I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 – 1926

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother’s face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.


Having lived a life with many chapters, I find that I still constrict parts of myself that are true in an effort to maintain the status quo, to function in this world as it is. This “folding’ of self is a self imposed confinement of all that make me a wonderful and unique person.  Just as a caterpillar endures restriction in order to experience a true metamorphosis into a butterfly, I too have found patience in this process with the knowing that I will indeed completely unfold as Rilke states in the poem above.


This unfolding will be unsteady and foreign for anyone that has lived a small existent, presenting as less than to the world.  Fully accepting our true self and infinite wholeness can be so expansive and vast it becomes frightening. Why this fear? I do not know.  We live with the desire to be seen and heard, to live large, make a difference and achieve goals.  Yet when talking about our true self, we shy away from the discourse and choose instead to talk about more concrete desires. It is just too revealing and anything that is that intimate can be intimidating and difficult to approach.


Admittedly, I have grazed this topic for many years. Even as a child I remember quite vividly knowing that I had a different perspective on what was important and how I viewed the world.  I have always danced around my inner self, my soul. She and I are old friends and over the years have become more connected, functioning in unison more often than not. We are one in the same, mirror images of each other.


This self study from an early age is best described by Rilke with “..I want to describe myself like a picture I observed for a long time, one close up”.  My picture is well worn on the corners from many years of introspection and detailed examination. It is a visual representation of my life thus far. This self-portrait shows all areas of my life in which I have clung to my faith during times of complete and utter sadness and despair. It is also representative of the many joys that have graced my life, far too many to express here. No picture is complete without the shading of both darkness and light.

This does not mean that I have a complete understanding of self, I am not sure that is even possible. I can only hope that I have had more instances of unfolding instead of constriction and that this will continue to be the case moving forward. My wish is to be expansive and open, to escape the bonds of self-doubt and to move freely through the remainder of my life with my heart and soul wide open.

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