"The optimist sees the rose, and not it's thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns oblivious to the rose."
I read this quote recently and it reminded me of a passage in "Letters to a Young Poet." In the passage, I gathered that Rilke was saying that when someone enters a 'dead' state of existence (depression, or perhaps pessimism) he can no longer see the beauty around him. Just yesterday, I was out for a walk and wrapped up in the vast world that my mind inhabits. About twenty minutes in, I realized that I'd lost sight of the flowering trees. The air felt like a warm bath (as Charlie in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" would say) and the plants were parfuming the air in the most joyous manner. I, on the other hand, was caught up in a thought that has been gnawing at my mind each day of late. Recently, it has distracted me from the things that I should focus on. After reading Rilke's passage last night, I realized that it was becoming my focus. My almost overwhelming sense of empathy and sensitivity can make things hard, but I'm working each day to be an optimist-not oblivious to the struggles in life, but being able to see past them.