Still by Mary Oliver
Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled--
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking
into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing--
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.
Walk Slowly by Danna Faulds
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.
School Prayer by Diane Ackerman
In the name of daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder
as an architect of peace.
In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons of the firefly
and the apple,
I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
The Layers by Stanley Kunitz
I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
Look To This Day by Kalidasa
Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson
I. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
II. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I still don't see it. I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place. It isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
III. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there, I still fall in.
It's habit. It's my fault. I know where I am.
I get out immediately.
IV. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
V. I walk down a different street.
Did you ever wonder? by Meister Eckhart
Did you ever wonder
what the greatest gift is?
It is this: mercy
If you wonder
what this means,
and your questions
will fade. Live in mercy,
and you will become
what you love,
for love unites us
in our loving,
not in our being.
So give yourself
to love, and love
yourself in giving.
The rest will follow
of its own.
A Field Beyond Right and Wrong by Rumi
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there. '
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language,
even the phrase 'each other'
doesn't make any sense.
Thanksgiving by Rumi
Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself. One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift! Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty; the bounty is its shell, For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.
Abundance alone brings heedlessness, thanksgiving gives birth to alertness. The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you, and you will bestow a hundred bounties in return. Eat your fill of God’s delicacies, and you will be freed from hunger and begging.
When I'm Among the Trees by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, ”Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, ”It's simple,” they say,
”and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
You Reading This, Be Ready
Is the mightiest sword
Forgiveness of those you fear
Is the highest reward
When they bruise you with words
When they make you feel small
When it’s hardest to take
You must do nothing at all…
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud