Small steps and giant leaps

“‘The thought of being a creator, of engendering, of shaping’, is nothing without its continuous great confirmation and embodiment in the world, nothing without the thousand-fold assent from Things and animals- and our enjoyment of it is so indescribably beautiful and rich only because it is full of inherited memories of the engendering and birthing of millions. In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love come to life again and fill it with majesty and exaltation. And those who come together in the nights and are entwined in rocking delight perform a solemn task and gather sweetness, depth, and strength for the song of some future poet, who will appear in order to say ecstasies that are unsayable”.

Sigh…what a mouthful. That’s Rainer Maria Rilke, an Austrian poet and thinker I fell in love with back in highschool. The excerpt is from the book “Letters to a Young Poet” translated by Stephen Mitchell. What a task- to translate someone’s genius in their native language and attempt to transfer the majesty of their words to a completely different tongue. It’s a tall order. I find myself returning to Rilke’s words throughout the years, there is something so universally poignant about his thoughts and musings, something that has always transcended trend or era. In fact, that is what I think embodies the very best art. It can be seen the same way one knows a true friend when they find one- no matter how much time has passed, the two of you don’t skip a beat. The relationship is always alive and relevant, regardless of whether its been ten days or ten years since your last meeting. Good art is like that.

We lose so many incredible artists as time passes, so many of them having left us only recently. While their passing is always tragic, while we always mourn them and their work, the potential for future masterpieces and their chances to reach higher levels, haven’t they already accomplished something that is the most beautiful thing in life? Have they not already created something real? Something that has moved people and will continue to move people long after they’re gone? That is the ultimate in mark-making, and its the gift given to all artists, regardless of what they choose to dabble in. For some, their art is in their grace- their kindness, their words, their lessons they impart on their families. The beauty lies in having something to leave behind doesn’t it?

In putting pure, and soulful things out into the world, we are reaching the ultimate manifestation.  Living in the moment and creating what is truest to ourselves IN that moment- thats the way one should create. Whether we see it or not, these works of art remain, they nestle themselves into the collective consciousness on this planet and they stay there. Period.

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