Monday, February 23, 2015

Wild geese

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

This poem was such a comfort today as I tried and failed to write a good series of essays for my scholarship applications.  It was a literary form of the times I would retreat to the girls bathroom and imagine myself in outer space and know that the world is so much bigger than my stresses.

After doing a twenty minute workout and feeling less fit than usual (Curse you chinese new year cookies) I went on the balcony, still in my sweaty shirt and shorts, and looked out the far end near the coconut tree and did a few minutes of meditation (I don't know how long because meditation has a funny way of warping time) which gave me a few minutes of peaceful mind space to just think the thoughts that probably float around in my head most of the time but are drowned out by the chaos of voices screaming more practical things. I realised that I often edit things in my mind - and think of how I can tell them to other people in conversation or writing in nicely enveloped sentences. And then I started thinking of how I could nicely package that thought and send it into the wide world of human scrutiny and everything became rather meta and overwhelming and so I focused on breathing and balance.

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