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Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Source: Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

The last two stanzas challenge us to think about whether our roles are submissive and passive affairs or ones where we have some mastery and active choice. My mother used to tell us that we had free choice and had to accept responsibility for the consequences of those choices. She told us we are not empty vessels created by God, whatever that belief is, but responsible people with free choice.

The liberty of others and their choices constrains our personal liberty. Without differences, life would be a boring space without room for creativity and growth, a moving to the surface that is fraught with potential challenges.

Similar to the plants in Rilke‘s poem, we face obstacles and constraints. We exist and flourish within those constraints when we find the proper paths to live lives fully. It is no easy task, but one that can bring great fulfillment. When care for and tend to those paths, our lives become filled with vigour, often flourishing because of the lessons learned from finding those paths.

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