Wonders and Inspirations

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

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

from Brand New Ancients

 

In the old days,
the myths were the stories we used to explain ourselves

but how can we explain
the way we hate ourselves?

The things we’ve made ourselves into,
the way we break ourselves in two,
the way we overcomplicate ourselves?

But we are still mythical.

We are still permanently trapped
somewhere between the heroic and the pitiful.

We are still Godly,
that’s what’s made us so monstrous.
It just feels like we’ve forgotten
that we’re much more
than the sum of the things that belong to us.

Every single person has a purpose in them burning.
Look again.
Allow yourself to see them.

Millions of characters
Each with their own epic narratives
Singing, ‘it’s hard to be an angel
Until you’ve been a demon’.

We are perfect because of our imperfections,
We must stay hopeful,
We must be patient;

When they excavate the modern day
They’ll find us,
The Brand New Ancients.

All that we have here
Is all that we’ve always had.

We have jealousy,
tenderness,
curses and gifts.

But the plight of a people who have forgotten their myths
and imagine that somehow
now is all that there is –
is a sorry plight

all isolation and worry
but the life in your veins
it is Godly, heroic.
You were born for greatness.
Believe it,
know it –
take it from the tears of the poets.

there’s always been heroes,
there’s always been villains,
the stakes may have changed
but really there’s no difference.

there’s always been greed
and heartbreak and ambition.
jealousy, love,
trespass and contrition,

we’re the same beings that began,
still living,
in all of our fury and foulness and friction.
Everyday odysseys.
Dreams vs decisions.
The stories are there if you listen.

The stories are here.

The stories are you
and your fear and your hope is as old
as the language of smoke,
the language of blood,
the language of languishing love,

the Gods are all here.
Because the Gods are in us.

 

Kate Tempest

Return to Love

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear in that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the World.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As we let our own Light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

 

Marianne Williamson

quoted in Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech, 1994