What’s Required of You

This is about what you have to do.

Or, more truly, what you think you have to do.

One of my favorite Mary Oliver poems releases a transparent gas. Inhale. The potent but odorless fumes contain a higher-than-normal oxygen content allowing our bodies- including our brains- to perk up. Good writing does this. Don’t be alarmed if, upon taking in good poetry, you sense new possibilities for your life. You may experience resistance and even discomfort to these possibilities. You may need to lie down for awhile. You may giggle. You may need to call someone.

But first: How do you feel today about your presence in the world? It’s an ancient question, so we’re in good and holy company when it rises to us: “What is my place?”

May the wondering polish your sense of vocation, giving focus and renewal.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

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.

Let the poem have it’s way with you today as you adjust your breathing.

If there is something we (this little blogging community) can witness with you, I invite you to offer a comment. Sharing our stories can help everyone. Thanks!

  • Enjoy Storyhill‘s amazing song about you, Steady On:

About Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Life is full and comes in seasons. View all posts by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

2 responses to “What’s Required of You

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