Some Jumbled Thoughts While Reading ‘Testament of Youth’

Silence and lingering hurt.
Triggered by my mother’s shaming tactics and the loss of Vera [Brittain]’s beloved.
My heart feels flooded and sore.
How dangerous and vulnerable joy is, like we set ourselves up by showing our belly to life and being punched in the gut as a result.
War. Violence. Separation. Loneliness.
Why do these images seem most real and joy, gladness and happiness but a fleeting illusion? I cannot bring myself to hope, although my heart yearns for resolution. My heart yearns to love and be loved in return. Yet why should I be so lucky when millions of others are suffering so?

I know what it’s like to feel joy over something trivial, a misunderstanding, and afterwards, the grave fall into despair and bitter disappointment. Is any gladness real?
Or are we glad, excited and happy over the wrong things, transient, already escaping our clutch?
Do I help people in need of comfort by denying myself faith and trust?

I cannot help but feel that maybe a true, lasting love is not meant for me, that I came here to be lonely, like Rilke. Or is it vain to compare myself to his talent and trials?

Am I addicted to heartbreak? It always seems to come to this. Yasmin Mogahed reminded me not to chase things, for you will have what is meant for you. Yet wasn’t Roland meant for Vera? How can someone be meant for death only?

It’s hard to find a space of my own,
where I can breathe fully.

A Blessing for Today and All Days

Dear one,
May you stay close to your own breath today.
May you remember the vast wisdom
that lies within you.
May your decisions and thoughts be based
on your trust in life
and your love for God.
May you be kind and gentle.
May you always be attuned
to the heartbeat and whispers of nature.
May you always feel the sun
on your face.
May you be kissed by the rain
and remember the grace it brings.
May you delight in who you are
right now.
May the one you love, love you
in return.

Mucha night sky

A Day of Silence

Pulsing grief
ancient memories
I cannot find the words to speak.
So much love and solitude and silence in my heart
wanting to craddle the world in my arms.

Where did all the bright stars go?
The childhood wishes, the hope of
finding peace and harmony?
Nothing can stop the waves from
crashing upon the shore
and then retreating once more.
We all move through time together
stubbornly refusing to hold hands.

Today is a day of silence
trembling in the face of what is to come
staying close to the whispers, cries
and agonies of my soul.
Today I wander aimlessly, with
wild hair and no replies.
Today I stumble on my cold
bare feet, my lips dirty from kissing
the cold wet ground.

Oh Mother, you who have held so much,
you who have shed your tears over so many tragedies.
Hold us close and breathe life into us again
so we might speak your words
of burning fire and long lost truth.

Today I can only write, bleeding my pain.
I don’t even know what I am most sad about.
All I know is that humanity’s heart will soon
break open
and dear God, may we open our hearts
to love, compassion, patience and understanding.
May we stand still for a moment and breathe in
each other.
May we come Home to the stranger in the mirror
and kiss our own lips.
May we see past fear and isolation
and always offer each other our whole heart.

Enough has been said now, only
silence remains.
A silence heavy with the cries of yesterday
and fear of the future.
and yet, beneath it all,
I sense a silence infused with deeper presence
who can hold and embrace every little thought, cry
and yearning of a lonely breathing heart.
So go on, dear one, let yourself fall apart.


On Loneliness and finding Him (Rilke)

(Excerpt from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke)


If there is nothing you can share with other people, try to be close to Things; they will not abandon you; and the nights are still there, and the winds that move through the trees and across many lands; everything in the world of Things and animals is still filled with happening, which you can take part in; and children are still the way you were as a child, sad and happy in just the same way and if you think of your childhood, you once again live among them, among the solitary children, and the grownups are nothing, and their dignity has no value.

And if it frightens and torments you to think of childhood and of the simplicity and silence that accompanies it, because you can no longer believe in God, who appears in it everywhere, then ask yourself, dear Mr. Kappus, whether you have really lost God. Isn’t it much truer to say that you have never yet possessed him? For when could that have been? Do you think that a child can hold him, him whom grown men bear only with great effort and whose weight crushes the old? Do you suppose that someone who really has him could lose him like a little stone? Or don’t you think that someone who once had him could only be lost by him? But if you realize that he did not exist in your childhood, and did not exist previously, if you suspect that Christ was deluded by his yearning and Muhammad deceived by his pride – and if you are terrified to feel that even now he does not exist, even at this moment when we are talking about him – what justifies you then, if he never existed, in missing him like someone who has passed away and in searching for him as though he were lost?

Why don’t you think of him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy? Don’t you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning, and couldn’t it be His beginning, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful? If he is the most perfect one, must not what is less perfect precede him, so that he can choose himself out of fullness and superabundance? Must he not be the last one, so that he can include everything in himself, and what meaning would we have if he whom we are longing for has already existed?

As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build Him. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join or help us, we start Him whom we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time.

Is there anything that can deprive you of the hope that in this way you will someday exist in Him, who is the farthest, the outermost limit?

Dear Mr. Kappus, celebrate Christmas in this devout feeling, that perhaps He needs this very anguish of yours in order to begin; these very days of your transition are perhaps the time when everything in you is working at Him, as you once worked at Him in your childhood, breathlessly. Be patient and without bitterness, and realize that the least we can do is to make coming into existence no more difficult for Him than the earth does for spring when it wants to come.

And be glad and confident.


Rainer Maria Rilke

Secrets of Love

When you open your heart to love
Love for yourself, love for the world
Love for life.
When you accept and caress your pain,
like an infant in need of gentleness and understanding.
When you let everything be as it should,
when you let life unfold and unfold and unfold,
when you let go of what you thought was best for you,
and instead learn to trust on love, on yourself,
on God, and everything in between.
When you are truly patient with yourself,
allowing the flowers of your inner soil to bloom,
even when the world turns against you,
you will know the unknowable.
You will know the secrets of Love.
You will know that the universe is in you,
dancing to the melody of your heart.
Do not be discouraged by the ache you are feeling,
my dear one.
those are the pains of a new beginning.
Let yourself die a thousand times,
so you will know the seasons of life.
You are so much more than you thought you were,
don’t be afraid to fly.
Don’t let others take your wings away,
but follow who you truly are inside.

secrets of love

A Blessing

To the person reading this..

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be peaceful
May you live with ease

May all your days be filled with love, gentleness, light and joy.
May your heart be filled with love for yourself and the world.
May you embrace your darkness and turn it into gold
May you know yourself as you know your oldest friend

May you feel safe, loved and held by the universe
May life bring you all it has to offer of goodness and abundance
May your body and soul be healed and returned to radiant health
May you find the strength to love and nurture your wounds
and always comfort yourself.
May you turn to yourself in your hour of need and find a loving, patient friend there,
kindly inviting you to share your heartbreak.
May you feel listened to and understood.

May you be open to love and open to life
May all your days be blessed.
May you always feel connected with your loved ones
May they always be in your heart.