Thursday, September 4, 2014

Offer Your Flawed Self Deeply to the World

I came across this of my favorites by the brilliant, Mary Oliver.

Wild Geese

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 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.

And it reminded me that I spend far too much time caring about what others and in general, the world thinks of me.

As I get older and what I'd like to think is a bit wiser, I'm mindful of the connections and relationships I have that matter.

I can easily tell you the ones that are the most nutritive and fill me with a sense of love and gratitude and certainly, those that are surface and not nearly as transparent.

As a person who loves walking into a room and connecting with as many people as I can, I find that I'm shifting, gravitating toward fewer, deeper, more satisfying relationships.

I'm much more interested in knowing you...really knowing you, than just making you up in my head because we don't talk about the things that matter.

And, if we can't find our way toward the things that matter, than well, we probably don't have much in the way of sustenance.

I am refreshed and grateful when people are willing to share their war wounds, their fears, their pipe dreams.  It gives me license to launch into my own and somewhere in that crazy mix, we blend and find ourselves in the 'other.'  And that is extraordinarily powerful.

After school today, I told my children that it's not your responsibility to be the 'deepest' of friends with all of the people in your class.  You should strive to be kind and compassionate.  But those few that you know in your heart are your 'people'...well, they should be taken care share parts of yourself and they in turn do the same and before you know it...they're a part of your extension of you.  And, that's a beautiful thing.

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