12.27.2008

Life Lessons from Mary Oliver...


"Next Time" by Mary Oliver

Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I'd stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I'd watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I'd know more -- the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.
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I'm trying to learn how to be content, how to see the beauty and wonder in every moment, every person, every location. My heart so easily wanders to the past or the future, all the while neglecting everything life is extending to me right now, in this very hour, this very minute.

Since I've come back home, I've had to be honest with myself and face all the unrealistic expectations I carried with me across the ocean. It's so very easy to get caught up in all the excitement of returning home, create an idealistic American world in the privacy of my thoughts, and become disappointed when things don't exactly match up to this utopia I've created. But when I pause for a moment to evaluate my thoughts of discontent, I remind myself that I have no other choice but to cherish and see the immense value in everything, especially since I know in my heart I am blessed with more abilities, experiences, and most importantly, relationships, than I could ever deserve.

To sum up my current thoughts I will steal from Mary Oliver once again: "When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."

1 comment:

  1. Except that "Next Time" is by Stafford...
    Next Time" by William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems. © Graywolf Press, 1998.

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