You do not have to be good

April 6, 2015 admin

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

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.


+Reflection: We can only do our best. Learning from and letting go of the shame that clings to past events and decisions is all we need to do. When we dare to share our truth with others, when we feel heard, we experience the peace that is human connection, which helps us to keep going. When we sincerely listen — especially to our children — in a way that validates who they really are, we love.

Click here to listen to the poet Mary Oliver reading Wild Geese

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