Stay within yourself and your feelings. don't wander away by focusing on your partner or the situation... To focus on your partner or situation is to leave your feeling experience and its message, a message of self-awareness."

Hmmmmmm? I want to be able to finish this post, but can't FIGURE OUT WHAT'S MISSING. Oh, well, I guess I'll have to land the plane another day okay?
-- TR

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