Monday, December 3, 2012

Amor Fati

Leah, last week you asked about my husband's experience of leaving Innermost House.  You wondered if it mirrors my own or if there are some subtle differences.   

Michael and I are two sides of one life.  It is only that I am this side of us and he is the other side.  In many ways it was stranger for him than for me to leave Innermost House.  To the visiting world of our guests, he was Innermost House.

There is a phrase that comes to us I think from the Stoic philosophers
Amor fati.  It means "the love of one's fate."  I have heard it interpreted as stoical resignation and acceptance.  

Whatever it means to the philosophers, that has not wholly been my experience.  I have lived for thirty years united to one whose love has never recoiled from our destiny.  And I have never known him to be resigned to anything, but always to seek a way to its meaning. 

I say this now because I know all the frustrations and discouragements of seeking an Innermost Life in an unyielding world.  I want to encourage you to do with all your heart whatever you feel in your heart is best.

You think you do not know my husband, but you do.  Everyone who has ever seen the photographs of our life at Innermost House has seen him.  For what you see is him, not me.  I am the half of us you hear.  

If Innermost House is beautiful, it was his love of our fate that made it beautiful, even his love of our fate that made it possible to leave it. 


  1. Diana, thank you for this very candid, personal response to my question. I worried that I was digging too deeply into your space, into your married Conversation about the experience of loss. I do see Michael in the photos of IH but I see you too. You both shine so beautifully.

    Your words are encouraging: "If Innermost House is beautiful, it was his love of our fate that made it beautiful, even his love of our fate that made it possible to leave it."

    I so very much admire you and Michael for living a truthful, holy life. -- And I do mean holy as in spiritually pure and inspiring.

    You mention the 'love of our fate'. I wonder if that means the acceptance of what must be and a belief in the ultimate good, or at least the lessons that fate will bring. I certainly believe for you. I wish you both peace 'in the middle place.'

    1. I wanted to add that when I look at this picture, I can see (feel?) Michael sitting in his chair.

  2. Amor fati: "the love of one's fate." I love this expression! I would say it is not so much stoic or resignation for me, but actually embracing and loving what comes to me, what I have created. There is sometimes the question, ooh, is this what I really wanted? If not, without spending too much despair on it, I will create something new. I find myself, at this time, trying on new "futures" as one would try on clothes! They all look so wonderful but nothing quite fits........ yet! The process is good fun. And my now is quite lovely, so no hurry.......... it will all reveal itself in time.

  3. To your new visitor here, not long familiar nor deeply, it does seem that you do the word "fate" a service. It is so often accompanied by dark adjectives. You rescue it from its opposition to its more sweetly regarded sister, destiny. It seems it must be that all our highly intentioned thoughts are moving towards a fulfilling destiny, like a wave on the shore. I am a bit of a distant stranger here on your blog. I don't know if I speak your language quite, but I do this morning feel an exhilaration on your behalf, and on mine as well, as that beautiful wave of yours sinks into our sand.

  4. Thank you, Diana, for encouraging us to do with all our hearts whatever we feel in our hearts is best. For love of my own fate, this is the only possible course for me. The world certainly IS unyielding to the Innermost Life--AT FIRST. It doesn't seem as if the resistance actually lessens as I go along, but its effect upon me does. With each step that I take, whether outwardly or inwardly, I slip away from the influence of the opinions of other people and the constraints of my present circumstances. I drift easily in the direction of my Innermost Life. Nothing impedes me anymore. It is "fated".

    One good turn deserves another. You've encouraged me today. I'll encourage you with your own words: "do with all your heart whatever you feel in your heart is best." Keep on loving your fate. It is YOUR fate. You still hold it in your hands.

    "Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

    Blessings always, Julie

    1. Julie, I have also found that whatever your mind dwells on will manifest in some way. Sometimes it is totally different and is a big surprise, but usually better than what you wished for!

      I can feel that happening in my life. The pain is a bit less and doesn't last quite as long, and the joy seems to come a bit more quickly after the shower!

      On those good days it is very encouraging indeed.

      God bless us all! :)

  5. Diana said: "Nor does a love of my fate mean an acceptance of what must be. I do not accept what must be. People have told me for as long as I can remember what must be, and I do not accept it."

    I have been trying to think what meaning I was trying to impart when I spoke of "acceptance" and I think it was an acceptance of what has happened. An acknowledgment that the life you knew at IH has ended and your life would never be the same. I also was trying to share with you a hope or a belief that something as good or even better can await you. Fate... coupled with choices.

    1. ...and an awareness that it is all just 'stuff' outside of you, anyway.


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