Beautiful is a word that means so many different things to different folks. I’ve attempted to answer today’s question but I guess I’m just not comfortable with it.
I wrote this in my journal on September 4, 2017. I share it with you as it reflects my thoughts concerning today’s question. Today is the gift be it busy or downright boring!
Entry in Journal Sept. 4 2017
I often quote Fr. Richard Rohr and my brother-in-law recently finished Rohr’s two year program titled “The Living School.” Rohr gave a very brief keynote address at what is called the “Sending Ceremony” for those graduating from the program this year and interestingl...
Entry in Journal Sept. 4 2017
I often quote Fr. Richard Rohr and my brother-in-law recently finished Rohr’s two year program titled “The Living School.” Rohr gave a very brief keynote address at what is called the “Sending Ceremony” for those graduating from the program this year and interestingly he chose to read Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Death Comes.” Basically, encouraging those who were being sent into the world to be sure they live before they die.
As I re- read Mary Oliver’s poem this morning, I thought: Life’s is like a poker game. And, I ask myself, How am I playing the hand I was dealt?
Am I willing to risk? Risk is not the same as chance. It’s not a matter of getting lucky. It’s more about letting go, being open to what is, working with it and most likely redefining my definitions of success and failure. I won’t win every hand but will I win the game? And how does Oliver think we win the game of life?
She addresses the importance of awareness, of being amazed by the ordinary. She’s dedicated to being married to amazement; to taking the world, the light and the dark, into her arms and experiencing it fully.
She toys with the concept of eternity being a possibility but knows that to truly be alive, she must not cling to the future. She realizes that this is it and the key to being alive is learning how to Let It Be.
Resistance, fear and argument, will not delay the reality that her sojourn as the poet Mary Oliver will end. I think she is telling us that the best way to be ready for that day, that ultimate letting go, is to live life fully and willingly by learning to let go in the NOW.
When Death Comes by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright
coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like the iceberg between the shoulder
I want to step through the door full of
what is it going to be like, that cottage of
and therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood
and I look upon time as no more than an idea
and I consider eternity as another possibility
and I think of each life as a flower as
common as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the
mouth, tending, as all music does, towards silence
and each body a lion of courage and
something precious to the earth
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.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life
something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this
— Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1
I tend to stay reflective but not curious. Observant so as to see but not seek. I try to live my questions instead of waiting for answers. I pray for wisdom in all situations and for the ability to respond not react to life. This question reminds me of John Michael Talbot’s recording of The St. Theresa Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKKALl6kv1U and a quote from The Little Flower: https://i.etsystatic.com/6435290/r/il/7fe483/1915374409/il_1588xN.1915374409_11h7.jpg
I choose to be self-aware, to guard against negative self-talk, to be mindful of and present to all who cross my path. So BE it.
For me, gratitude offers a lens that sees the cup half-full instead of half-empty. It offers a perspective that life is truly a gift. It sees situations not problems and is not prone to labeling people or things as good or bad. It makes one a better listener.. It prompts me to pray for wisdom in all circumstances.
The sharing this morning is so overwhelmingly beautiful and helpful. As I read each post, I realized the importance of remembering that life is about relationship. How I relate to myself, to you, to my environment, matters. Richard Rohr says, “God is a verb called relationship more than a noun called monarch.” When one lives gratefully, it’s hard to objectify any one or any thing. Being grateful, makes all things relatable.
It feels good because I find it truly brings me into the present moment, increases my self-awareness and helps me to relax into what I’m doing. I’m a “human” who is “being” not just “doing,” living not just existing. Today’s quote encourages the cultivation of such presence and self-awareness.
Be here NOW
Thank you, MIchele. It’s deeply appreciated.
Thank you, MIca. I’m doing well. Swelling is subsiding.
Thank you, Holly. Your care and compassion is deeply appreciated and was so welcome on this day. You have planted beautiful seeds in my psyche! Yesterday was a difficult day and I did not have a lot of spunk this morning. I’m receiving a series of injections in my left eye to quell swelling and hopefully secure its vision. Had the second shot in my left eye yesterday…It was an interesting visit with the doctor. He was very upset that I had questions concerning side effects I exper...
Thank you, Holly. Your care and compassion is deeply appreciated and was so welcome on this day. You have planted beautiful seeds in my psyche! Yesterday was a difficult day and I did not have a lot of spunk this morning. I’m receiving a series of injections in my left eye to quell swelling and hopefully secure its vision. Had the second shot in my left eye yesterday…It was an interesting visit with the doctor. He was very upset that I had questions concerning side effects I experienced from the fist injection a month ago and her took it very personally. He seemed to interpret my stance as a personal criticism of him which it was not. I wondered what had happened in his life that seeded the need to be perfect. I recalled how gently and carefully he had administered my first injection. But in this second injection he was tense and barked orders so rapidly that I could not open and close my eye fast enough to avoid a feeling that he was scratching the surface of my eye and eye lid with his tools. It was painful and may be the cause of more irritation and swelling than the previous injection. Fear guides the trowel with which we plant unhealthy seeds. I doubt the doctor is aware of the fertility of his fear but I am aware of mine. I’m not interested in him planting unhealthy seeds in me. I hope I can turn my fear into compassion and deal with him lovingly and honestly next month. My eye hopes so, too!
Toni, I have not done the “Living School” program but I’ve been to the CAC in ABQ and worked their briefly about 16 years ago. They had not yet transferred to such a large on-line presence and Rohr did not established the “Living School” until several years later. He was still on the road a lot in those days.
Pollyanna, It is a powerful poem.
You are most welcome
Pwerful words, Antonette and very helpful to me. Thank you.
Hi Toni, Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I too love the Teresas and I too believe there are forces beyond our control that do intercede for us. I’ve personally experienced them and have felt privileged to do so. As for your Mom and your sister experiencing the scent of the roses, I have had another friend share a similar story. You have read some of Carolyn Myss’ works.Her book “Anatomy of the Spirit” influenced my journey significantly. I think it may have b...
Hi Toni, Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I too love the Teresas and I too believe there are forces beyond our control that do intercede for us. I’ve personally experienced them and have felt privileged to do so. As for your Mom and your sister experiencing the scent of the roses, I have had another friend share a similar story. You have read some of Carolyn Myss’ works.Her book “Anatomy of the Spirit” influenced my journey significantly. I think it may have been the first book she wrote and I read it about 25 years ago! She was still working as a medical intuitive in those days. When I started reading that book, I couldn’t put it down!
Ed, Thought you and others might enjoy reading this translation of the Lord’s Prayer:
Translation of the Lord’s Prayer from Aramaic by Neil Douglas-Klotz
O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos/ you create all that moves in light.
Focus your light within us–make it useful: as the rays of a beacon show the way.
Create your reign of unity now–through our firey hearts and willing h...
Create your reign of unity now–through our firey hearts and willing hands.
Nehwey sebyanach aykanna d’bwashmaya aph b’arha.
Your one desire then acts with ours, as in all light, so in all forms.
Habwlan lachma d’sunqanan yaomana.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
subsistence for the call of growing life.
Washboqlan khaubayn (wakhtahayn)
aykana daph khnan shbwoqan l’khayyabayn.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Wela tahlan l’nesyuna
Don’t let us enter forgetfulness
Ela patzan min bisha.
But free us from unripeness
Metol dilakhie malkutha wahayla wateshbukhta l’ahlam almin.
From you is born all ruling will, the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all, from age to age it renews.
Truly–power to these statements–
may they be the source from which all my actions grow.
It’s when I can say “I am” and need no predicate adjective or a noun to describe myself that I grow. In his book, “A Path With Heart,” Jack Kornfield suggests asking oneself, “What do I know for sure, anyway?” Ramm Dass said, “BE here Now..” Richard Rohr says, “God is Being.” I have no need to BE something but I definitely strive to BE.
I felt the same way. I so appreciated the vulnerability and strength such sharing showed.
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