Letters to a Young Poet (poetic excerpt)
~ Rainer Maria Rilke (translation by M.D. Herter Norton)
So you mustn’t be frightened if a sadness rises in front of you larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety – like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.
Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change.
If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better. In you, so much is happening now; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like someone who is recovering; for perhaps you are both.
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