Wednesday, April 13, 2011

no life is single

When the garden of your unchosen lives has enough space to breathe beneath your chosen path, your life enjoys a vitality and sense of creative tension.  Rilke refers to this as "the repository of unlived things."

No one lives his life.

Disguised since childhood,
haphazardly assembled
from voices and fears and little pleasures,
we come of age as masks.

Our true face never speaks.

Somewhere there must be storehouses
where all these lives are laid away
like suits of armor or old carriages
or clothes hanging limply on the walls.

Maybe all paths lead there,
to the repository of unlived things.

excerpted from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

You know that you have not compromised the immensity that you carry, and in which you participate.  You have not avoided the call of commitment;  yet you hold your loyalty to your chosen path in such a way as to be true to the blessings and dangers in life's passionate sacramentality.  No life is single. Around and beneath each life is the living presence of these adjacencies.... to keep the borders of choice porous demands critical vigilance and affective hospitality.  To live in such a way invites risk and engages complexity.   Yet the integrity of growth demands such courage and vulnerability from us; otherwise the tissues of our sensibility atrophy and we become trapped behind the same predictable mask of behavior. 

~ John O'Donohue
from Eternal Echoes