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Contemplations On Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

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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.

Image 10


Over and over announcing out place in the family of things……

It seems that no amount of announcing this make it a reality until we are able to announce it to ourselves out of a human kindness and a genuine feeling of self-love and self-compassion.  We all struggle with ourselves and with our place in the world, but there is no better ointment for this wound that a capacity to sit alone with one’s own heart and feel it beating.  There is not better feeling that to decide I am going to catch the wind.  I am going to go in the direction that I want–not the direction that the wind pushes me in.

Alert your heart with a deep sigh and a moan for the hurt and the pain and the time that you have not been able to be kind to yourself or to others and start with the sentence, “everything will be all right as soon as I let myself flow.”  The acceptance of ourselves before change, rather than postponing that acceptance until after the change, gives us the strength we need to approach what ever your mother, your father or the universe has thrown at you.

Breath in and know that who you are in the moment is sufficient.  The next breath will be just that much easier.  Whether we are filled with vitality or dying, the next breath will follow the last and ease of breath is the necessary component to a mindful transition, from one activity to another, or from one life through death.

Impermanence is the earth breathing and oneness makes it our breath as well.  Aim to thrive not to strive.  Let your drives and your will be the guide to your next move and remember in all cases to give your self the mothering love that you need.  It is soothing to like oneself.  Fighting wears us down.  Thriving raises us up.  In the act of mindful compassion we can find the seed of a life that knows how to tolerate pain without suffering.

Come home to who you are.  We are each on our own journey and though we may feel an obligation to be responsible for another, we can only be responsible to something, not responsible for something….because each thing, each person has its, his, her own journey…

Sail-On, sail-on, sail on.


Author: aldussault

I am an artist, photographer, watercolorist, and primarily a modern psychoanalyst. I blog about politics and consciousness as well as create digital fine art photos of my pen & inks and my water colorings. My hobby is studying piano.

One thought on “Contemplations On Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

  1. A very apt & beautiful post, Dr. Al. The October woods photos are stunning as well. We’re seeing alot of wild geese flying more or less north these days in Seekonk. We’re each growing/moving forward in our own way. Best Spring Wishes to you; Dan

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