“No feeling is final,” wrote Rilke, and for these simple, four words, I express gratitude to yet another man I have never met. You see, I have exhausted myself with grief again, and it feels like more of a workout than this morning’s yoga practice, which was both strong and strangely opening. I don’t know what I did differently, but today, after sneaking in kurmasana, I knew that something was going to give. Fortunately for Rilke and all of us gathered, or all of us moving around one another like delicate satellites, it gave with a sudden burst, the phantom of a hand brushing my hair from my face.
Grieving has no timeline, but in this culture you’re supposed to accept and carry on, especially when another commercial tells you and me and all of us that everything is supposed to stay the same. You’re not supposed to age, you’re not supposed to falter in that Instagram photograph and, heavens forbid, you’re not supposed to show emotion because no one knows what to do with it. I will say, however, that the least likely guardian angels heeded my public sobs, unlike in the populated, callous city of New York where no one asked, no one stopped, no one cared.
My invisible friend, Rilke, also once wrote in a letter that there was a love waiting, stored like an inheritance that would eventually transcend it all, physical form, space on this American portion of a rock in the universe’s sea. But first we must focus on what it’s like to operate with a limb that is no longer there, as we notice “oh, they’re not coming back,” and try not to panic. Such is the nature of things, such is the nature of impermanence.
Right now, I’d like to have a conversation with the constellations, but most of them have already faded. I’m a time traveler at night, which is when the hot sun finally cools and I can pick myself up, again, from the floor, feeling as if I’d made physical exertions like my daily practice. Grieving is not a welcome friend; it is something that cares not for the time of day, the weather and the temperature, and I invited it to my empty table to share a glass of wine, yet it knocked my glass aside and my self to the floor. Nothing lasts forever, and I believe that one day we shall be complementing each other’s tastes, so I let it stay. Summer came early, nothing is as it should be, but I remember there are no “shoulds.”
Rilke also believed in living the questions, not desperately grabbing on to the wrong answers, or any answers, because the questions will eventually become the answers as time gracefully moves in the linear fashion we have to face on earth. “Time is not linear,” but right now, it is and so it’s ok to “go to the limit of your longing,” to wrestle it, and to find out a new kind of truth and to expel those tears and guttural noises. Because sometimes we don’t understand and sometimes we hurt, but just as my dearest Rilke said, “let everything happen to you, beauty and terror” because, as I remember, “no feeling is final.”
I think it’s going to thunder this evening and that’s a sound greater than I can make, but it’s not a mask, it’s a simple coincidence in which I believe, because things are unfolding and changing and it’s heartbreaking but it’s better than remaining static.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”