Right now I am contemplating Ten Things that Inspire me right now for work that will be in an exhibit as part of Pittsfield’s 10x1o Festival in February.
Rilke continues to inspire me. He is one of my ten things.
I first encountered Rilke when I was in college. Someone loaned me a copy of Letters to a Young Poet. And then someone gave me a copy a few years later. I’m not exactly sure who, or when, I just know that I have a copy of it and I reread it from time to time. (Thank you mystery person out there in the world!)
But it wasn’t until I went to Tasmania to visit my friend Peter Adams that I started to read his poetry. Peter suggested I get the Joanna Macy translation. Macy is slowly sliding into first place in my latest role model list. She is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology, and apparently an expert translator. She partnered with Anita Barrows to translate a number of Rilke’s works, and then spent a good amount of time going through all that work, harvesting out sections and compiling them into this wonderful daily reflection, A Year with Rilke.
What is interesting me most though, is her work The Great Turning. The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization. As a member of the first world I need to be part of this Great Turning–to turn to practices that will help create a more livable world, a world that includes clean air and water, food and shelter, access to energy. We in the first world know how to do all of this. The question is how to go about sharing this knowledge and helping others around the globe. Four guidelines in the Great Turning remind me of what I want to keep on doing in my own life, as much as possible.
Go HERE for more info on how she envisions each of these.
Earlier this week, A Year with Rilke, had the following advice on January 18th, from Letters to a young Poet, Worpswede, July 16, 1903:
The tasks that have been entrusted to us are often difficult. Almost everything that matters is difficult and everything matters.
I have many tasks in front of me, the things that help me make meaning in my life. Sometimes they stress me out, make me a little crazy, and stretch me to do things that are uncomfortable, difficult or challenging. But ultimately, it is these things, these things that matter that ultimately make a difference to the quality of my life, my family’s lives, my student’s lives, and the many random people in the world that I meet. Sometimes they don’t make me happy, but ultimately they help me make a difference in the world and meaning in my life. If this is the best I can do, than it’s gotta be pretty good.
Right now I am trying to figure out what to do for February 14th and ONE BILLION RISING. It will involve something at PRESS and creating a printed inspired poster/card for the kick-off 10×10 event/One Billion Rising event my sister-in-love Nina is coordinating at Spice Dragon. Let this and other things stretch me this year.
What are you going to do that matters this year?