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Squirrel

A couple days ago I was walking upstairs to the laundry room in my house when I caught sight of this little guy sitting on the edge of the roof peering into the window. By the time I got my camera, he’d changed position slightly, but still offered me quite a pose.

He made me smile and reminded me yet again how there is always something wonderful to see when I tune in to the present moment.

The brilliant poet Mary Oliver said it perfectly:

Instructions for living a life~

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

 

So simple and so profound. May you have an abundance of astonishing moments this weekend.

And always, really.

And always!

Maple tree at the front of my yard.

This year, Earth Day falls on Sunday, the twenty second of April. Last year I shared one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver to honor the day.

And this year, I offer a quote from this same amazing poet.

When I think about it, her instructions to notice the world are what I’m trying to do with this blog, with my life.

I hope they inspire you as well.

Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention

Be Astonished

Tell about it.

~Mary Oliver

Happy Earth Day 2012!

April is National Poetry Month. I can’t believe that I’ve allowed nearly the entire month to slip away without so much as a nod of the head to poetry.

You see, I love poems.

I read them for relaxation, and meditation and inspiration, and the sheer joy of taking the power and beauty of each word into my being.

I keep a book of poetry on my bedside table all the time. That way I can have a little soul vitamin whenever I think of it. When nothing else will do to calm me, or soothe me, or simply make me happy.

It’s a lot to ask of words, and yet they never let me down.

Not once.

So on this Earth Day, I want to share one of my favorite poets with you. You are likely to already know Mary Oliver because she is an amazing, available, influential modern-day poet.

Poppies

The poppies send up their

orange flares, swaying

in the wind, their congregations

are a levitation.

of bright dust, of thin

and lacy leaves.

There isn’t a place

in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown

in the indigos of darkness,

but now, for a while,

the roughage

shines like a miracle

as it floats above everything

with its yellow hair.

Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade

from hooking forward –

of course

loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light

is an invitation

to happiness,

and that happiness,

when it’s done right,

is a kind of holiness,

palpable and redemptive.

Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,

I am washed and washed

in the river

of earthly delight-

and what are you going to do –

what can you do

about it-

deep, blue night?

“Happiness, when it’s done right is a kind of holiness….” Oh my God I love that!

Do you have a favorite poet? A favorite poem? Line from a poem?

I’d love to hear…

My window on the world.

If you’ve been reading between the lines in my recent posts, you may have picked up that I am feeling swamped.

Busy.

Too busy really.

Overwhelmed with a project that has literally worn me out.

I’ve also been preparing to lead a workshop on forgiveness.

It isn’t wearing me out. It’s energizing me.

As I’ve put together the two-day program, I turned to one of my all-time best resources and healers.

Poetry.

And in that genre, one of my favorites is the poet Mary Oliver.

So I’m going along choosing poems that might be right for the workshop, grooving on the poetry, feeling soothed and nurtured, happy to be back with my old and dear friend, when I read the following line from one of Oliver’s poems, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Branches?”

It literally smacked me upside the head.

In fact, I can’t get it out of my head.

Poetry has a way of doing that, if you just allow it to.

Here’s the line:

 

“Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”

 

See what I mean?

It stopped me in my tracks.

All this busyness isn’t a life. Not the life I want. And I must ask myself the hard questions. The ones that keep me up at night.

A question like, “Do I honestly want the one hour I spend each day with the horses to be my only spiritual, life-giving oasis in the craziness of the world?”

Of course, the answer is no.

But how to get there?

 

I’ve got some thinking to do.

How about you?

 


 

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