I am still catching up with myself after returning from Italy last weekend and celebrating my husband’s birthday this weekend. I’ve never been one to suffer jet lag. Usually a long sleep when I return is enough to get me back in synch. But this time jet lag hit me hard with a lot of brain fog and disturbed sleeping patterns for the last week.
Last week, one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver passed away. In case you don’t know of her, Mary was an American and prize -winning poet, having won the Pulitzer prize. Her poems focused on nature, her relationship to it and a sense of wonder.
I am so grateful for her poems. Reading them drops me into my own deeper relationship with nature and my soul. They remind me of what is truly important. And often wake something up in me, helping me look at my life and the world around me in a different way.
The beauty of Mary’s poems is that often they are a mediative container that opens you to the one line you really need to hear.
One of my favourite poems is, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches.” Whilst I would love to share it with you here, copyright laws prohibit this.
In the three pages of this poem, there is one line that has always stood out to me as a guiding star:
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
Sometimes I breathe shallow to avoid deep feelings.
Sometimes I feel like I get stuck on the surface of life unable to dive as deeply in the outer world as I do in my inner world.
Sometimes I get distracted from what really matters to me.
To me, there is an urgent reminder in this question. Life is short. Don’t waste it. Don’t get stuck pursuing things that don’t matter.
Although the question has a yes or no answer, in my mind, it is really asking, if you are breathing just a little, how can you breathe a little more deeply? How can you take in more life? How can you be more true to yourself?
So dear ones, I leave you with these questions. If you would like to share you responses with me, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below the blog post.
And to Mary Oliver, thank you for your wisdom, inspiration and teachings that live on in the legacy of poems you leave behind.
With love and courage,