I love Mary Oliver. I wished she lived next door and we could share a daily cup of  tea. Her poetry has helped me in so many ways. Cultivating stillness so I can hear what mother earth has to teach me (The Instant). Laughing out loud, when I am feeling sorry for myself (I go Down To The Shore). But journalling with her poem The Journey has allowed me to reach the outer bounds of my comfort zone. For a year, every month I would take this poem and use it as my growth chart. It was like and echo call. One line from Oliver and one line from my heart.

After a recent trip home, I felt my heart clogged with so much family stuff. I struggled to journal…my heart needing structure.  As I turned to Oliver’s works for comfort, I realized I was in the midst of sorting through a place all of us will enter.  A reminder their is no separate self…  It was the perfect way to ease my heart.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
sorrow and loss had arrived
what you had to do, and began,
truly sitting with wrong view

thought voices around you,
#’s 1, 2, 3
kept shouting
4, 5, 6
their bad advice—
beep after beep after beep

though the whole house
of my child self
began to tremble
impermanence has arrived

and you felt that old tug
of confusion
at your ankles
on up
“mend my life!”
“embrace your suffering”
each voice cried
of my heart’s longing

But you didn’t stop.
you see
You knew what you had to do,
that it is something that can help you grow

though the wind
other’s pain
with its stiff fingers
all around me
at the very foundation
in the mud
thought their melancholy
so thick and dark
was terrible
and daunting.

it was already late,
55 years had passed
enough, and a wild night,
of many, sorrows
and the road full of fallen
siblings on their own path
branches and stones
wet and weighted.

But little by little,
step by step
as you left their voices behind
and wisdom self appeared
the stars began to burn
within the tiny space of the middle
through the sheets of clouds
and depths of consciousness
and there was a new voice
of mindfulness
which you slowly
recognize as your own,
to embrace
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
with gentleness and compassion
into the world,
the truth of our being,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
in and out,
determined to save
take in all the suffering
the only life you could save
…….mother of mindfulness.

Day 4…100 day challenge….96 days to go….


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