Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We move in infinite space*

"It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, - is already in our blood. And we don't know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens."

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Why this man speaks to me I'll never know, but in every moment of deepest fatigue and despair he strikes right at the heart of the matter with a passage or a poem. I am thankful for this man who lived and died years before I was even born, even before my parents were born. Sometimes I felt that I quoted him too much, but this blog is a testament to his enduring influence, ever since I first received a copy of "Letters to a Young Poet" when I was 16.

Tonight he reminds me of the need for patience, even when patience is wearing thin. I feel so done in, so exhausted, so helpless to prevent conflict that I just want to check out sometimes. Rilke reminds me that you simply cannot snap your fingers and expect change. Change is difficult and painful, but we must, must hold to what is difficult. I am learning to be attentive, learning to sit with sadness, during those times in which we "stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing." Sometimes I wish that I could go back, revert to a time of not knowing what I know, not feeling what I've felt. I know that this is impossible because perhaps a new future is being transformed within me, waiting to move out of me someday.

*"The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space. How could it not be difficult for us?" RMR

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taken for Granted

In my last post I wrote about anxiety coming in waves ... whoo boy, that hasn't changed. It feels even more extreme this week. I go from feeling calm and okay to completely freaked out. I have no time, or not enough time. This week has already been trying already. I still have an eight page paper, a presentation, and a photo shoot to complete over the weekend. Oh, and editing and the GRE on Saturday. It's also a significant weekend for a friend, and I can't just check out on that either. And then there is the significant other who needs time too.

I can't sleep at night. I want to be done with all this, done with the pain and anxiety. I want to feel reassured and confident. I also want to become a hermit, to ignore everything for just as long as it takes to get these assignments done. But the idea of isolating myself entirely is upsetting in its own way too. I told myself this semester would be different. One good thing I can say is that I've become much, much better at still functioning even when I'm freaked out and unsettled and anxious (about school, about relationships, or anything else).

I can't help but feel that every aspect of my life that I've taken for granted over the past few years is getting shaken up and moved around, and I keep banging my knees into the furniture because it's not where it was, and I still don't know where everything is going to land in the end. I mean, I think I know what I want. I think I can get there. But the in-between is so very difficult.

Perhaps this is just what happens during transition times like these. Things change. Things surface. Things become uncertain. There is at least a little grain of excitement there.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting Go

I've been reading the poem by Rilke that I posted recently almost everyday. I need the reminder, because the anxiety comes in waves. Right now I'm most concerned about my project for my senior seminar. It's crazy and unorthodox and unsettling. There are no rules, and yet there are. I don't know. My prof keeps telling us to have fun, to play, take risks ... let go, she says. Yet there are standards, rules to play by. It's anxiety inducing because there is no way to hold both things in your head at once, yet we are being asked to do just that.
If you're confused, then so am I.
I'm so burned out. I've had a headache for the past three days and I keep feeling shooting pains in my chest whenever I think about that project or even just getting through the next five weeks. These are familiar sensations, but generally I don't feel quite this burned out until after Thanksgiving. It's concerning me because I also don't when I'll get the chance to recuperate.
On the upside, I just got a free ticket to see Bill Clinton speak. Yes, the ex-president himself is coming to my college. I also had an uplifting meeting with my adviser today - I have a very good feeling about spring classes. At the beginning of the year, I figured I'd be sad at the thought of my last undergrad registration process. Now, I'm just ready for what's next (whatever that may be). I'm getting tired of the undergrad lifestyle. Which is another upside. I'm realizing that I shouldn't let fear drive my decision making process about what to do or where to go next. That's automatically limiting yourself from the get-go, isn't it?