March 22, 2018

The world offers itself to your imagination

A friend of mine sent me this poem by Mary Oliver last week, and I have been thinking about it for a few days now.

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 your 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.

I had a panic attack this morning, the first really bad one I’ve had in quite some time. I can’t really place what triggered it, but I could tell when I went to bed last night that I was feeling unsettled; I should have perhaps been more mindful, more conscious of how I was feeling at that time and done something to prevent this, but now is not a time for hindsight and blame.

The verse tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine” resonates with me today. I share my stories of struggle because I want others to feel free to be vulnerable enough—and strong enough—to share their own.

Today, I tell you about my momentary despair. Tell me about yours.