Tagged: Rilke

Day 1: Be the guardian of your own solitude

I tell you that I have a long way to go before I am—where one begins….

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Resolve to be always beginning—to be a beginner!


Reusing Rilke.  His words always seem to resonate with me. Just can’t get enough of using his letters to a young poet.  The last time I used his words concerning being patient with things unsolved in my heart was when I was mind blown by India and being overstimulated in Mumbai.  A maximum city can do that.  Who knew a broken heart would send his words tumbling down the rabbit hole on to the plaster that would bandage the cracks of the organ I didn’t guard.



I know it will take time to mourn and heal, and today is Day 1 even if it really isn’t.  I bike to  and from school these days to change my morning routine.  Twenty more days to break an old habit and start a brand new one.  Recovery is expensive and is a pain in the butt.

Rehab. It's not about the bike

Rehab. It’s not about the bike

I am looking forward to my future self  thanking  me for doing this.  That’s the next step. Right now, my present self is really sorry. Sorry to my cracked and beaten heart.

Anyway, two things made me smile today though, Bishop’s villanelle and a song Yason sent me “Since I Left You” by The Avalanches.   Here they are and here goes…

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.



Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Reprinted with the permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.
Source: The Complete Poems 1926-1979 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983)

grateful slice:  making a hard decision and sticking to it

Word for the Year 2012

time for cool change*

Sonnets to Orpheus**
Part Two

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

Last year’s word evolved, as usual.  From Focus, it turned to Surrender mid year. This made total sense in the grand scheme of things and in the end, I needed them both.  Evolution is cool.  I am all open for things changing into stuff way more awesome than what I could ever picture in my mind.   This flexibility is timely too because I can bet a kidney that 2012 will bring many new places to visit, things to experience, big changes, a lot of learning and awesome adventures with amazing people. 🙂

So my  2012 Word for the Year is …


Enough said.

As much as I want to relish the peace and quiet Dec 31, 2011 has brought me, I can’t wait for extraordinary 2012 to roll in.

Wohoo!  I am so excited I am about to spontaneously combust.

Happy New Year!

What’s your word for the year?

grateful slice:  discovery and new beginnings

*wall art singapore subway

**[in In Praise of Mortality: Selections from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, trans. and ed. by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, p. 117]

India 2.0: Eat, Pray, Surrender (a photo prologue to a three part post)

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke

A complicated, intertwined blob of ideas and feelings are swirling amok in my head and my heart right now. Like the intricate maneuverings of a hand with a loom patiently stitching together a unique pattern for a silky Indian shawl, I can’t think or write fast enough to capture the vocabulary fit to describe what India has been like for me during this trip. Only until the pattern is done and the shawl is ready to be purchased as a piece of art by an unassuming traveler and storyteller, will the experience fall into some state where discernible articulation is possible. Amidst the heat that has snuck up on me and has felt like concrete on my skin, flavors and textures that have not ceased to burst in my mouth, the architecture and history porn, and the bedlam and mayhem I face and accept everyday since I’ve been here, I am once again, categorically and unquestionably smitten by India. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu was unforgettable. And now, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, especially South Mumbai, have carved their special corners in the cavities of my heart.

A Quiet Moment in Ahmedabad, Jiten

It’s not easy though, to write about India while still in India. G knows, I’ve tried. And it’s not a problem of not having anything to say as senses feel like they are on steroids. In fact, my extreme and exag ways interlace and lock quite nicely in this maximum city as the overstimulation goes on overdrive. The problem really is where and how to begin …How do I begin to write about a place so chaotic, so crowded and full of contradictions; a place so colorful, and jam-packed with flavors that just won’t quit? How do I explain the intensity of the Heat I thought I already intimately knew growing up in Manila? Where do I begin to describe the ebb and flow of the streets where the willing, surrendering soul can eventually meld with the anarchy , just as long as he/she learn the ways of the inexplicable pace and movement of the waves to not get killed on the road?

Writings on Mumbai, edited by Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernades

Words are too limited and incomplete right now to describe the first moment I laid eyes on The Gateway of India. My body reacted for me and I got a nose bleed instead.

The Gateway of India. Breathtaking.

In the middle of taking a photograph of a man in green blowing bubbles, and after a postcard salesman tried to slip me some weed, blood started too ooze out of my nose and on to my favorite scarf. I wiped the blood with the back of my hand and memorized that Mumbai moment as onlookers stared at me, the nose bleeding voyeur who stuck out like a sore thumb.

The man in green and the bubbles

And what about the people I’ve met…where do I start when it comes to talking about just how great they have been? It’s both an exciting and daunting task, to write about how their stories and lives have moved and inspired me, to aptly pay homage to their significance (I see you) and to express my deep gratitude to them and to G, for making this trip exactly what it is. Amazing and unforgettable.

From my best friend, sister and gracious host, @sacha_wc; Jiten and Jaya, the coordinators at The Calorx school in Ahmedabad; Viren, our brilliant guide during the Taj Hotel Tour, who can speak a gazillion languages; plus all the strangers I bumped into, smiled at and asked for directions, I am extremely grateful for you today.

Papad Salesman at the Crawford Markets

Veggies on the street

Silver Sales Lady at Law Garden in Ahmedabad

Speedy Delivery, Pali Hill near the Promenade

Sad man by the Red phone, Colaba, South Mumbai

Rick Meter. This was a dangerous shot to take.

Reading, Writing and Living Mumbai

Promenade, Carter Road, Bandra

at the Flower Galli, Crawford Market Tour, South Mumbai

"Temple" near The Calorx School, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

So Eat, Pray, Surrender. An up and coming three part post of my (mis)adventures in India: Ahmedabad and Mumbai legs. 🙂 Stay tuned as I let the pictures tell the stories today. In the meantime, I need to live the questions, I need to live everything right now so …”perhaps I will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” I am hoping, at some point, I will find the way and the words to write about my experiences in this truly maximum part of the world. Hope is a good word and memories catch up with us rather quickly.

grateful slice: India, Mumbai,Ahmedabad and Rilke.