“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Lovelies, I received a very thought-provoking question recently in regard to the quote from Rainer Maria Rilke at the top of this post, and I wanted to address it here on my blog. Like many things in life there is no simple answer, and as it is a question I have asked myself over and over again in this lifetime I wanted to share my response.
Here’s the excellent question:
Mine is a question Nicole that troubles me.
I always love the captions/snippets from other writers under your lovely images and this morning’s starts with ” if your daily life seems poor don’t blame it”
My question is how does this fit with all the poor souls born into or find themselves in shocking conditions they have no control over such as absolute poverty, war, famine, abusive families?
How have they created this? How can it possibly be their fault?
These questions have troubled me because they don’t seem to fit into the positive thinking or “ask and it shall be given” brackets. Can your guides help with some clarity here ?
Thank you for your blogs, they have been part of my day for years now.
As many of you know my life has had its share of troubles, pain and obstacles. When I was young and idealistic I thought that this suffering was unfair. Why did I have these problems when friends of mine seemed to be floating along on a cloud of joy, love, support and happiness?
But looking into the window of the life of another never truly tells you what is going on. I have found, through life experience and in my decades of working as a psychic and mentor, that all of us have troubles and many of these are invisible to those around us.
Throughout my life, in an attempt to heal, I have also explored every possible avenue including much time spent in trying to undo, rectify or heal any wrong-doing, thought or action I may have taken that may have led to my suffering.
Goodness, how mean I have been to myself – blaming myself for my circumstances and believing that this suffering was all my fault.
War, famine, drought, accidents, random acts of violence and horror, abusive relationships, terrible illnesses. Did we sign up for these? Much of the New Age movement would have us think so. Works such as the book ‘You can heal your life’ and the philosophy of the Law of Attraction make it easy to buy into the concept that any problems or suffering in our lives are a direct result of our karma, our thoughts and our attitudes. Perhaps we even chose suffering as part of our ‘contract’ in coming here to this life.
I have seen the dramatic recent rise of shaming of people who actually need our empathy and support – people with issues as diverse as addictions, autistic children, staying in a marriage with a partner who has mental health issues, cancer, chronic illness, depression, or displacement from their country due to war. Human kindness is too often replaced by judgement from those fortunate enough to not be in the same circumstances. Rise up, they say. Change your thoughts. Juice vegetables. Go vegan. Wear a crystal. Parent better. Use less chemicals. Make different choices. Have more discipline. Heal your past lives!
(Want to read more on this theme? My Sad Unicorns post covers this ‘dangerous magical thinking’ problem in detail.)
I’ve seen mothers told that their young children’s illness is the result of past-life religious transgressions. I’ve listened as people have judged someone with cancer for having caused it by not having a clean lifestyle. Yes, it’s true that there are lifestyle factors involved with many illnesses, including cancer. But that’s not the whole picture. I’ve watched friends who are vegans, vegetarians, yoga instructors – every possible thing that you could consider the epitome of a healthy, anti-cancer chemical-free loving and natural lifestyle be struck down and taken by cancers, savagely and fast.
Dear Elle, yours is an excellent question, and this is what I believe. Life is difficult and wonderful and dangerous and fraught with risk. Things happen for which we will never find a reason. People in power make decisions that affect millions. Accidents and mistakes happen. Weather patterns change. Our genetics hands us a bad card or wild one. Illnesses occur and we don’t yet have the science to interpret and understand them fully. And none of that is our fault. If we look wider we see that this is also true for plants and animals and places. No-one and nothing is immune to suffering, desecration, destruction or death.
So what does that have to do with Rainer Maria Rilke’s quote? I think this quote is more about how we cope with life’s suffering than our thoughts as a causative agent of that suffering. I believe that there is one thing we do have control over. We can choose how we feel, how we react, what we think. In even the most difficult of lives we can find tiny windows of calm, of nurture, of beauty, and small moments of grace and gratitude. That is one of the gifts of suffering – it can promote mindfulness and with mindfulness comes an opportunity to mentally lift ourselves out of impossible pain and hardship for a short while. It gifts us resilience, and meaning and a way to endure.
I hope that helps,
Much love, Nicole xx
18 thoughts on “Is this life of mine my fault?”
I just found this post among the many I was behind on and almost missed. It must have been fated to find now as I’ve just received a terminal diagnosis. I’ve been blaming myself and wondering if I have the strength of character to transmute it and prove them wrong. So many emotions and thoughts go through the mind at a time like this and I have read everything I can find on healing. Your post and many of the comments here has helped a great deal. Thank you for addressing this subject.
Oh darling friend I am so sorry to hear your news. We are on retreat today and I will add you into our healing grid. Life is terminal for all of us and I have lived with that dark bird on my shoulder many times. But you and I are still alive and that is what matters. Please let go of any thought that this is your fault or that you have somehow failed. Here if you need me and I am holding you in my thoughts and prayers. Biggest love and gentle hugs, Nicole 💜🙏💕
Thank you, Nicole. As I have held you in mine through your many close calls. I get notification that my time is short so I get to choose how to spend the rest of it. No wasting a minute now. Not everyone gets that lucky, do they. 🙂
So well said and beautifully written. Very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing your insight
Thank you Nicole for your wise and totally acceptable answer to my question. My lovely mum died after I wrote to you so I completely forgot about it and didn’t twig you were answering ME until I saw my name! Elle 🙂
Thank you Nicole I also read the sad unicorn . You inspire me so much Nicole . You can’t sugar coat life you have to just live it and find joy in what brings you joy even when you are hurting it’s the one thing we can do to survive. I look for simple things that get me through I kept finding feathers yesterday and I found a silver star while I was walking my arthritic dog and that was enough to make me feel great even through the pain . Today I saw a hummingbird that was my special gift for today . I know a lot of us suffer daily and it’s hard but take a few minutes even if you’re in pain and stop and smell the roses just stay away from the thorns. Have a great day Nicole and all of us in the same boat.
You are such a gift to this world Nicole! What a wonderful thought provoking answer. Thank you so much .
Well put Nicole and commenters.
When dealing with the stillbirth of my first child many years ago, the most memorably useful thing I was told was that “grief makes you bitter or better” and I was determined to not become bitter. It was a very useful cliche as it reminded me where I would rather be in my state of mind and being.
Love to All
Thanks Nicole – I needed to get a fresh perspective this morning… thanks for getting me thinking and feeling from a different space.
The way I look at it, the “problem” you speak of isn’t suffering, it’s language. The “Reality” we “Create” is not Created by the Ego, but the “Soul” or our Higher Self. Blame is an Ego concept, not a Soul concept. In the Reality of Ego, Cause and Effect reigns supreme. In the Reality of Soul, Cause and Effect is an artifact of Duality and Linear Time. To have Cause and therefore Blame (someone’s “Fault”), one event must precede another. The Soul’s Reality is infinite, simultaneous, multifarious, and unitary; Duality is an illusion of the Ego.
Ego, by the way, is Good; its job is to keep us Alive in the World of Matter and Form, and it’s very good at it. But relative to the world of Soul, it wears blinders. Even that is Good – would it serve “us” (Ego *or* Soul?) to not pay Attention to our physical Safety because we were busy Attending to the Life of our Soul?
It is very difficult for the mind to exit the World of Cause and Effect and therefore Blame, but it can be done. One possible path is to differentiate Blame from Responsibility; Blame Looks Backward to Assign Cause, while Responsibility (as the *Ability* to *Respond* rather than React) Looks Forward to Improve Outcomes. In your blog, I see you constantly Looking Forward to Improve Outcomes. Your mind also at times seems to play with Looking Backward to Assign Cause.
The first principle of Healing is Empathy. Since we all operate from Ego, in order to Heal ourself or anyone else, we need to Empathize with Blame. But we increase our Suffering by *Identifying* with Blame rather than Empathizing with it. Identity is a synonym for Ego – we *Become* our Blame, and it Feels horrible.
A simple trick I sometimes remember when I catch myself Identifying with my Suffering, is to “Poor-Sweetheart” myself. It works well enough that I wish I could always “catch myself Identifying” sooner, and remember to do it all the time! I say to myself, “You Poor Sweetheart, you’re Feeling xxx, aren’t you.” “xxx” might be pain, scarcity, despair, powerlessness, or anything untoward. As soon as I say that, my Identity is no longer Suffering, my Identity is now Empathy. It’s a dumb-sounding little trick, but it’s surprisingly Powerful. Often the Change is immediate. Sometimes my Suffering talks back to me (often as if a little Being, sometimes my historical child, perched on my left shoulder!), and when it does, I Learn a lot.
Applying Empathy to larger and larger parts of my Life is a constant Challenge. I can work my butt off in the World of Matter and Form trying to escape Scarcity, for instance, without realizing (till writing this and recognizing that I’ve been Blaming myself for my Scarcity – thank you very much – an example of your Power to Heal!) that I can say to myself, “You Poor Sweetheart, you’re Feeling Scarcity, aren’t you.” or “You Poor Sweetheart, you’re feeling Anxious about Scarcity, aren’t you.”
Thanks Jim! It is a good trick (which I’d forgotten).
I enjoyed reading this. Am going to use your simple trick.
What a lovely sharing. Thank you so much, Jim. Big hugs, Nicole xx
This is so timely for me this week. I am really struggling with emotions about my accident. There has been a bad bicycle accident on Doorknock Tce this week with much press about the accident not being the cyclists fault. I absolutely believe the accident was not the fault of the cyclists. What it has done has triggered all the emotions related to my accident and how my accident was my fault. I have and am revisiting all the feelings of unworthiness and why I should never have been on that mountain that day. I have journaled and journaled and talked about this issue in the last two years but again it has raised its ugly head. It has also shown to me both how unkind and kind people can be. Our world is so full of light and dark. We are humans and so we are exposed to both happy and sad. I too have thoughts about this quandary that is life
1. We must always always try to be kind – to ourselves and each other .
2. As Mark Twain said ” What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”
I like your answer, some things are beyond our control we do not chose to suffer but at times we do
Thank you Nicole, a really beautiful response. Kate
Beautifully said Nicole. Too many times I have been told that I have “chosen” this suffering and I believe it is so unkind to say this to another. It doesn’t contribute to helping them or showing them another way. It is judgement, blame, shame and gives you a feeling of being less than, not capable of making changes.
How you feel, think and act is your choice to any situation/event that occurs is key. I believe their is always a beautiful gift in all that life offers and I know that in my times of struggle I have received the most amazing gifts. I became aware of how strong and resilient I am.
Beautiful response Nicole – awesome. I like to go with the “bad stuff happens to good people” approach, and its a question of how you deal with it. Dignity and grace, and to go the high road; choosing excellence as Michelle Obama said. Thank you for a lovely start to the day.