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Posts tagged ‘poem’

Stand Still. Appreciate a Tree.

Wilderness is a powerful teacher. In Alaska, the landscape is sturdy. Rugged. Every day a thousand trees remind me to stand still. Trees teach me tenacity. Trees teach me to grow roots, offer support, move without snapping, let go, and to hold onto myself. I live in a log home built of tree trunks. Burning branches provide wood stove heat, protecting me from bitter cold.

A Jewish friend told me that today is  Tu B’shvat–a holiday called New Year For Trees. I recalled a favorite poem, and want to share it with you. Lost reminds me to pause, be present and embodied in the here and now of time–where ever that may be. Perhaps it will speak to you, too.

Lost
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
— David Wagoner

Reflection
Please make time to appreciate your outer landscape. Look closely at a tree, go to a park,  take a walk. Then, stand still. Where are you? Really, where are you? Give thanks for life–however it lives in you today.

Please offer your thoughts and comments. What do you discover?

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Good, enough? Give thanks.

A few nights ago, during a telephone conversation, a friend in his twenties shared, “You’re telling me I’m good enough just the way I am? That’s hard for me to believe. How come we never hear that message?”
I am sad. His words ring true.
I encouraged, “You are good enough. Just like this, right now. You are, and I am. We all are. No matter the circumstance. Certainly we can always be better, and there is value in striving for more. But, today, right now, you are good, enough.”

His words and my response  wrestle in me during this week of thanksgiving. I ponder, “what is good, enough?”

Then I remember “Wild Geese” a favorite Mary Oliver poem  found in Dream Works (1994). I dare you to toss her words into your heart. Give thanks.

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.
–Mary Oliver

Giving Thanks
I gaze into my own heart, notice the specific people in my life, and the increasing thirst in the world for healing and hope.  I am grateful, for my life and yours, for breath and  life, no matter how abundant or fragmented.
It is time to announce our place in the world, invite others in out of the cold to break bread, gather at our table. There is enough when we share with love. Let us love what we love, and love one another with welcoming presence. We all belong. This starting place is good, enough.

Who will you invite in out of the cold to join you at table?
What lives in your heart of thanksgiving?