Much Love Monday

Rilke wrote something to the effect that being particularly sensitive is helpful for a writer's craft. But we all know that being too sensitive is not particularly helpful in society. It can be difficult to get the balance right in life.
And just as I was thinking that this weekend, a travel documentary on television featured the Thai Poosam Kavady festival in South Africa, part of which involves walking barefoot on a scalding hot pavement. A tourist asked how it was that she seemed to be the only one having difficulty not being burned. Her host explained that she was to think of her 'principle' god, her mother, and "her sweet mother's love". I tried to read up on this explanation, but can only surmise that it is because Lord Muruga was helped by his mother to destroy the evil tree that those in the procession would think of their own mothers, who are the first to teach them the principles of godliness.
When I saw that regrettably short television segment, I thought about how important different forms of training are in order for one to get over one's self, so to speak. Like doing sports, or keeping a fixed sleeping schedule.
But my thoughts returned to how to be a better writer, a better communicator - isn't this something we all strive for? One of the things I am sorry I did not understand at one stage of my life is how important it is not to say negative things - about other people (i.e. even when such words might seem warranted), or even about abstract topics, such as politics. Comments are negative if the soil is barren: criticism can't change the internal qualities of soil, rather, by undertaking the hard work of formulating criticism, one will be working against one's own strength. In contrast, if the soil gives in to the criticism, the negative of the work becomes a positive in that the subject takes to the work, and makes the work their own.

Another aspect of communication on my mind these days was provoked by a series of blog posts about how to blog better (e.g. this one, via). I realise that all those rules apply to a specific kind of blog, not a blog like mine. I am often drawn to examining the same idea from different angles in different, written, posts. But I am sensitive to what other people are doing, because I often ponder what it means to engage with one's era.
Common advice to writers, be they of blogs or not, is to put the writing away for a while, before releasing it. Rilke did this to the point that he did not publish any poems that he was not completely satisfied with. I admire people with professional restraint, and often regret that while I took that approach with my professional writing, I seem to be all renegade about the writing I seek no profit from.
But something must be said of identity control. The larger one's heart, the more one is drawn in various directions in one's early years. While this may look messy at first, as time passes, one increases one's chances of weaving together the seemingly disparate themes into a grandly harmonious composition. The trick is to not get discouraged, and to remember the training.
If one is sensitive, one can take solace if one feels pain in that one has not become dulled to it over the years; for that means that one is still alive. One can further gather strength in remaining mindful of higher principles, like love, which, mystery of mysteries, will always help one overcome the battles - providing one is fertile, not barren, soil.
There are many questions we have throughout our lives. I would like to think that most of us wonder about communicating better, and living meaningful lives. I think the best answers to these questions come from the marriage of love of self, with love of another and others. And since it was mother's day yesterday, I'll tie today's Much Love Monday post to the concept of motherhood, which, in its ideal form, is all of those things. If one feels the challenges becoming too difficult, one can think of one's own long-suffering, life-giving mother - be she religious, abstract, or from birth - and hold on, in one's mind, to that image of love that wishes to release us from our woes.

 Elements: drawings; lace; magazine photo.

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