Sometimes I feel like I am a warrior going up against a huge dragon. Of course all warriors get scared when faced with the hot breath of their opponent, especially before going into battle.
Parenting can be equally as frightening. But, with a shaky, tender heart the warrior mama acknowledges that she is about to step into the unknown, and then goes towards the dragon. Notice that she doesn’t use her fear as a sign to run away from the dragon. She knows that the dragon is nothing but unfinished self work, and that it’s fear that really needs to be worked with.
You’ve probably seen this passage a million times by the famous German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (when he was all of twenty-seven years old). What you probably haven’t read is the little bit that follows. Written as a letter in 1903 to an aspiring young poet, the passage contains a universal truth that speaks volumes to all of us. It is as terrific reminder as I’ve seen on how to embrace what we fear.
“Dear sir, 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 written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now see 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. Perhaps you do carry within yourself the possibility of shaping and forming as a particularly happy and pure way of living; train yourself to it – but take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of your inmost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing…” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. Translation by M.D. Herter Norton. New York: WW. Norton & Company, Inc., 1954
Whether your personal dragon is house work, a tantruming toddler, miscommunications with a partner, feeling unloved or jilted by a loved one or anything else, my challenge to you is to let Rilke’s advice sink in and “take whatever comes with great trust.”
Can you work WITH your fears and struggles rather than running away from them?
I’d love to hear your comments on this somewhat controversial topic. Feel free to continue the conversation in our facebook group.